Conflicting Perspectives - Bias and Self Interest

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Conflicting perspectives – bias and self interest
"More than anything, conflicting perspectives are the result of bias and self-interest"

When it comes to literature, conflicting perspectives are often woven artfully through the fabric of the text. The Shakespearean tragedy ‘Julius Caesar’ and Rob Sitch’s film ‘The Castle’ are two such pieces of literature that examine a range of conflicting perspectives. Humans are innately biased and self-interested, and it is our inability to separate a situation from bias and self-interest that often results in conflicting perspectives. Both composers explore this concept through the use of a variety of poetic, dramatic and cinematic devices.

In the funeral orations in Julius Caesar it is evident that the perspective of Brutus on Caesar and his death are driven by his bias. Brutus’ avid patriotism results in his bias against Caesar, and consequently he puts the good of Rome before his loyalty to Caesar. This bias is represented effectively through the use of antithesis – “Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more”. Brutus believed that Caesar had a fatal flaw that put his beloved country in great jeopardy – ambition. This is represented through “As Caesar loved me, I weep for him…but as he was ambitious, I slew him” (Act3 Sc2). The use of parallelism unfortunately highlights this bias and exposes the flaws in Brutus’ reasoning as it contrasts three great attributes (love, valour, fortune) with only one supposed flaw. It is Brutus’ innate bias that leads him to believe that one flaw justifies the death of a great ruler.

In the funeral orations, Antony’s perspective of Caesar and his death are seated in direct conflict with Brutus’, as each tries to convince the mob that their own perspective is right. Although, unlike Brutus, Antony believes the murder to be cruel and unjust, he appeals to the crowd out of self-interest as he wishes to avenge Caesar’s death by inciting a civil war. In order to do so...
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