The Tragedy of Julius Caesar

Original title The Tragedy of Julius Caesar
Author William Shakespeare


Language English
Published 1599
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Fate controls one’s life – at least it’s supposed to. Fate is the will or principle or determining cause by which things in general are believed to come to be as they are or events to happen as they do. Fate affects those whose hands it lies in. In, The Tragedy of Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare fate is shown throughout the story. Caesar ignores warnings from others and ends up in an unfortunate downfall. Insignificant events and choices one makes throughout their life impacts the outcome of their future. Every decision action and choice effects our future. One’s future is based off of how we act in the present. This concept is discussed when Cassius is trying to persuade Brutus to join the conspirators.

Brutus cannot make a decision because he is an honorable man who is friends with both Cassius and Julius Caesar. Cassius then tells Brutus, “Men at some time are masters of their fates; the fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.” (1. 2. 140). Cassius is explaining the idea that Brutus has the option to take his destiny into his own hands and that it would be his fault if they let Caesar rule into power. Some would argue that Caesar was destined to die. Caesar could have prevented his death if he was more aware of his surroundings. He controlled his destiny by ignoring warnings that were meant to protect him. During the parade for Caesar a soothsayer stopped him and yelled, “Beware the Ides of March!” (1. 2. 17). At this time, Caesar was unsure of what the Ides of March meant so he ignored it. The Ides of March in the ancient Roman calendar is on March 15th. It is notable for the Romans as a deadline for settling debts. Caesar’s decision to ignore him would greatly affect him in the future.

Fate is seen in many ways. In this play, one’s fate is greatly revealed through a dream. Calpurnia wakes up from a horrid dream. Calpurnia dreamt of Caesar going to the Senate, which he was to do that same day. She saw a statue of Caesar with blood spewing out of it, with many Roman’s smiling and bathing their hands in his blood. Calpurnia has seen omens like this before which portrayed evil, yet Calpurnia had a stronger feeling. She said to her husband, “Caesar I never stood on such ceremonies, yet now they fright me.” (2. 2. 13-14). Caesar became frightened as well and wondered what the dream meant. He refrained from going to the Senate for the fear of death, this was the right choice. But he later was persuaded to go. Caesar decided to go out instead of staying in because the Roman city will think he’s weak. Caesar told Calpurnia, “How foolish do your fears seem now Calpurnia! I am ashamed I did yield to them. Give me my robe for I will go.” (2. 2. 105-107). Yet, another warning Caesar ignored.

Caesar had complete control of his fate in this instance. This choice to go to the Capitol urges him on one more step before he reached his downfall. Caesar felt pressure by the people by being the new ruler after Pompey. It seemed like all Caesar was doing was trying to please his peers. Caesar had even more pressure on his back from the citizens of Rome. Because of this, he made the choice to go to the Senate for his crowning. When Caesar arrived on the steps, a soothsayer seemed in great concern. “O, Caesar read mine first for mine’s a suit that touches Caesar nearer. Read it great Caesar.” (3.1. 6-7).”Caesar replied, “What, urge you your petitions in the street? Come to the capitol.” (3.1. 11). He ignored the soothsayer yet again because he had more important business to attend to. This is another instance where Caesar had control in his fate and took it down the wrong path. He saw himself as a King, or someone on a higher seat than everyone else. This resulted in Caesar living his life without realizing that the smallest decisions would have the greatest effect on his future.

Caesar’s fate was in his hands and he made the choice to pick his ending. Caesar controls his fate by ignoring the three most important warnings in his life. He chooses to ignore the soothsayer twice and he also chose to ignore his wife when she had the deepest concern for him. One’s life is controlled by their own actions and choices. Insignificant events and choices one makes throughout their life impacts the outcome of their future.

Destiny is governed not by the stars but one’s self. Living life by seeing what is in the “stars” rather than what is in real life is a way to not hold yourself accountable for what happens in life. Caesar lives his life trying to please others and held himself on a high pedestal by having the authority to rule over others. This resulted in his murder at the Senate on the Ides of March. Which was warned by the soothsayer and Calpurnia. Julius Caesar chose his fate, he had complete control over his destiny and future. Just like Caesar, ordinary people can be the master of their own fate, it just takes one small decision to change it all.

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