Symbolism is a major aspect of writing. Whether obvious or subtle, authors use it as a way to extend their works beyond just the time period they’re writing their piece in. Also, it allows the reader the opportunity to substitute his own ideas into the story, which makes the story more personal. The characters and situations in Julius Caesar can be twisted to tell of contemporary society. The persona of Julius Caesar represents many things in Shakespeare’s play, among which are ambition, power, and impending disaster.
In today’s society, he can stand for the Human Genome Project. Although the Genome Project promises to spawn cures for genetic diseases, it also carries the fear of genetically enhanced humans. Like Caesar, the Genome Project seems to be boasting of benevolence while quietly ushering malevolence at the same time. Caesar’s foils, Cassius and Brutus, can be found in the opponents of the Genome Project. Not only do individuals oppose the Genome Project, but also whole groups of peoples do.
The main argument is that the Genome Project will allow scientists to genetically enhance humans and animals beyond what would be the average. They completely overlook the positive factors, such as the cure for genetic disorders. The way modern opponents of the Genome Project turn a blind eye to the helpfulness of the scientific breakthrough is like the way Cassius and Brutus turn away from the help Caesar might give Romans. Brutus differs from Cassius in that he genuinely weighs the profit of letting Caesar have rule over Rome. It must be by his death: and, for my part, I know no personal cause to spurn at him, But for the general. ” II. i. 10-12 However, he ultimately decides that the danger Caesar imposes is too great the risk. History is said to repeat itself. If the modern Julius Caesar is killed, many suffering people will never get the chance to live a normal life. However, perhaps genetically altered babies will be spared the pain of living a life branded as a science experiment.
In the same way, Brutus and Cassius acted on the belief that the suffering of many people would be spared if they killed Caesar before the man had the opportunity to make Romans endure pain. In creating a plot that can be relevant to any time period, Shakespeare created a play that is timeless. The use of symbolism makes the characters able to represent almost anything. Personalizing the play to modern day society results in the conflict about the Human Genome Project. The main characters of Julius Caesar symbolize aspects of the contemporary world.