Julius Caesar Self-Concepts in Julius Caesar
Uploaded by MJ23 on Jul 05, 2004
All people have definite concepts of self. In different situations, one may feel short, tall, smart, slow, fast, talkative, reserved, etceteras. These self-concepts are usually very different than how others opinions of us. Depending on one's actions, words or even tone of voice, one may misrepresent oneself and be misinterpreted. One may be so arrogant or so humble that they prevent themselves from seeing themselves through others' eyes. In William Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar, two main characters, Julius Caesar and Marcus Brutus, present different personas- one being each characters actual self-characterizations, which we learn through their discussions with others, and another is how they are actually perceived in the eyes of others. Their inability to project their true motives in performing certain actions eventually brings about their tragic downfalls.
Julius Caesar believed that people needed one strong ruler in order to have maximum production and proper function of a society. He believed that he possessed many, if not all, of the characteristics required of a great leader. He spoke to others in a way which he believed exhibited authority, told people why he should be the one to lead them, and thought that his own advice was best.
His unwillingness to listen to others is received as arrogance. Though already warned by the soothsayer to "beware the ides of March," Caesar refuses to heed advice to stay home from Calpurnia, his wife, because he feels that she is trying to keep him from obtaining power and status. Calpurnia believes Caesar to be a prince and is convinced that some falling meteors are warnings of a prince's death. When she hears her husband boast that he is more dangerous than danger itself, she recognizes that this is simple arrogance, and tells him so, saying, "Alas, my lord/ Your wisdom is consumed in confidence (Act II, scene 2)." In response to her criticism and humble petitions, Caesar momentarily agrees to pacify her. However, when he changes his mind and decides to leave against her admonitions, she reluctantly, but obediently fetches Caesar's robe and he departs for the Senate, and his meeting with fate.
Caesar's greatest character flaw, however, is thinking that he is far above others and somehow invincible. When he compares his own perseverance with that of the North Star, saying "But I am as constant as the northern star/Of whose true-fix'd and resting quality/there is no fellow in the firmament (Act III,...