How does Shakespeare's literary style in Julius Caesar influence the way a reader percieves Caesar's narcissism?

Asked on by klatimer

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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If I were you I would want to examine the imagery that is employed to describe Caesar and other characters' opinions of him, especially in Act I scene 2, which is of course the famous scene between Cassius and Brtutus. Consider the way that Cassius describes Caesar in these following lines:

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 dishonourable graves.

Clearly, we need to remember that Cassius is deliberately exaggerating Caesar and his egocentricism for impact to help him in his purpose of enlisting the support and aid of Brutus, but at the same time, such images and descriptions greatly help to influence the audience. Let us remember that we have not actually seen Caesar ourselves, and so such images greatly help to influence the audience as to the character of Caesar. In particular, this image is particularly powerful in the way that it presents Caesar as a huge massive power that can barely be contained in the "narrow world." The way that Cassius describes himself and Brutus as "petty men" likewise helps to reinforce the central image of Caesar as being so powerful and narcissistic that there is no room at all for any other people.

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