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How does Shakespeare portray the commoners in Julius Caesar?

Question:

How does Shakespeare portray the commoners in Julius Caesar?

Lupercalia:

Lupercalia was an ancient festival that was observed in Rome from February thirteenth to February fifteenth. Therefore, the famous Ides of March is also the final day of Lupercalia, meaning Julius Caesar was stabbed to death during a festival. Lupercalia was celebrated in Rome in order to get rid of evil spirits and to purify the city.

Answer and Explanation:

Because Julius Caesar is so focused on the intimate power plays between consuls and conspirators, there is a minimum of common people in Julius Caesar and they are primarily reserved for large group scenes including the murder of Cinna the Poet, and Antony's "Friends, Romans, Countryman" speech. In these scenes, while individual common people have lines, those lines typically represent the mob mentality present in the scene. Individual wills are not important for these common characters, but rather the court of public opinion and mob mentality rules. In the case of the murder of Cinna the Poet, it is very clear that the mob understands that he is a different Cinna from the one they theoretically set out to rip to shreds, but the mob is hungry for violence and so Cinna the Poet is murdered to fulfill the desire for violence in the mob overall. Common people are largely portrayed as violent, capricious, and less capable of intelligent thought than the consuls and other higher class Romans.


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Character of Cassius in Julius Caesar: Traits & Analysis

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Chapter 3 / Lesson 13
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The Tragedy of Julius Caesar is one of Shakespeare's most popular plays. It is about the betrayal of Julius Caesar by two of his closest friends, Brutus and Cassius. Learn more about the character Cassius and test your knowledge with a quiz.


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