Manipulation in Julius Caesar

Manipulation in Julius Caesar

William Shakespeare’s tragic play portraying the life in ancient Rome is one that closely follows many elements that make a drama interesting. The murders and the conspiracies behind the killings add to the plot of jealousy and patriotism. Within “Julius Caesar” also
lies a twisted tale of attempted, actual, and forced manipulation.

The first sign of attempted manipulation in this play takes place in the first scene of the first act. The Romans are gathering during a holiday to celebrate Caesar’s victory over Pompey in a civil war, and they gather at a traditional race in celebration. While the crowds are at their peak capacity, two Pompey supporting government officials are
out and about, attempting to discourage the workers from this celebration. Marullus and Flavius, the two officials, do their best to convince the crowd of Caesar’s unimportance and the little he has actually contributed to the city.
Another manipulation attempt takes place in the very last scene on the play. After the battle that devours the entire last half of the drama, Brutus believes that he needs to die. He attempts, one by one, to persuade his companions to help him end his own life, but each refuses. The enemy forces begin to approach, and Brutus’ friends must retreat. Because of the failure of his attempted manipulation, Brutus stays behind and finds someone to help him take his life. With this manipulation to Strato, the death of Brutus is taken as a noble one, and he ultimately attains an honorable burial as a noble Roman.

Many actual manipulations take place in this drama as well as attempted manipulations. The first scene of the second act takes place the dawn before the ides of March. Brutus is walking around in his garden because he cannot sleep; he is brooding over a decision he must make. He already has personal opinions, but then he receives an anonymous letter urging him to act on Rome’s behalf. His decision to tell his wife of this conspiracy is actually one of manipulation on her part, the overall secret being from the letter of Cassius, the man who sent the anonymous letter.

Another manipulation that actually happened by chance takes place in a scene shortly thereafter. Because of a storm that takes place the dawn before the Ides, Caesar and his wife, Calpurnia, lie awake in their bed. Caesar intends to go to the Capitol, but Calpurnia objects. She urges him to stay home because of many threatening omens, and she has him completely persuaded. Calpurnia easily manipulates her husband’s decisions, and he agrees to stay home for her sake.

Along with the actuality and the attempts of manipulation in this play reside many forced manipulations. In the same scene in which Calpurnia convinces her husband to not go to the Capitol, a group of conspirators meet at Caesar’s house to make sure he does not decide to stay at home, simply so that the planned assassination can, in fact, take place. Brutus, one of the conspirators, tells Caesar that his wife is superstitious, and that he should not be listening to her.

In a later scene, after Caesar’s death, Brutus and Antony begin to speak to a group of
citizens of Rome. After Brutus’ speech explaining that Caesar needed to be slain for the good of Rome, Antony cleverly manages to turn the crowd against the conspirators by telling them of Caesar’s good work, and his concern for the common people. By stirring the crowd with the belief that their ruler had left all of his wealth to the people, the crowd is genuinely convinced by the forced manipulation of Antony.

In one of the closing battle scenes of “Julius Caesar”, many people die, and many others flee. One of the men that had died was Cassius, a leader in the war. Cassius’ forces are losing their battle, and Antony’s troops set Cassius’ tents on fire. Some of the troops are still among the tents, so Cassius sends an acquaintance, Titinius, to get a closer look and to bring back a report on their status. Cassius believes that the enemy has captured Titinius, so he then asks a fellow soldier to stab him. Pindarus, the assisted
assassinator, flees when Cassius dies, just as Titinius