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Julius Caesar Essay: Loyalty And Chaos

1158 words - 5 pages

Julius Caesar:  Loyalty and Chaos          


     In the play, Julius Caesar, Shakespeare suggests that a society without loyalty will inevitably find itself in chaos. Loyalty and similar traits of love and faithfulness arguably form the framework of societies present and past. Negative forces such as ego, greed and the quest for power continually attack this framework. Julius Caesar illustrates the rapid decay of a Roman society's law and harmony, until it finds itself in the chaos of civil war before concluding in an uneasy order. The absence of loyalty in a society does not necessarily constitute ...view middle of the document...

Antony himself predicts that "Domestic fury and fierce civil strife shall cumber all the parts of Italy". Later, in his funeral oration, he refers to the unravelling of their society, saying "Then I, and you, and all of us fell down, whilst bloody treason flourish'd over us". His fiery speech fuels the general mayhem of the mob which start running wild- "Burn! Fire! Kill! Slay! Let not a traitor live!". Their loyalties have swung from Caesar, to Brutus and finally back to "Most noble Caesar! We'll revenge his death". They are on a rampage of destruction- "With the brands fire the traitors' house"... "Pluck down forms, windows, anything".         We see uncontrolled lawlessness when the mob randomly and senselessly kill Cinna the poet- "I am not Cinna the conspirator." "It is no matter, his name's Cinna; pluck but his name out of his heart, and turn him going." This supports the idea that violence is probable when there is political disturbance and instability.

            The society portrayed in Julius Caesar is for the most part chaotic, but it is debatable whether it is so for the lack of loyalty. There are strong examples of loyalty within other relationships in the play. Brutus' loyalty to the political state and his ideals brought about his downfall: he was "a man who tried to divorce his political thinking and his political action from what he knew, and what he was, as a full human person". In his funeral oration he justifies his part in the conspiracy- "Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more". In the closing scene of the play, Antony confirms that the conspirators "Did that they did in envy of great Caesar; He only, in a general honest thought and common good to all, made one of them."

            Brutus' and Cassius' loyalty to each other is evident in their tender reconciliation in Brutus' tent at Sardis. Looking upon Cassius' body he grieves that "Friends, I owe moe tears to this dead man than you shall see me pay" and promises "I shall find time, Cassius, I shall find time". One of the strongest bonds of loyalty is between servant and master. All of the principal servants we meet in Julius Caesar go beyond the call of...

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