What role does symbolism play in Julius Caesar and where does it appear?How Is the plot altered by the presence of these symbols?

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lsumner | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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Antony offers the crown to Caesar. This is symbolic that Caesar was heaping up more honors for himself. The conspirators believe he is becoming a dictator. The crown symbolized Caesar's growing popularity among the people. Although Caesar refused the crown, he was becoming ambitious in his thoughts and deeds. In Act one, Scene 2, Casca seemed to think Caesar pushed the crown away each time with less force as if to indicate that he were truly considering it:

Yes, damn it, it was, and he pushed it aside three times, Every time more gently than the last, and at each pushing aside, My honest neighbors shouted.
This crown symbolizes power. Power symbolizes control. The conspirators do fear that Caesar desires more and more power and control.

Another area of symbolism is in Caesar's comment about Cassius. He indicated that Cassius had a lean, hungry look about him. This worried Caesar and is symbolic that Cassius desires power as well as Ceasar. Cassius makes Caesar nervous:

Let me have men about me that are fat, Sleek-headed men, and such as sleep o' nights: Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look;(200) He thinks too much; such men are dangerous.
Clearly, Caesar considers Cassius dangerous because he has a lean, hungry look. This look is symbolic with a man who is hungry for power. Rightly so, Cassius initiates the plot to kill Caesar.

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