Power and Ambition in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar

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Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar is a work that studies and analyzes the role of power in a specific moment of history: the transition between the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire. The writer chose one of the most perfect examples of power our civilization has witnessed, Rome, and one of its strongest rulers: Julius Caesar. What did power mean for a culture that lived two thousand years ago? It’s interesting to see how human nature has remained the same throughout the defining moments of history. Man has always been attracted, amongst other things, to pleasure and power, both of them usually feeding off of each other. When the play begins, Julius Caesar is at the top of his glory, rapidly becoming a god-like figure for the people. But, taking a fast glimpse at our history (ex: Alexander The Great, Hernán Cortés, Adolf Hitler), it seems almost ridiculous for men of such stature to suddenly stop and realize their life’s labors are fulfilled. After conquering an insanely huge territory for his country and destroying his rivals (which would eventually lead the western world to an unprecedented period of peace), the logical step for Caesar’s power was to become official, to be crowned as the sole ruler of the vast empire. Even if he publicly refused the crown three times, everybody was convinced that he would eventually accept it (and the cheers of the crowd certainly didn’t help the conspirator’s worried minds). But in a tradition firmly rooted in the Republic, a dictator appeared unacceptable to the senators. So began the struggle for power. Nobody doubted Caesar’s greatness, or his monumental contributions to Rome. But after that was said and done, Cassius and the rest of the conspirators fell prey to fear, and probably envy. They were used to being revered and respected by the populace -not to mention the portentous and luxurious life they lived- and the idea of

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