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How is Julius Caesar an indirect character in Shakespeare's play?

Question:

How is Julius Caesar an indirect character in Shakespeare's play?

Presidential Caesar:

In 2017, Shakespeare in the Park staged a production of Julius Caesar in which Caesar was designed to look like Donald Trump. However, Trump isn't the only president to be depicted in Julius Caesar. In 2012, a version of Julius Caesar was performed at the Guthrie Theatre in New York with Caesar designed to closely resemble President Barack Obama.

Answer and Explanation:

Indirect characterization is when an author allows a character to come through the representation of their thoughts, actions, and speech, rather than directly telling the reader or audience about a character. Julius Caesar is an interesting example of characterization because a lot of what we hear about Caesar comes from other characters in the play, so a lot of his characterization is embroiled in the myth of Julius Caesar rather than the man himself. However, when Caesar is indirectly characterized by Shakespeare, he seems to have drunk the kool-aid on his own mythology. An excellent example of this is when Caesar says " I am constant as the northern star,

Of whose true-fix'd and resting quality

There is no fellow in the firmament.

The skies are painted with unnumber'd sparks,

They are all fire and every one doth shine,

But there's but one in all doth hold his place:

So in the world; 'tis furnish'd well with men,

And men are flesh and blood, and apprehensive;

Yet in the number I do know but one

That unassailable holds on his rank,

Unshaked of motion: and that I am he."

In essence, Caesar is elevating himself over everyone in the room by saying that he is the northern star. That literally makes Caesar the most important person in the room, and the only point people should use for guidance. Caesar himself says this, and Shakespeare doesn't have a narrator to comment on the speech, so readers/viewers are forced to come to their own conclusions about Caesar as a person based on his speech.


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