In 1599, William Shakespeare published his famous tragic play, Julius Caesar. In this tragedy, he explores the effect of power and trust across many characters, those who have it and those who are hungry for it. Several memorable lines originate in this play, offering guidance on how to go about building a network of friends and an army of enemies. Most readers are familiar with the story of vengeance and betrayal when it comes to Julius Caeser, and this is the central theme in Shakespeare’s play. How do you know when you can truly trust someone? What happens when hearsay changes someone’s mind? Who do you turn to when you’ve been betrayed by someone you thought was trustworthy. These are persistent motifs across literature for hundreds of years. As one of the original literary works focusing on it, this classic has set a high standard for using one’s words versus using your physical prowess to convince someone to do something they might not normally consider doing. There are a lot of strong images and passages to re-read in this play, each giving you different slices of life and hearty challenges to dissect. Of all Shakespeare’s plays, I’d put this one towards the top of most analyzed. It’s worth a read and teaches you a bit about history, too.
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