The "Character" of Julius CaesarWhat do you know about Julius Caesar's character?
Caesar is a strong military leader and a man who enjoys the popularity of the people. Based on those who surround him and discuss him throughout the play, he is a man who has made friends easily. People appear to like him for his strength and commanding attitude. However, it appears he has become vain and proud. He seems too happy with his power, too sure of himself. Although the people who make these claims against him (Brutus, Cassius, etc.) can be said to be biased, Shakespeare does provide some evidence. Caesar is approached by the soothsayer with dire warnings. Soothsayer, or prophets, were respected during Caesar's time - as evidenced by his wife's reaction to the warning. Caesar, however, quickly dismisses the man as a "dreamer" and thinks nothing of it. Again, when Caesar admits to Mark Antony that he has begun to distrust Cassius, he makes it clearly known that he is not afraid of Cassius. Caesar, taking great pride in the strength that led him to popularity and power, is terrified at appearing weak. He is cocky and determined, but somewhat paranoid.
Caesar is a controversial figure in history, as well as literature. He is view by some to be superstitious and weak, by others as ambitious and arrogant, and by still others as a powerful leader who wanted what was best for Rome. The most commonly favored view is that Julius Caesar was extremely ambitious, a conclusion which was mostly corroborated by his behavior because he so strongly vied for absolute power over Rome. Caesar thoroughly enjoyed the honor and respect he received from those who revered him. He felt that he would live forever, a figure of immortality, in the minds of his people, and if you take time to consider this, it is actually true, because we still study and discuss him even today. In a final comment, in my opinion, Caesar was ultimately destroyed by his ambition.
I guess Caesar is a perfect example of two phrases: "pride comes before a fall" and "absolute power corrupts absolutely". From the play we know that Caesar is a brilliant military leader - he is charasmatic, has strong leadership qualities and a personal courage and bravery. However, it is clear that he has been seduced somewhat by the power that he has worked hard to gain. He wants complete control and desires to be a despot, which is what the group of conspirators fears and, amongst other factors, leads them to plot his downfall and assassination. Really, Caesar is one historical and literary figure that displays the danger of too much power without any checks or balances. Never a good idea.