Describe how supernatural events affect Caesar and Brutus in "Julius Caesar"?

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robertwilliam eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Caesar starts the play with a superstitious instruction to Antony to touch his wife Calpurnia as part of the ritual they are in the middle of. Clearly Caesar is prone to superstitions and interpreting the supernatural - and we see that again when Calpurnia's description of her dream (much of which has already come true) persuades Caesar not to go to the Capitol:

A lioness hath whelped in the streets;
And graves have yawn'd, and yielded up their dead;
Fierce fiery warriors fight upon the clouds,
In ranks and squadrons and right form of war
Which drizzled blood upon the Capitol

Caesar is, of course, persuaded around by Decius Brutus, who reinterprets Calpurnia's dream as a positive omen, but the point remains that Caesar, even if he does ignore the soothsayer's warning (which correctly predicts his death), is very prone to omens and superstitions. He does, of course, describe himself as "as constant as the Northern Star", another nod, perhaps, to astrology.

Brutus is later terrified when visited at night by the ghost of Caesar in his tent, which seems to give him a stoical expectation of his death before the end of the battle. He dies with the name of Caesar on his lips. I'd argue, though, that Caesar is more concerned with the supernatural than Brutus.  

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Julius Caesar

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