In answering the questions on thematic issues in relation to "Julius Caesar", how do I go about doing that?I would like to answer the theme of superstition and the way it resolves in...

In answering the questions on thematic issues in relation to "Julius Caesar", how do I go about doing that?

I would like to answer the theme of superstition and the way it resolves in the conflict.

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sullymonster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Much of the conflict of this play revolves around arrogance.  It is Caesar's arrogance that helps to acquire his enemies.  Brutus' and Cassius' arrogance, though stemming from a different source (nationalism vs. greed) are what lead to the assassination.  It is this arrogance, as well, that causes many of the characters to ignore the "bad omens".  They believe so much in their own motives or abilities, that they do not allow superstition to be a caution.

First, Caesar is warned by the Soothsayer to "beware the ides of March."  Despite having followed the advice in regards to his wife, Caesare calls the Soothsayer a "dreamer" and ignores him.  He also ignores Calpurnia dreams.

Cassius arrogantly interprets the other signs of Caesar's impending death as a reason to move forward.  The lion, the men in flames, the shrieking owl - Cassius believes the heavens show they are on his side and he should move quickly.

Much later, Brutus receives and ignores a sign.  Caesar's appearance to him in Act IV and subsequent warning about the battle frighten Brutus, but his belief in his own power of reasoning cause him to ignore that warning.

The characters admit to the power of superstitions, but all have reasons to ignore these signs and do what they want - which is what leads to their individual failures.

 

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Julius Caesar

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