In Julius Caesar, Shakespeare establishes in the first scene that Caesar is a man of great power and respect, but there are some who are against him. The common people praise Caesar, even taking a day off from work to celebrate his victory. Those who are closer to Caesar, however, see him as a tyrant. They are able to persuade the common people as they play progresses, revealing how gullible they truly are. This aspect in the common people aids in the plot, leading to the play’s climax.
The first scene in the play foretells what will happen to Caesar. It introduces Caesar as a man (or more a god) who is both praised and hated. The commoners set a holiday of their own to celebrate Caesar. With Flavius and Metellus arguing with them about their praising Caesar, it is clear that there is some conflict present. This aids in foreshadowing by letting the audience realise that the play is centred around this conflict. It reveals that the conflict will be addressed, which is actually the climax of the play.
The common people are easily persuaded. Caesar was able to persuade the people towards his side for a long while. In the first scene, they are devoted to Caesar, which is obvious when they create an unofficial public holiday to celebrate his victory. Later on in the play when Caesar is killed, Brutus is able to convince the people that he did the right thing in killing Caesar. Mark Antony uses this aspect of the people to his advantage both at the games and at Caesar’s funeral. At the games, Antony offers Caesar the crown three times, which he refuses. The crowd believes that Caesar is just trying to be modest, which excites them. At Caesar’s funeral after Brutus speaks, Antony is able to persuade the crowd into believing that Brutus is wrong in killing Caesar. The way the people are easily persuaded is used as one of the main tools in the whole play.
The views of the common people in the first scene would change as the play progresses. Shakespeare, in the first scene, gives the impression that common people are loyal to Caesar. As the play progresses, however, it is evident that their loyalty to Caesar was fake, as they were easily persuaded by Brutus to think that he did the right thing in killing Caesar. The common people have no true loyalty to anyone; just to whomever they think is in power.
To conclude, the common people are easily persuaded, which is what Caesar, his conspirators and Antony use to their advantage. In the first scene, they may celebrate his victories with Caesar and create a public holiday for him, it is only temporary. They quickly remove their loyalty to him for the next person who wishes to claim the power. The common people are only tools in the art of war.
Written by: Malique Dawkins (4pool2)