The following paper topics are based on the entire play. Following each topic is a thesis and sample outline. Use these as a starting point for your paper.
“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” This statement by Lord Acton, sent in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton on April 5, 1887, provides the basis for understanding the effects of power on the heads of state, and it furnishes an insight into one of the main themes in the play Julius Caesar.
Write a paper that shows how power affects the characters, the events, and the outcome of the play.
I. Thesis Statement: Julius Caesar is a play that illustrates the theme expressed by Lord Acton that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. This can be illustrated by studying the actions of the main characters in the play.
A. Caesar, Pompey, and Crassus rule Rome (triumvirate)
B. Power struggle between Pompey and Caesar
C. Civil war ends with the death of Pompey
D. Caesar’s rise to power
III. Concern for the Republic and Caesar’s growing power
A. Flavius and Marullus disperse the crowd to minimize Caesar’s power base and protect the Roman Republic
B. A view of Caesar’s power on the feast of Lupercal, how he deals with Calphurnia and Antony
IV. The Conspiracy against Caesar
A. Cassius and Brutus discuss what must be done to prevent Caesar from destroying Rome
1. Cassius—wants personal power
2. Brutus—wants the good of Rome
3. Cassius exploits his power over Brutus by forging letters that will sway him
B. Brutus joins the plot to prevent Caesar’s abuse of power and Brutus assumes the leadership, imposing his wishes on the others
C. The conspirators have the power of life and death in Rome and they decide who will live and who will die
V. The Assassination
A. Caesar’s death causes a power struggle in Rome as the conspirators become the new leaders
B. Brutus’ funeral speech and his rise to power as the crowds want to make him king
C. Antony’s funeral speech and his rise to power unleashing the mob on Rome for his personal reasons
VI. The Aftermath in Rome
A. Antony, Octavius, and Lepidus are changed by their new- found power
1. They make a death list to consolidate their power in Rome
2. They change Caesar’s will and his generous legacy to Rome
3. Antony’s abuse of Lepidus for his political ends
B. The growing conflict between Antony and Octavius
VII. The Aftermath in Greece
A. The conflict between Brutus and Cassius
B. The impending war
VIII. The Civil War
A. The deaths of Brutus and Cassius
B. Antony and Octavius rise to power
Any analysis of Julius Caesar would not be complete without considering the matter of subjective interpretation. Throughout the play characters and events are judged not by what is actually happening, but by one or more characters’ interpretation of these things.
Write a paper that examines these subjective interpretations of characters and events throughout the play, providing examples to support your conclusions.
I. Thesis Statement: Understanding Julius Caesar depends on realizing that the audience’s attitude toward the characters, and the events of the play, are not rooted in reality, but in a subjective interpretation of reality.
II. Act I
A. Flavius and Marullus paint a biased and negative picture of Caesar based...
(The entire section is 1508 words.)
Just like all the other stories, the “Julius Caesar”, written by William Shakespeare, includes the following basic sections: the initial situation, the story conflict, climax, suspense and conclusive part. William Shakespeare didn’t go any other way, and made his “Julius Caesar” on the basis of typical “ingredients”.
After killing his co-leader Pompey Julius Caesar returns to Rome. The whole irony lies within fact that common people celebrate the Roman triumph of an individual instead of the whole nation. The tension feels from the first page of the page and without a doubt, something is going to happen so that the tension could be finally broken.
Conflict of the Story
Julius Caesar’s longing for an absolute power disturbs those who believe that common people ignore the possible consequences of the upcoming of Julius Caesar’s tyranny. Although Cassius exerts every effort to incite Brutus to rebel, Brutus takes no notice of it and is moved by the fact that the empire should be greater than Julius. With the fake letter in his hands, Brutus realizes how bad the things are in Rome and that he is the only savior. His patriotic feelings must be higher than personal convictions regarding Julius Caesar.
The conspirators come to an agreement that nobody should touch the Antony’s body that worries Cassius. The conspirators easily pull off the murder, nonetheless, they are hurt by naive beliefs of Brutus. He truly believes that everyone around will worship them after they state real motivations behind their deeds: that they killed Julius Caesar only to bring the better future for Rome. The nation is all in panic, which means things went really wrong. Playing with Brutus’s trust, Anthony asks him whether he can deliver his speech at the funeral. Although Antony gives his word by saying he will never lay any blame, he actually plans to have Julius avenged by provoking the common people to start a riot.
Antony’s rhetoric gives him an opportunity to highlight all the wrongs the traitors have done to Julius Caesar. This gives the people a good motivation to be angry on Julius Caesar’s behalf. They walk the streets, shouting “Kill and burn!”. The whole situation pleases Antony. whose plan turns out just perfectly.
Everyone finally “wakes up” when Brutus announces that Portia is dead. This, in turn, brings some light on how useless was Brutus in this fight. Julius Caesar’s ghost appears and Brutus, being braver than ever before, is sure to meet the ghost. Cassius sums up his life in a very poetic way – his birthday comes, so if he passes away today, this means his life have reached the full circle. Two comrades agree to never come back in chains, which means that they will commit suicide before the moment of dishonor.
When reaching up the end of the play, one sees how it all played in the world history. Cassius and Brutus commit suicide when they are sure their battle against Antony is lost. Having taken the field, where Brutus fell, Antony and Octavius proclaim him to be the noblest man. Unluckily, Brutus is a little bit too dead to know his new status and the situation doesn’t worry him anymore.
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