What are a few conflicting perspectives in William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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The essential conflicting perspectives we see in William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar concern the politics of the late Roman Republic. Most historians, both in antiquity and now, agree that the Republic had become disfunctional by this period, subject to endless factional strife and incapable of competently administering the vast empire that Rome had acquired. The conflicting perspectives were over whether the Republic was capable of being reformed and should be saved or whether Rome needed a strong dictator or monarch, i.e. whether it was a failure of the specific republic or whether republican government was in general ineffective and only a single strong leader could rule effectively. Secondarily, among those in favour of the latter option, there was a question of whether Julius Caesar would be a good leader. Brutus speculates:


It must be by his death, and, for my part,
I know no personal cause to spurn at him,
But for the general. He would be crown'd:
How that might change his nature, there's the question.
Act 2, Scene 1, Lines 10-34


Thus Brutus favours the Republic because he thinks that absolute power would have a corrupting effect upon anyone who had sole rulership of Rome, even a good man such as Caesar.

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