Julius Caesar

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Themes and Colors
Manhood and Honor Theme Icon
Logic and Language Theme Icon
Public vs. Private Theme Icon
Politics and Morality Theme Icon
Fate Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Julius Caesar, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Julius Caesar is quite a macho play, with characters constantly examining their actions in light of their relationship to accepted ideas of manly virtue and strength. Rome is an Empire (though it is not yet ruled by an Emperor), militaristically maintained, and the model of the "good soldier" extends to the citizen and politician as well. Although there's lots of violence in the play, it's not only physical strength and fighting ability that constitute manliness…

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Though there is certainly violence in Julius Caesar, characters spend far more time talking to one another than they do fighting or killing, and much of that talk takes the form of argument and debate. But unlike the arguments we are used to, those in Caesar focus primarily on discerning what is right—what should or must be done—rather than on characters trying to get their way. In Rome, accusing someone of acting in his…

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All the major characters of Julius Caesar are public figures—some are even like celebrities—and are conscious of the fact that they live their lives and make their decisions before the audience of the Roman people, who may or may not be receptive. They are also careful about the personae they project in front of one another. Caesar is careful to always present himself as fearless and steadfast, even in front of trusted friends like Antony

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Since the Rome of the play is the pinnacle of civilization, arguments about how it should be run are also arguments about what constitutes an ideal government. The entire play centers around Brutus accepting the truth of two moral statements: First, that Rome must not become a monarchy; and secondly, that killing an as-yet-innocent man is morally acceptable if it prevents Rome from becoming a monarchy. Brutus's strict moral code makes no allowance for self-preservation…

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The attitude Julius Caesar takes towards free will is paradoxical. On the one hand, the human capacity for reason plays a chief role, as many scenes involve characters going through careful decision-making processes or engaging in complex arguments—this suggests a world where events come about as a result of human free will. On the other, many of the play's key events are successfully predicted, both by humans with prophetic abilities, and by the natural world…

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