Significant Literary Techniques in Julius Caesar

Topics: Roman Republic, Mark Antony, Julius Caesar Pages: 2 (329 words) Published: May 14, 2014
What are some of the literary techniques that are significant in Julius Caesar?

So far I have these:

"These growing feathers plucked from Caesar's wing" (Shakespeare I.1.72) as a metaphor.

"Falling Sickness" (I.2.251) as a pun.

"He sees that Roman are but sheep..." (I.3.105) as a metaphor, I don't know whether or not it is an extended metaphor.

"His countenance, like richest alchemy" (I.3.159) as a simile.

"therefore think of him as a serpent's egg" (II.1.32) as a metaphor.

"That lowliness is young ambition's ladder, Whereto the climber-upward turns his face" (II.22-23).

I couldn't think of anything else.
Certainly, much of the beauty of Shakespeare's plays comes from his masterful employment of literary techniques. Here are some additional examples:

1. Perhaps the most significant figure of speech is the metaphor from Act IV, Scene 3, in which Brutus refuses to listen to the advice of Cassius to not march to Philippi, but rather let the triumvirate's troops come to them:

There is a tide in the affairs of men

Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;

Omitted all the voyage of their life

Is bound in shallows and in miseries. (4.3.217-220)

In this moment before Philippi, Brutus forgets that tides must also fall. Critic R. A. Yoder observes that the metaphor is appropriate for the play: Caesar as risen and fallen, and so, too, does Brutus, and ultimately does Antony.

That lowliness is young ambition's ladder,
Whereto the climber-upward turns his face;
But when he once attains the upmost round,
He then unto the ladder turns his back,(2.1.22-25)

2. In this passage from the soliloquy of Brutus, "ambition's ladder" is a metaphor for Caesar's desire for power which can lead to tyranny as expressed by "the ladder turns its back."

3. Further in this soliloquy, Brutus compares Caesar to "a serpent's egg" (l.32) in a simile.

Between the acting of a dreadful thing
And the first motion, all the interim is...
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