Is Shakespeare’s portrayal of the common people of Rome realistic? Why did the common people of Rome kill Cinna the poet? Shakespeare’s portrayal of the common people of Rome is realistic since he shows how people act when they are part of a crowd. The image of disordered society also influences the act of Rome populace since there are no rules. Shakespeare realized that people tend to follow the crowd; therefore, he uses this point to exemplify mob mentality which is prevalent throughout the play.
In Act I, the commoners are cheering for Caesar after the defeat of Pompey, Marullus, a tribune, reminds them of how they had similarly cheered for Pompey in the same streets. The people once wait “with patient expectation, to see great Pompey pass the streets of Rome” (I.i.42-43)
This shows how the crowed seems to be easily swayed in their allegiance. This illustrates how fickle the people are and how they are able to quickly change loyalties to whoever is in power. Not much has changed in modern times. Most people still tend to follow whoever is in charge because they feel it is safer to stick with what everybody else is doing. This is an example of mob mentality. Mark Antony understands this fact about the people and uses it to his advantage when the conspirators later assassinate Caesar. The commoners’ new loyalty to Caesar is similar to the ease with which Cassius convinces Brutus (with no real evidence) that Caesar wants to be king and should therefore be murdered. This is another example of mob mentality.
In Act III, Scene II, Brutus is the first to speak to the crowd after the death of Caesar. Although Shakespeare portrays the commoners of Rome as people who can be easily persuaded, he also shows how they are reasonable. The crowd decides that they will listen to Brutus before deciding on anything. One commoner yells out, “I will hear Brutus speak. “ while another says “…When severally we hear them rendered.” Brutus then speaks to...
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