The Ambivalent Alliance of Caesar and Caesarian Forces in Plutarch’s Lives and Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar
Mufeed Al-Abdullah

This paper is a comparative study that traces the fluctuations of Caesar‟s alliance with the masses in Plutarch‟s Lives and Shakespeare‟s Julius Caesar. Plutarch pays a lot of attention to map the nature and the roots of that bond between Caesar and his supporters. Caesar exploits the plebs to gain power against rival patricians. He heeds the whims of the plebs and their interests, but he humiliates and degrades his fellow senators. His ambition is to transcend his peers and gather full power in Rome. His means for achieving this dream is the alignment with the commons that help him thwart any senatorial decisions against him. Plutarch, however, portrays the Roman commons as clear, judgmental, and aware of Caesar‟s political maneuvers. They re-evaluate their alliance and change in light of their perception of his political activities. Shakespeare starts Julius Caesar with the last war Caesar fought in his life, and thus shows no interest in mapping the roots of his alliance with the plebeians of Rome. He rather depicts them as naïve and gullible to the tricks and manipulations of Caesar. The plebeians show a taste of political awareness that is not accentuated in the play. Furthermore, Shakespeare brings to the fore the power of rhetoric and its magical influence in formulating the perceptions and views of the plebeians.

Full Text: PDF      DOI: 10.15640/ijll.v8n1a4