Rome's Revenge

Julius Caesar was written by William Shakespeare in the 1600s. Shakespeare based his play of Caesar’s death on the account of Roman historian, Plutarch. The play tells the history of conspiracy and death in the Roman Empire in Caesar’s time.

This is an era in which everyone believes the omens, though sometimes misconstrued, and strong superstition runs wild. Revenge is a major theme in this tragedy. It is frequently shown indirectly because of the spiritual essence through which the play was written.Throughout Julius Caesar, revenge is carried out through death, but fails to accomplish anything. “How many times shall Caesar bleed in sport, that now on Pompey’s basis lies along no worthier than the dust” (3.

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1.125-17). Pompey’s murder was avenged through the work and spirit of the conspirators. Their murder of Caesar was played off as ‘for the good of Rome’ however, this was just a mask for their vengeful intentions. They were trying to kill Caesar’s spirit, but instead they simply killed his body. The only person to come to this realization is Brutus.

On more than one occasion, ‘Caesar’s spirit’ came and spoke with him. Caesarisim lived on through Octavius. It didn’t help the case when Caesar’s will left money and land to the people of Rome and won the hearts of the people that were on Brutus’ side. The Roman’s had become angry that the conspirators had killed such a great ruler. The revenge through death theme is indirect in this way because Pompey himself did not kill Caesar. The murder achieved nothing because it only angered the Roman people that Brutus was trying to win favor of to begin with.

“Tear him for his bad verses, tear him for his bad verses” (3.3.29-30). The Roman’s revenge on the conspirators was taken on the life of a poet named Cinna. He was not a conspirator himself but simply shared the same name as one. Cinna, who had absolutely nothing to do with the conspiracy, was senselessly murdered because of blood-thirsty Rome’s revenge.

The Roman citizen’s initial goal was to get revenge on the conspirators but the mob killed an innocent man out of irrational vengeance that had been exacerbated by blood-thirsty savagery. Nothing was accomplished but the murder of a harmless man. “Caesar, thou art revenged, even with the sword that kill’d thee” (5.3.47-48).

Caesar carries out his own indirect form of revenge through two different deaths. Both of these men, Cassius and Brutus, mention Caesar in their last words, proving that it is because of him that they are killing themselves. However, Brutus’ intention was to finally kill Caesar’s spirit once and for all. This attempt was deemed useless because Octavius was the spitting image of his adopted father and intended to treat Rome the same way Caesar had, politically speaking. The entire point of these vengeful death’s became null and void.

Romans 12:17 states”Never repay injury with injury. See that your conduct is honorable in the eyes of all…” and Leviticus 19:18 says”Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people…” Biblically, revenge cannot be justified. Nor can senseless murder. The avenged deaths do not help solve any situation. Even Portia’s suicide over the agony of waiting for her husband did nothing for her. It didn’t help her husband, for he ended up dead as well.

Revenge may have had the characters feeling better about themselves in the short term, but no death got them any farther concerning what they were trying to achieve. The entire play is full of miscalculations. These miscalculations lead to the unnecessary loss of life. Unfortunately, the ancient Roman’s did not see their noble suicides this way and the people being avenged were just glad to get back at the people who had wronged them. Essentially, revenge is unnecessary because all wrong doers will inevitably be punished by the hand of God.