Renata S. Biglia
The Act of Misinterpretation
“Men may construe things after their fashion, / clean from the purpose of the things themselves” (1.3.34-35) says Cicero. People often interpret signs in a way that will benefit them, but instead of warning what might happen, the problems, the wrong interpretation can lead to bad events. In Julius Caesar, Shakespeare shows through a series of events that being careful is important. The characters’ situational misinterpretations show that by misunderstanding the signs and their warnings, chaos can happen.
Decius’ misinterpretation of Calphurnia’s dream leads to Caesar’s death because he manipulated the understanding of the dream in his favor. When Calphurnia is distress, afraid that something might happen to Caesar in response to her dream, Decius makes sure that Caesar and Calphurnia will think of the dream in a good way. He says,” This dream is all amiss interpreted. /It was a vision fair and fortunate” (2.2.89-90). Even with this presentation, Caesar’s wife is still afraid of letting him go out of home. Caesar calms her down by saying, “How foolish do your fears seem now, Calphurnia” (2.2.110)! Ignoring these various perceptions of the dream, Caesar goes to the senate with the conspirators and gets killed. The ruler wasn’t the only one that suffered, so did Cassius.
Cassius misunderstands Pindaurus’ message about Titanius causing his death because he was a good friend. Titanius is sent by Cassius to have a conversation with Mark Anthony. Narrating what is happening, Pindaurus says, “Titanius is enclosed round about/ with horseman that make to him on the spur, /yet he spurs on. Now they are almost on him. / Now Titanius! Now some light. O, he lights too. / He’s ta’en. / And hark, they shout for joy” (2.2.29-34). Misunderstanding the dialogue, Cassius thinks that Titanius is dead, when he is really reuniting with friendly forces. Cassius, cheerless because he thinks he sees his...
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