Shakespeare's Methods of Suspense In Julius Caesar
Shakespeare used many techniques to build suspense in Julius Caesar, but the two events that moved the story the most, the siloqueys by Brutus and the other conspirators and Caesar's wife's dream, created the suspense up until Caesar's assassination. When the reader reads Brutus' siloquey, they feel on edge for the first time. This is a turning point in the story and the reader ponders if Brutus will join the conspirators. When he begins his speech with "It must be his death."(Act 2 Scene 1 Pg 49 Line 10) the reader becomes overwhelmed with shock. Since Brutus was one of the most honorable senators, the fact that he would go against his friend generates a sudden urgency in the play. After reading that Brutus deems Caesar as "a serpent's egg, which hatched would, as his kind, grow mischievous. [We] should kill him in the shell." the reader is anxious that Caesar will be killed shortly (Act 2 Scene 1 Pg 51 Lines 33-36). Since Brutus' speech occurred at his house, in private, Caesar remains totally unaware of Brutus' plan. Fortunately for Caesar, his wife has a vision of the coming day's events. Calphurnia has a dream that Caesar will be murdered the next day. During Calphurnia's dream of Caesar's death, the reader gets a feeling of the tension inside the story. Caphurina's dream, one of death and mayhem, and so vivid and graphic it causes her to scream out "Help ho, they murder Caesar!" three times. (Act 2 Scene Pg. 75 Lines 1-3) Caesar tells Decius Brutus later "She dreamt tonight that she saw my statue, which, like a fountain with a hundred spouts, did run pure blood; and many lusty Romans came smiling and did bathe their hands in it. And these does she apply for warnings and portents and evils imminent, and on her knee hath begged that I will stay at home today." (Act 2 Scene 2 Pg 81 lines 81-87) Caesar truly believes that the truth of the vision and the reader believes that he will stay at home....
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