Omens In Julius Caesar

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The play Dr. Faustus, by Christopher Marlowe starts with a brief introduction by the chorus which gives the audience an insight into Faustus’s life, up the point the story starts. Faustus like Caesar is a very ambitious man and like Caesar he too was born into a family “base of stock” from where he worked his way to the top.

This growing ambition also makes Faustus’ “waxen wings… mount above his reach”. This brings to mind the story of Icarus who too ended up like Faustus.

Faustus acquires knowledge in all the areas possible for the human mind till he decides to try out something out of the unknown, something which would make him as good as God or better than Him. This thirst for supremacy makes him so dissatisfied that he pays the ultimate price, a pact with Lucifer for selling his soul in return for 24 years of the Devil’s service to him.

He doesn’t realize that wisdom is more important than knowledge and unknowingly strives after the impossible. This play features the devolvement of a scholar who could’ve contributed significantly to society had he not been so focused with his self-centeredness.

These Growing Feathers Plucked From Caesar’s Wing

He undermines the authority of God and takes his future in his own hands and thereby violates the very essence of theology in his search for glory.

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His dissatisfaction leads him to necromancy and the dark arts. He becomes an acclaimed master at them, and during the time he spends with Mephistophilis at his service, he obtains all kinds of knowledge and power through his servant, he travels around the world and displays his power to the world wanting people to be awed by him. At many times during the play Faustus comes close to repent, he experiences doubt and despair but he always backs away at the last moment.

The first scene of the play displays Faustus’ battle with his conscience; the Good Angel and the Evil Angel depict the entry of his struggle with his thoughts. The Good Angel advises him to “lay that damned book aside” and to steer away from the cursed path but Faustus doesn’t pay heed. This is the first sign by which Faustus could’ve avoided the tragic path which lay ahead of him. When Faustus encounters Mephistophilis for the first time, he has a talk with the devil and the humane side of Mephistophilis is shown, he hints with the choice of his words that hell isn’t the kind of place one could enjoy.

The audiences feel that the devil is trying to reach out to Faustus not to proceed further. It is rather ironic that a devil should be interested in his welfare. Mephistophilis continues in trying to stir Faustus’ guilt many times more during the play, but it becomes harder and harder for Faustus to revert back to his old ways because of the degradation of his moral values. When the Faustian Bargain was being signed by Faustus, his “blood congeals”. Following this is his soliloquy where he sounds his doubts for the audience to hear.

This makes him think “what might the staying of my blood portend? An inscription,”Homo fuge” meaning ‘man, fly’ appears on his arm. This can be taken as a warning for him not to proceed further. The following scene sounds his agony at what he has done. There is another battle of conscience here and Faustus comes so close to repenting that he cries out: “Ah, Christ, my Saviour, Seek to save distressed Faustus’ soul. ” The effect of these words is so much that Lucifer, the Prince of the East and Bezlebub themselves come from hell to pacify him from succumbing to repentance. They accomplish this by flattery, the power of persuasion.

This is perhaps another one of the things Faustus has in common with Caesar, he is easily persuaded. Julius Caesar, by Shakespeare is a tragic play which deals with the murder of the protagonist Caesar in the Roman Era. Caesar, like Faustus is very ambitious. Caesar is a brilliant warrior but is unable to express the love for his people because of his higher position; he is more involved in matters of the State. So he isn’t as devoted to the public as Brutus or the others. This along with his physical weakness is one of his short comings.

The opening scene starts with Caesar’s victory over “Pompey’s blood”. People are seen celebrating out in the streets and through the conversation between the tribunes: Flavius and Murellus, the audience can infer from this scene that a section of Roman society is resentful towards Caesar. Caesar’s position is such that he expects explicit obedience from everyone, nobody disobeys him; it denotes his power. This includes the Senate who fears Caesar could become more powerful and could take over the rule of Rome as King, thereby putting their positions in jeopardy.

In Democracy, they had a free hand; they fear dictatorship or a one-man rule would result if Caesar isn’t stopped. “These growing feathers plucked from Caesar’s wing Will make him fly an ordinary pitch, Who else would soar above the view of men And keep us all in servile fearfulness,” these lines depict the feelings of the tribunes towards Caesar. This is the reason for the decision of the senate for murdering Caesar, largely for personal gain. The following scene illustrates the Soothsayer’s meeting with him. The Soothsayer asks Caesar to “beware the Ides of March.

These are very strong words, and coming from a person who knows the future, this has a very strong impact on the audience. By now the audiences have inkling that there is growing discontent towards Caesar’s rule and so something will be done soon. The soothsayer’s premonition serves to intensify the dread and adds anticipation to the play. The “Ides of March” refers to the middle day in the month of March, the 15th. This is the first omen in the play which predicts the doom which would befall Caesar. Caesar’s reaction is rather casual and dismissive.

The 3rd scene of Act 1 starts with thunder and lightening. It is observed that any of Shakespeare’s work where a scene starts with thunder and lightening depicts some sort of forthcoming disaster. This scene features the meeting between Casca and Cicero; Casca cites a few unnatural events such as the servant not getting burnt by the fire, the lion walking past him and leaving him unscathed, women claiming that men on fire walked around in the city, and the unusual occurrence of “the bird of night” in the market place who hooted and screeched even when it was noon time.

The audience defers these incidences to Casca’s hallucinations due to fear but they can also be taken as signs that the wrath of the Gods is upon them, as it is after their decided course of action that all the Senators (except Brutus who acts due to honorable reasons) meet with a grim fate, they are beheaded. As the audience get deeper and deeper into the plot, many more signs come to light; the audience can feel that the hand of fate is drawing to a close that what is about to happen.

In most of the cases when the omens appear the characters undeniably ignore them and this proves their own strength and valor at facing it because they do not trudge along a path when it is shown to them but use their own free will to decide their own course of action. They let destiny take its own route and act according to what they feel and perceive.

The other omens are dead men walking, sacrificed animals that lack hearts and Calpurnia’s dream of Caesar’s statue running with blood and people washing their hands in his blood with smiles on their faces; the lattermost omen is depicted in Act 2, Scene 2. This reflects the actions and perceptions of the other members of the Senate. Caesar comes to believe that Calpurnia has clearly misinterpreted her dream. He believes he is willfully acting for the right cause by attending the meeting that day when this is what leads to his fated death.

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Omens In Julius Caesar
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