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The Art of Characterization in the Play Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare

Autor:   •  August 31, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,608 Words (7 Pages)  •  2,779 Views

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The art of characterization in the play Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare.

Drama is concerned with the unfolding of characters and Shakespeare has constantly sought the most effective means to dramatize characters on stage. William Shakespeare's art of characterization is one of the most distinctive features of the play, Julius Caesar. In this tragic and historic play, Shakespeare presents an imposing number of characters but the prime focus is always directed to those he wishes to highlight.

The play Julius Caesar is a dramatization of the Roman historic events that revolves around the tragic death of Julius Caesar, and its consequences. Thus, characters in the play consist of people ranging from politically important members- those in the highest echelon, to their wives and servants, from the tribunes to the soldiers, the commoners in the Roman Society back then. The role of every character in the play fascinates the audience to the very end of the play, giving a great dramatic effect. The playwright has shown a great variety of human traits and outlooks that are possessed by these characters. The roles of both- the Chief and subordinate characters in the play, hold equal importance in driving the play ahead and entertaining the audience. But of course, the author has showed a conspicuous difference between the character development of each (chief or subordinate). The audience or readers may find the main characters more developed, since the plot revolves around them.

In the Scene I, Act I, the characters in play are the ones which do not appear again in the whole play. Shakespeare has used these characters to introduce the main characters of the play, particularly the eponymous character, Julius Caesar, who is introduced by a Cobbler. The dialogues between the Plebeians and the two annoyed Tribunes reveal the tension between these two sections of the Roman Society, at the very outset of the play. Thus Shakespeare shows characters having different loyalties and allegiances (most importantly- to Pompey or to Caesar).

To absorb the attentiveness of the audience, and to keep it going, the playwright has given the characters in the Scene I, (especially, the commoners,) an ironic spirit of comedy. This offends the tribunes, which is when; the author makes use of influential oratory on the part of the Tribunes, to sway the crowd. The plebeians also get influenced, which reveals their fickle-mindedness.

As the play progresses, the temperament of each of the characters comes into focus. The technique used by Shakespeare to characterize, follows a number of principal rules such as distinctiveness, contrast, consistence, effectiveness.

Every Character is represented according to his distinctive features. Ambitious Caesar, Idealistic and Patriotic Brutus, Envious and Malcontented Cassius, Submissive women (Portia and


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