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Julius Ceasar

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 01:31 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 58.3 
  • Words: 7539
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Shakespeare’s JULIUS CAESAR is not equal as a whole, to either of his other plays taken from the Roman history. It is inferior in interest to Coriolanus, and both in interest and power to Antony and Cleopatra.   Critics do not much admire the representation here given of Julius Caesar, nor do they think it answers to the portrait given of him in his Commentaries. He makes several vapouring and rather pedantic speeches, and does nothing. Indeed, he has nothing to do with it. So far, the fault of the character might be the fault of the plot.

The well-known dialogue between Brutus and Cassius, in which the latter breaks the design of the conspiracy to the former, and partly gains him over to it, is regarded by critics as a noble piece of high-minded declamation. Cassius\'s insisting on the pretended effeminacy of Caesar\'s character, and his description of their swimming across the Tiber together, \"once upon a raw and gusty day,\" are among the finest strokes in it. But perhaps the whole is not equal to the short scene which follows when Caesar enters with his train. His skepticism as to prodigies and his moralising on the weather--\"This disturbed sky is not to walk in\"--are in the same spirit of refined imbecility.

Shakespeare has in this play and elsewhere shown the same penetration into political character and the springs of public events as into those of every-day life. For instance, the whole design to liberate their country fails from the generous temper and overweening confidence of Brutus in the goodness of their cause and the assistance of others. Those who mean well themselves think well of others, and fall a prey to their security. That humanity and sincerity which dispose men to resist injustice and tyranny render them unfit to cope with the cunning and power of those who are opposed to them.

The friends of liberty trust to the professions of others, because they are themselves sincere, and endeavor to secure...


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