Julius Caesar

Act 1

What do Caesar's speech and actions tell you about his character? Explain.


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Two sides of Caesar exist in the play: Caesar as a concept and as a human being. The human in Caesar is weak, needs Cassius to save him from drowning and has epileptic fits. However, the concept of Caesar, the great general and leader is all powerful and noble. His every word is a command, and the people follow him.

Throughout the play, Caesar demonstrates an inability to effectively communicate, a theme reflected in much of the plays action. For example, in the first act the tribunes and plebeians talk across each other rather than to one another. Later on, Brutus and Cassius are constantly interrupted by shouts offstage, breaking their conversion and distracting Brutus. Caesar's particular weakness in communication stems from his being deaf in his left ear. At one point he requests, "Come on my right hand, for this ear is deaf, / And tell me truly what thou think'st of him" (1.2.214-215). Caesar's deafness is in fact symbolic of his unwillingness to see danger in the world around him. As such, he dismisses the soothsayer and his wife Calpurnia's dream rather than accepting their morbid predictions.