Imagery Usage In Shakespeare´S Julius Caesar

945 words - 4 pages

What comes to mind when one thinks of “Romans”? Power, dominion, or even greatness could describe these noble people. The Romans were arguably one of the most powerful civilizations in history, so how could a people of such greatness come to such ruin? Power is a dangerous privilege for any worldly nation to possess, and when mixed with a scandalous concoction of greed and corruption, could spell the end of an entire civilization. Julius Caesar showcases Shakespeare’s own interpretation concerning the demise of Rome’s most famous leader. This play spotlights various examples of imagery to help the audience understand the author’s interpretation of this historical tragedy. Imagery is a kind of figurative language used to help the reader interpret a story through sensory description. The themes of power and corruption are displayed through many examples of Imagery in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar such as the barrenness of Caesar’s wife, the offering of a crown, and a series of foreshadowing omens.

The first imagery device to consider can be found during a celebration of the Roman feast of Lupercal when Caesar asks Antony to “...touch Calpurnia; for our elders say, The barren, touched in this holy chase, Shake off their sterile curse.” (I, ii, 89) The imagery used in this passage is a little less obvious, so one must break down the quote to understand what is being said. It was part of Roman cultural tradition for a naked participant to run through the streets of the city during the festival. It was also believed that if this runner touched you, it was good luck. Caesar is asking Antony to touch Calpurnia because he believes that it will “shake off [her] sterile curse,” meaning that she is supposedly infertile, and a touch from Antony will cure this. It’s an interesting thought, but is this information really vital to the plot of the story? Why would Shakespeare include it if it’s not relevant? If one reads deeper into the meaning of this piece of imagery, one could see it’s meaning from different light. Caesar gives the blame to Calpurnia in order to provide an explanation as to why they are unable to bear children, but in reality the medicine did not exist to be able to prove this at the time. It could be that Caesar has become barren, not Calpurnia, which could create problems if Ceasar were to assume a throne; he would be unable to produce an heir. So what could one see under this new perspective? Perhaps Julius Caesar’s actions were directed to make himself king after all, and thus making him seem like a more power-hungry figure in the story. If Caesar was indeed seeking the throne as the conspirators claimed, wouldn’t it be important to him that he would have a...

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