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Does the play Julius Caesar by Wiilliam Shakespeare ever portray an ideal leader?

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user6421364 | eNoter

Posted September 27, 2013 at 5:25 AM via web

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Does the play Julius Caesar by Wiilliam Shakespeare ever portray an ideal leader?

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carol-davis | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 27, 2013 at 6:43 AM (Answer #1)

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The drama Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare is certainly a political play which describes actual events of 44 B.C. in Roman history.  The dramatis personae includes historical figures who were in power at the time. 

Julius Caesar was considered a great leader and general.  He certainly had his faults as do many powerful men; however, he had brought many slaves and much ransom to fill the coffers of Rome. As often is the case, he was ego-maniacal and liked to hear the sound of his own voice. 

Brutus as a leader was more known on the home front.  He was not really a tried and true general.  On the other hand, he was admired by the people and by the other senators.  His family had been involved in the politics of Rome and past generations.  In his personality and behavior, he was thought to be sincere, honest, trusting, and yet unemotional.  As a stoic, he had to think ideas through and be sure of the correct approach. Brutus was also a poor judge of character as he chose to align himself with Cassius rather than the more vital Antony. Yet, Brutus honestly believed that the assassination of Caesar was for the good of Rome.

Cassius appeared to be untrustworthy.  In the latter part of the play, Cassius does appear to actually revere Brutus rather than just want to use him toward his purpose of assassinating Caesar. Portrayed as a somewhat passionate, angry overbearing man, Cassius shows some sincere emotions when he relates to Brutus.  

Antony was an athlete of some renown.  A sincere follower of Caesar, Antony had  trained under him.  Men did seem to fall under the spell of Antony.  He was rash, often mean-spirited [as seen in the beginning of Act IV.]

Lepidus:

Who is your sister's son, Mark Antony.

Antony:

He shall not live; with a spot I damn him. 

But, Lepidus, go to Caesar's house,

Fetch the will hither, and we shall

determine

How to cut off some charge of

legacy

Shakespeare gives Antony real passion when he addresses the body of Brutus at the end of the play and states: "This is a man." At least, he gave credit where credit.

Octavius, who eventually, becomes the leader of Rome and another Caesar, is portrayed as aloof, disrespectful, and altogether unlikeable.  He was able to see into the hearts of these men that he had to work with in order to get to the place where he could assert himself.  Later, he defeats Antony as well...leaving himself as the only person to become the true leader of Rome. Octavius is probably the more ideal leader of the group. He became known as Augustus Caesar and was responsible for what is now known as the "Roman Peace." 

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