Saturday, February 6, 2010

What is "Julius Caesar"?

A short commentary on the play by William Shakespeare.

London 1599: Just past the stroke of midnight, and a man sits alone in room…… writing feverishly by the sputtering light of a dying candle his goose quill pen scratching roughly against the parchment, at last he throws down his pen and with a cry says “ it is finished!” The man is none other than William Shakespeare, and he has just finished what is probably one of the most influential controversial, quoted, and disdained pieces of literature of all time………………”Julius Caesar”.

This play by Shakespeare is one of the most well known pieces of literature ever written in the English language. But besides the fact that is well known, what does is it mean to Christians? Well to find out prepare to take a short journey with me ad we find the “true” meaning of  “Julius Caesar”.

To start off I’m going to give you some historical context. The years in which this takes place ore from 44-53 B.C. and the characters we will deal with are Julius Caesar,(of course;) Marc Antony, Cassius, and Marcus Brutus. Now lets begin!

First I would like to address the behavior of Cassius and Marcus Brutus in scene II of the play. Cassius and Marcus Brutus show an absolute disgust for Caesar and have no qualms about voicing that disgust in the most blatant ways. But one of the things that greatly fascinated me was the way in which they could switch from being the most “sincere” helpers of Caesar, to the sniveling, backbiting, and envois men they truly were! Although Marcus Brutus says that it is for the good of Rome one must truly wonder of was not truly envy that drove them to this crime, even Cassius ask “Is Caesar greater then we?”.

Later on it is none other the Cassius and Caesars “best friend” Marcus Brutus who lead the attack against Caesar, after they have “finished him off”, comes one of the most gruesome parts of the play. Marcus Brutus proposes that the men besmear their daggers and arms with the blood of Caesar, this is just an example of the absolute vulgarity of this time in history.

Next Marc Antony comes onto the scene, but first you must understand that Cassius and Marcus Brutus feared Marc Antony because he was a direct relation of Caesar, but to their surprise he embraces them while at the same time he feels great sorrow at the sight of Caesar lying in a pool of his own blood. This confuses Cassius and Marcus Brutus, so much so that they specify what Marc Antony must say at the funeral.

At the funeral Marcus Brutus explains his reasons as to why he and others murdered Caesar, to which the crowd wildly agrees. After Marcus Brutus finishes Marc Antony begins his speech, he keeps to the chosen script for a little while, but then proceeds to bring forth his own reasons as to why these men are murderers. By this time the crowd has swayed and is now an angry mob calling for the blood of the murderers. This is yet another example of the fickleness we get when we do not use God’s law as an ultimate standard.
In conclusion, this play shows that without God and Gods Law man becomes as the Romans, vile, plotting simpering glutinous, murderers adulterers, sodomites, and all the rest listed in Romans 1:21-32. In the end, Julius Caesar is just another example of what man will do without Christ as our Leader and Lord.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Samuel DeLadurantey 

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