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Elements of a shakespeariean tragedy

Elements of A Shakespeariean Tragedy

Shakespeare wrote many tragedies, which included The Tragedy of Julius

Caesar. He chose to take an important event in Roman history, the death of

Julius Caesar to write a play for the Globe Theater in 1599. The people who

lived during the Renaissance were very interested in the play and the story of

Julius Caesar's death. People's views of the play dating from 1599 to the

present may be very different and continually changing. Though the elements of

Shakespeare's tragedy Julius Caesar and other Shakespearian tragedies are all

the same. A Shakespearian tragedy is comprised of several elements; two

include a tragic hero and supernatural elements.

In a tragedy, the tragic hero is of high social position. The tragic

hero has a destructive flaw which in turn brings about his downfall. There is

much argument over who the tragic hero is in The Tragedy of Julius Caesar.

Some scholars say that the tragic hero is Julius Caesar, while others say it is

Marcus Brutus. A case can be made for both of the characters. Both Brutus and

Caesar are of high social and political status. Caesar was the dictator for

life of Rome and Brutus was an honorable Senator. Julius Caesar had two tragic

flaws. Caesar was said by Brutus to be ambitious, which led directly to his

downfall - " But as he was ambitious, I slew him." (Act 3. Scene 2. Line 28)

Caesar was also arrogant, he believed that he was too great to be harmed, Caesar

said " Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste death

but once." (Act 2. Scene 2. Lines 34-35) Brutus too, had a tragic flaw.

Brutus was an idealist, not a realist. Brutus was an optimist, he always wanted

the best for Rome. Although sometimes, Brutus couldn't see things for what they

really are. This flaw prevented him from making good decisions.

The supernatural elements present in the play all foreshadow events to

come. Three different characters show supernatural predictions. The Soothsayer

has an insight of trouble for Julius Caesar and he warns him - "Beware the Ides

of March." (Act 1. Scene 2. Line 21) On March 15, the date that Caesar was

warned of, his wife, Calphurnia had bad dreams. Calphurnia cried out in her

sleep "Help ho, they murder Caesar!" (Act 2. Scene 2. Line 3.) Calphurnia knew

that her dreams were a sign of what was to come. After Caesar's death, another

supernatural event occurred. Marc Antony and Octavius were at war with Brutus

and Cassius. Brutus was in his tent where his army was camped when the ghost of

Caesar appeared. During their encounter Brutus asked the ghost of Caesar "Why

com'st thou?" (Act 4.Scene 3.Line 326) The ghost of Caesar answered, " To tell

thee thou shalt see me at Philippi." (Act 4. Scene 3. Line 327) During the

battles there is a mistake, Pindarus, Cassius' slave, mistakes a situation.

Pindarus thinks that Titinius has been captured. Cassius, distraught over the

information, ordered his slave to kill him in return for his freedom. Titinius

found Cassius dead and killed himself. When Brutus finds both Titinius and

Cassius dead he senses the ghost of Caesar present and says "O Julius Caesar,

thou art mighty yet; Thy spirit walks abroad and turns our swords in our own

proper entrails." (Act 5.Scene 3.Lines 105-107)

Of all the elements in this Shakespearian tragedy, tragic heroes and

supernatural elements were the most predominant. Internal and external

conflicts were also major elements in this tragedy. Other readers may view the

factors of this tragedy in different ways, but all the elements of a tragedy

are present in this play.



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