Truth in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar

Topics: Julius Caesar, Roman Republic, Truth Pages: 8 (2900 words) Published: March 19, 2013
Research Paper




Albert Camus said “Truth, like light, blinds”. This similie, used in The Fall is meant to reveal the ambiguity of this notion. Truth is a concept that obviously defines the quality of being true as opposed to false. It is like rooted in every human being, as an ultimate goal, nearly as powerful as any belief because it requires faith as well. Also, it is well-known that one of the main philosophical representations of truth is a blinding sun. In Julius Caesar, a tragedy written by Shakespeare in 1599, there is something worth saying about the opposition between light and darkness as suggestive of the opposition between truth and lie in the play.

Julius Caesar is based on the story of the famous emperor’s assassination but William Shakespeare heightens the conspiracy which led to his death and threw light on the use of truth to reach one’s goal. As in a bipolar world made of good and evil, light and darkness, there is a duality between truth and lie in the play. How this dualism applies to Shakespeare’s work?

In the first place, it is important to keep in mind that truth is an abstract concept, meant to disqualify lie and liars by approving or not a statement. But truth is also linked to reality in the sense of it is a conformity to a fact in which one should trust, it has to be seen to be believed. Finally, it is important to dicover the “true truth” about fact and fiction, between history and the story.

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To begin with the analysis of truth in Julius Caesar, it is absolutly important to define what the meaning of this term is. Truth is the conformity between what it is said and the reality of things. It is a statement proven to be or accepted as true.[1] It is obvious that in a story of a murder plot, truth will be used in a misapproporiate way. Julius Caesar, the eponymous emperor of Roma and Shakespeare’s play, embodies power and strength, two caracteristics which have always been coveted and source of jalousy. That is the reason why the protagonists of the play are fighting for. Cassius is a relative of Julius Caesar who is looking forward his own personal goal, which is to take the emperor’s place and being the new ruling figure of Roma. In order to make sure his plan is going to work, he asks several conspirators to join him in his task. But the most important protagonist is Brutus, A supporter of the republic who loves Caesar as a friend, he opposes the ascension of any single man to the position of dictator, and he fears that Caesar aspires to such power. Brutus’s inflexible sense of honor makes it easy for Caesar’s enemies to manipulate him into believing that Caesar must die in order to preserve the republic. While the other conspirators act out of envy and rivalry, only Brutus truly believes that Caesar’s death will benefit Roma. Cassius knows Brutus’s noble nature and he wants to corrupt it by any means. He asks rhetorically “for who so firm that cannot be seduced” (I,2,306), which sets off his evil intentions. Indeed, in order to convince such a honorable man, Cassius has no other choice than to trick him by sending him fake letters supposed to be written by Roman citizens and which claims support to Brutus out of fear that Caesar becomes a tyrant. Here, Cassius clearly changed the truth at his own advantage. Is it nonetheless a lie? However, the conversion of Brutus is the key to plot Caesar’s murder, and his participation is not complicated to obtain.Cassius claims that Brutus has already come three-quarters of the way toward turning against the emperor, and he hopes the fake letters will bring worthiness to the conspirators’ shemes. In short, here the reader can notice that there are two kinds of actors in this play, the ones who do lie and the ones who are lied. Truth represents order while chaos is embodied...
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