Superstition in Julius Caesar

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Superstitions in Julius Caesar Man, by nature, is credulous, and from the day he began his life on the planet earth, he has had beliefs in superstition. Being aware of this partiality, novelists and dramatists use superstitious events to make their works sensational. It is a favourite element in some of the plays written by the great English playwright William Shakespeare, who entertained the theatre-lovers during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Julius Caesar is one such play where the reader comes across this element in a variety of ways. Portrayal of occurrences related to dreams, ghosts, unusual natural eruptions etc. has made this play more thrilling and exciting. The feast of Lupercal is a holy festival held in honour of the Roman god of fertility. Julius Caesar asks Antony not to fail to touch Calphurnia during the race, for he believes that it will get rid of her sterility. Forget not in your speed, Antonius, To touch Calphurnia, for our elders say The barren, touchèd in this holy chase, Shake off their sterile curse. Act 1.ii.8-11 It is generally considered that faith in palmistry, auspicious-times, and astrology is a result of one’s belief in superstition. Another example of superstition found in the play is the soothsayer. Here, a soothsayer warns Caesar to ‘Beware the ides of March.’ (Act1.ii.25), but he laughs at the soothsayer in disbelief of his prediction and brands him a dreamer. While he is prone to believe the power of the Roman god of fertility, he is prone to disbelieve, with contempt, the soothsayer’s prediction. It is puzzling to note why Caesar is making this difference. Whatever Caesar’s logic behind the differentiation is, it is immaterial for us as we are merely pointing out the instances of superstition we come across in the play. In Act1.iii Casca describes to Cicero several incidents seen by him. He had seen a slave holding

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