How important is language and the dramatic techniques in the play Julius Caesar?

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enotechris | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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Among the various themes in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar is the study of how language can be manipulated, which allows for the manipulation of what we would today call "public opinion."  From the very beginning of the play, the tribune Marullus  convinces the workmen that instead of celebrating Caesar in the upcoming parade, they should go to their homes and "pray to the gods" to prevent their wrath.  He suggests that Caesar, in his victory over Pompey, has usurped governmental control which can only bring down the wrath of the gods.  The opening actually serves to foreshadow the back-to-back speeches of Brutus and Antony, where Brutus explains his reasons for the assassination, and Antony, after inciting the crowd, then capitalizes on its emotion to find and destroy the conspirators. Dramatically, placing these speeches next to each other conveys the concept of how manipulatable the crowd is, transforming from believing one set of facts to an opposite set of facts in a short interval.

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