Personification In Julius Caesar
List one example of personification in Act II of Julius Caesar.
The literary technique of personification treats an object or quality as if it were a human being. In Act II, Scene I of William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, which was first produced around 1600, we find find Marcus Brutus in his orchard the night before he will participate in assassinating Caesar.
Brutus, having received a mysterious letter that urges him to act against Caesar, recalls how one of his ancestors led the early Romans in driving out the kings who used to rule over them some 450 years earlier. In doing so, Brutus asks the city of Rome a question as if it were a person:
Shall Rome stand under one man's awe? What, Rome?
My ancestors did from the streets of Rome
The Tarquin drive, when he was call'd a king.
A more vivid personification of Rome occurs in Scene II of the same act, as Decius Brutus tries to cast a positive light on the horrifying dream that Caesar's wife Calpurnia had the night before Caesar was assassinated. Decius Brutus, who is one of conspirators, interprets the dream as indicating that the blood that spouted from Caesar's statue in Calpurnia's dream
Signifies that from you great Rome shall suck
Reviving blood, and that great men shall press
For tinctures, stains, relics and cognizance.
Let us remember that personification is when an inanimate object is given human qualities. As such personification is an example of figurative langauge that compares one thing to something else that we would normally not consider it being similar to. If we look at Act II scene 1 of this play, we can see that personfiication is used by Ligarius in his conversation with Brutus to describe the soul of Rome. Note what he says:
Soul of Rome,
Brave son, derived from honourable loins,
Thou, like an exorcist, have conjured up
My mortified spirit.
Here we can see the way in which Ligarius personifies the soul or spirit of Rome as being like a "brave son" who is born into a good family and has the power to call and summon people to do its bidding.
Personification adds character, excitement and life to a work of literature. It ascribes human characteristics to non-living objects and makes feelings or emotion more understandable, vivid and palatable to readers. The following line is an example of personification in Act 2 of Julius Caesar:
Act 2 scene 2 lines 44-45. "Danger knows full well that Caesar is more dangerous than he."
By incorporating this line into the story, Shakespeare gives hints about the type of person Caesar is and the type of behavior one can expect from his character or what the character of Caesar is capable of. And this is done without flatly stating that Caesar is a dangerous man and one should be careful of his actions. Thereby the line simply suggests to the reader how menacing Caesar's temperament might be or how perilous his actions towards other characters in the story might be.