Julius Caesar: Conflicting Perspectives

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An inescapable vice of humanity is egocentric bias, as according to Ripley, ‘no one sees themselves in a bad light. This bias is conveyed to perfection through William Shakespeare, George Orwell and Pablo Picasso in Julius Caesar, Animal Farm and Guernica respectively where each protagonist presented is shown to act on behalf of their own agenda espousing the belief that their perspective is indeed the most desirable. Due to the complex nature of perspective, it is impossible to encapsulate the entire truth at once. Caesar perceives his role in public to be the “northern star” of Rome. Juxtaposed against this highhanded nature is the irony that Caesar has not fathered a child “Shake off their sterile curse,” showing a private frailty. Brutus emotively declares, “I love him well”, however his compassion is juxtaposed with the malicious metaphor “to put a sting in him” suggesting a wickedness in him. Both men however, are shown to have an overinflated sense of duty especially evidenced through the intra-conflict Brutus faces as “he is with himself at war” with the idea of murdering his long serving ally. Brutus reveals that individual’s perspectives of situations are manipulated by their own personal ideals through his justification “not that I loved Caesar less but that I loved Rome more”. Shakespeare manipulates the intrinsic virtue of duty into a vice that inspires arrogance in Caesar and malice in Brutus, clouding their judgement with personal bias. Perhaps the most prominent example of personal bias is displayed in the funeral orations, where Brutus seeks self justification in light of his participation in the slaughter of Caesar. Through his patriotic objectives “I honour him, but as he was ambitious, I slew him”, Brutus denounces Caesar’s leadership thus presenting his actions positively as he strives for personal integrity. These perspectives are refuted by Mark Antony whose views, shaped by a close relation to Caesar, are of anger as shown through the...
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