According to Shakespeare, which of the following is an infirmity, physical weakness, of Caesar?According to Shakespeare, which of the following is an infirmity, physical weakness, of Caesar?

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scarletpimpernel's profile pic

scarletpimpernel | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Post #3 quite thoroughly answers your question about  physical infirmity--epilepsy, or the "falling sickness"--and his weakness.  It is quite possible that Caesar's inability to swim is related to his falling sickness; for you can imagine how difficult or frightening it would be to swim if you have no idea when a seizure might seize you.

One more point--Shakespeare implies that Caesar is deaf.  In Act 1, Scene 2, as Caesar discusses Cassius's character with Antony, he commands Antony:

"Come on my right hand, for this side is deaf, / And tell me truly what thou think'st of him" (213-214).

While historians do not record that Caesar was partially deaf, the infirmity works well for Shakespeare's cause.  He could be figuratively demonstrating that Caesar's literal deafness mirrors his inability to listen to others' advice (including his wife's, the Soothsayer's, and eventually Artemidorus's and the oracle's).

kccichocki's profile pic

kccichocki | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

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According to Shakespeare, which of the following is an infirmity, physical weakness, of Caesar?

According to Shakespeare, which of the following is an infirmity, physical weakness, of Caesar?

  Julius Caesar reportedly had "falling sickness", which, in the 21st century, is commonly called epilepsy. It is ironic that a man of such military genius and power should be felled by seizures.  The Roman gods supposedly bestowed this infirmity upon Caesar as a gift, or a sign of greatness.

amy-lepore's profile pic

amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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There are several references to Caesar's "falling down sickness" which is probably epilepsy.  This would be considered something beyond his control...not a choice...an infirmity.

Where Caesar is in control, but makes a choice that others see as "weak" would be an physical weakness.  This includes the swimming incident where he is unable or chooses not to swim the length necessary to reach safety.

Both of these incidents are pointed to by the conspirators as weaknesses in Caesar's character and reason for removing him from office.

The crown incident is not perceived as weakness, but as a sign of ambition.  He wants the crown, but by refusing it three times, he is testing the crowd as to their loyalty and love for him.  Ambition is another characteristic, when coupled with the other two, that the conspirators point to as reason to remove Caesar permanently from office.

 

epollock's profile pic

epollock | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

I previously answered this in a message to you.  Let me know if you don't understand the swimming incident, the crown incident, or when Caesar actually had a seizure.

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