What danger would Shakespeare see in the modern welfare state, where some people’s living depends on hand-outs from the government?  Reference to the play Julius Caesar

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whytaylor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Julius Caesar opens with a prime example of the problem of having people's livings depending on handouts from the government.  Flavius and Maurellus are walking the streets amongst the festival and complaining about how not that long ago the public used to praise Pompey, until he fell from favor, and now they praise Caesar.  Handouts cause the public to become fickle followers, once that can easily turn once they discover that the other side may have more money to handout.

Another example is Mark Antony's speech at Caesar's funeral.  He sways the crowd to his point of view against Brutus by mentioning that Caesar in his will left all his lands and monies to the Roman people.  Caesar, even after his death continues to handout welfare to the Roman people, keeping them dependent upon him and his followers.  If Mark Antony does not take power, the handouts to the public will cease.


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Julius Caesar

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