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What are some general themes for Julius Caesar Act 5? 

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trophywinner | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted February 5, 2013 at 9:01 PM via web

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What are some general themes for Julius Caesar Act 5? 

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 6, 2013 at 6:38 AM (Answer #1)

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One of the themes of this play that is evident throughout but perhaps particularly in Act V is that of misinterpretations. The death of Cassius, it is revealed, is a complete accident: he interprets what he sees and hears as defeat whereas tragically it actually means victory. He gets Pindarus to kill  him out of the mistaken belief that his side is losing. Note what Messala says when he realises what has happened:

O hateful Error, Melancholy's child,

Why dost thou show to the apt thoughts of men

The things that are not?

The theme of misinterpreting the situation is therefore demonstrated through the death of Cassius, which is shown to be completely without cause given the success of his side. Throughout the play, the success or otherwise of the characters is shown to be the result of their ability to read or misread situations. This explains Antony's success in his speech in front of the people of Rome, as he manages to read their mood so sucessfully. It also explains the premature end of Cassius, as he is unable to interpret the signs of battle correctly.

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