What are ten adjectives that best describe Caesar from Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar? 

What are ten adjectives that best describe Caesar from Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar?


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William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Perhaps the best adjective to describe Julius Caesar would be strong-willed, or determined. He was notable for getting whatever it was he wanted to get and doing whatever he wanted to do. Crossing the Rubicon River to take his army to Rome was a famous example. The many years he spent conquering Gaul were perhaps his greatest achievement. He would have spent even longer if necessary. This characteristic was what made men admire and fear him.

Caesar was also exceptionally intelligent, resourceful, courageous, bold, self-confident, proud, ambitious, and cunning. He seemed to have a genius for dealing with men, not only with his soldiers who idolized him, but with the general populace and with upper-class Romans. Perhaps the best adjective to describe this character trait would be charismatic. One of the synonyms offered on the internet for "charismatic" is "larger than life." It is interesting that Cassius says of Caesar:

Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
Like a Colossus, and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs, and peep about
To find ourselves dishonorable graves.      

(Act 1, Scene 2)

Caesar was also sickly, but he fought against his infirmities all his life. He was afflicted with epilepsy, among other things. 

Caesar concealed many aspects of his true self from everyone. When he thinks he is about to be crowned king in Act III, Scene 1, he seems to forget his customary taciturnity and pretended modesty and to reveal amazing arrogance and a sense of almost godlike superiority to other human beings.

I could be well moved, if I were as you;
If I could pray to move, prayers would move me;
But I am constant as the northern star,
Of whose true-fix'd and resting quality
There is no fellow in the firmament.

Plutarch states that Caesar was responsible for the deaths of some two million people in his lifetime. So another adjective that should be added is ruthless.

Read the study guide:
Julius Caesar

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