Compare the movie The Godfather and Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.

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In writing a comparative essay on The Godfather and Julius Caesar, assess the similarities and differences between the two works.

This is a great prompt because the two works have a lot in common. For example, both works deal with the theme of betrayal. Consider how Brutus betrays Caesar, and Tessio plans to betray Don Vito Corleone and Michael. The rampant betrayal in both works prompts audiences to reflect on the way interpersonal relationships change. Both works also show how politics and violence can harm a person’s character. For instance, in The Godfather, the politics of the mafia take a toll on Michael’s marriage, and although he joined the mafia with reluctance, he eventually becomes caught up in its bad morals. Similarly, political interests motivate Brutus to betray Caesar, but when he himself is later defeated, he takes his own life to maintain his dignity.

These works are also quite different too. The Godfather is a 1972 movie that takes place in New York in the 1940s. The main characters are fictional mafia members, like Don Vito Corleone and his son Michael Corleone. Julius Caesar is a play from 1599 set in ancient Rome, and it features historical figures like Mark Antony, Brutus, and of course, Julius Caesar himself. While the two works explore some similar themes, the characters live in completely different social and historical contexts and have completely different life experiences.

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