In literature, characters are often unrealistic, and rarely do they portray those special features that make them human. William Shakespeare was one of the few able to create characters with truly human features . His talent for doing this is clearly illus trated in one of his most well known plays, Julius Caesar. This is the fascinating story based on true history of the birth of the Roman Empire, beginning with the brutal assassination of their leader, Julius Caesar.
Three of the characters show th human traits of being three-dimensional and dynamic, Anthony, Caesar’s loyal companion; Cassius, one of the conspirators; and Caesar himself. Mark Anthony, Caesar’s loyal companion and bodyguard, has a completely diversified personality. In one way, he is truly grieved by the death of his close friend but on the other hand he is shrewd and cunning and takes advantage of Caesar’s death. He revea ls his shrewd and cunning personality while he is giving his speech at Caesar’s funeral. He used many tactics to get the people to side with him.
Sarcasm, irony, reverse psychology, audiovisual affects, and tears are employed in order to persuade the Plebei ans that Caesar’s assassination was wrong and his death must be avenged by killing the conspirators. Deep in his heart, he feels grief and pain even though he does take advantage of Caesar’s death. Cassius, one of the main conspirators involved in Caesar’s death is also a multifaceted person, although not as much as Anthony. He had more common sense than the other conspirators, but the rest of them did not appreciate his words of wisdom. He is emoti nal, yet aggressive, jealous, hot tempered, impulsive, petulant, and an instigator.
He also shows a degree of shrewdness when he approaches Brutus to suggest his plan of assassinating Caesar. He flattered Brutus by telling him how wonderful he is, and how great a leader he is. He was anxious to involve Brutus in the conspiracy because he knew Brutus was a respected member of society and people would listen to him, and he was curious to know what had happened. He also shows a degree of being cowardly. Many times he knew he was right in his plans, but he didn’t have the courage to persist in them. For example, when he said not to let Anthony speak at the funeral.
Finally, Caesar himself, all the way on top of the Roman empire at its peak, had a few interesting aspects in his character that must not be ignored. He was conniving, politically smart, charismatic, vacillatious, and arrogant. As an outer-self he tried to appear perfect, defending himself against any bad omens that came across to Calpurnia, his wife, the soothsayer, or the augurer. When Anthony first offered him the crown the, and the soothsayer warned him to beware of the Ides of March, the 15th day of the month, he pushed him away not wanting to appear vulnerable in public.
However, once we see him as his private self, at home with his wife, we see how truly vulnerable he is. As his wife warns him not to go out, he tries to redefine the omens as good signs. He’s not sure if he believes himself and his defense weakens. When the conspirators come to get him, their agreement with him bolsters his ego and he decides to go. This shows how much the public opinion meant to him. In conclusion, Shakespeare truly was an expert at portraying human traits, and all his characters are multifaceted, three-dimensional, and dynamic. He has set an example for future writers to come.