In ‘Julius Caesar’, William Shakespeare instantly identifies the differences of status and class between the characters. He manages this by using different techniques such as ‘prose’ and ‘blank verse’. The devices help differentiates the character’s class by the way they speak. The low class – commoners – who are called “idle creatures” by the tribunes (higher class people), ignites rivalry between the two statuses – low and high. The result of this makes the tribunes appear as arrogant and disrespectful characters. As the scene continues, the plebeians (low class people) mocks the intelligence of the upper-class.
The cobbler describes himself by using the pun of being a “mender of soles”. This implies the mocking tone of the cobbler towards Murellus (a tribune). Furthermore, it also proves that just because one is from a higher class, it doesn’t mean that they would obtain much intelligence. All in all being said, status does not define one’s intelligence. Throughout this scene, characters with low statuses aren’t given names which clearly distinguishes the merciless difference between both groups of characters. The themes power and manipulations also has enormous parts in this play.
In Act 1, Scene 2, manipulation was played mostly by Cassius who tries to turn Brutus against Caesar. Cassius urges Brutus to consider that the name of Brutus should be as powerful as Caesar’s, “Brutus and Caesar: What should in that ‘Caesar'”. Cassius then questions, “Why should that name be sounded more than yours? “. This implies that Cassius is very determined to demolish Brutus’ loyalty and respect towards Caesar. He does this through flattering Brutus’ pride and making him believe that he is at the same, if not better, standard as Caesar.
Cassius then adds the theme power together with manipulation as he continues trying to persuade Brutus to turn against Caesar. “I was born free as Caesar, so were you”, by that both of them are either as powerful as Caesar or that Caesar is as weak as them both. Additionally, like in most of Shakespeare’s plays, women are portrayed as the weaker sex. When Cassius insults Caesar, he describes Caesar “as a sick girl”, implying his belief of women being weak and powerless. In Act 2, Scene 1, Shakespeare makes Brutus contemplate and justify his decision to kill Caesar.
Brutus feels that he is obligated to do what’s best for Rome. As he finished with the letter, Brutus concludes that he makes Rome a “Promise” as the letter convinces him that he is the right roman to “Speak, strike and redress for Rome. This fills Brutus with honour and pride as he feels that this is his duty. This symbolises Brutus’ patriotism. However this is ironic because Brutus is believing a forged letter, thus showing how gullible and easily Brutus is manipulated as he is blinded by false power. Shakespeare again presents the theme of naivety and honour using Brutus’ and Cassius’ relationship.
Cassius showers Brutus with flatter in an attempt to persuade Brutus even further. Cassius mentions the “honours…which ever Roman- bears of” to Brutus. This conveys that Brutus is easily flattered by Cassius as honour and patriotism are Brutus’ weak spot. This reinforces that Cassius can tempt Brutus to kill Caesar with ease, showing Brutus’ gullibility. As Shakespeare starts to bring in the female charters into the scene, he presents them in a complete different way as to how men would usually be presented- an example for this would be how Portia, the wife of Brutus, is portrayed.
Portia wakes up and finds Brutus, she realises that something is wrong and is determined to find out what is disturbing her husband. Portia gives herself a “voluntary wound” to prove her loyalty towards Brutus as she becomes sacrificial to demonstrate this. Portia is insightful as she is confident with what she has interpreted as something “ungentle”. Shakespeare visualises women to be strong-willed as opposed to the stereotypical subservient manner. On the contrary, he portrays Calpurnia – Caesar’s wife – differently.
Caesar has awaken due to Calpurnia’s cry in her sleep, she has had a bad dream and thinks of it as a bad omen. Calpurnia tells him to put the blame on her “fear”, instead of his own. Calpurnia is quick and smart as she knows her husband shouldn’t show any signs of weakness (as a politician), then reveals more traits when she boldly states that Caesar’s “wisdom is consumed in…confidence”. Shakespeare portrays Calpurnia as insightful as she is able to identify Caesar’s arrogance but tactfully persuades her husband.
Shakespeare illustrates that women like Portia and Calpurnia are both insightful, perceptive, tactful and superstitious women whom loves their husbands. However, women do not have dominant power over men as both female characters are dismissed and overlooked. After the death of Caesar, Cassius begins to reveal his arrogance along with patriotism. “Liberty, freedom and enfranchisement”, by using the word “freedom”, Cassius displays his arrogant attitude, whilst trying to convince himself along with the whole of Rome that it is because of him that everyone is “free” again – back into being republic.
Shakespeare conveys an image of patriotism as he suggests that Cassius’s actions are only for the best interest of Rome – again highlighting that every man in the play remains loyal to their country. In Act 4 scene 2, Shakespeare portrays how war changes men – particularly Brutus. Since Caesar’s death, Brutus has become more wary of his friendship with Cassius as their relationship has changed due to trust issues. “Hot friend cooling”, this suggests that the warmth of Brutus’ and Cassius’ friendship was “cooling” off since the death of Caesar.
Also it implies that it is clear that there is friction between Brutus and Cassius. Shakespeare does this to create suspense in their relationship. In addition, Brutus has become more power hungry, observant and arrogant. “Hath given me some worthy cause to wish things done undone, but if he be at hand I shall be satisfied”. This proves that he is more aware of his capabilities to rule Rome, however it could also be that, he subconsciously fears Cassius may turn against him as he had done the same with Caesar.