Shakespeare wrote a large number of historical plays, most of them relating to English history. Julius Caesar is one of the great tragedies of Shakespeare, related to ancient Roman history. It depicts an important catastrophic event in Roman history—the murder of Julius Caesar—and its terrible consequences. The play is divided into five parts.
Shakespeare’s Creative Treatment of Roman History: Julius Caesar is a play dealing with certain events, which took place in ancient Rome in the years 45-42 BC. These events are concerned with some of the dynamic personalities of those times, namely, Julius Caesar, Marcus Brutus, Caius Cassius, Octavius Caesar, Mark Antony and a few others. Shakespeare has followed in his plays the historical events closely, though not precisely. As a writer of plays, Shakespeare handled historical plays and historical personalities in his own way, adapting or altering history to suit his dramatic purposes.
Even Plot-Construction: The play Julius Caesar deserves all admire as far as the construction of its plot is concerned. The construction of this play is perfectly regular and even. There is no under-plot or sub-plot and no incident at all which can be called inappropriate or extraneous. Every incident in the plot arises from, and is subordinated to, the central personality of Julius Caesar after whom the play has been named.
The Character’s depiction: This play shows Shakespeare understanding of history and high merit as an artisan.Shakespeare is unquestionably the greatest demarkator of human character, and although all the characters in this play are historical personalities, yet in portraying them Shakespeare shows his mastery of the art of portrayal.
The Problem of the Hero and the Title of the play: One paradox about this play is that, while its hero is Marcus Brutus, it has the title Julius Caesar. In this case, it is necessary to understand that Brutus is the hero because he is the most admirable person in the play. Yet the title “Julius Caesar” is quite appropriate because the play is dominated by the personality of Caesar. Caesar dominates first half of the play, and Caesar dead dominates the second half of the play.
Supernatural Elements of the Play: Supernatural elements play a very important role in Shakespeare’s drama. These supernatural incidents give rise to a feeling of fear in the minds of the characters as well as the audience. The atmosphere of horror adds interest to the play. The supernatural elements also remind us that the ancient Romans believed in superstitions.
Popularity of the Play: One reason for its popularity is the abundance in it of highly dramatic and exciting situations. The play is also rich in psychological interest. The play abound quotable lines which are easily memorized and which have their own appeal.
It is a good read to explore Shakespeare’s ways of writing to make readers excited!