Zach ResendesMs. RousseauELA Period F1/7/18Manipulation In the novel Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, the power of language is shown many times in many different characters.
All throughout the novel, characters manipulate and lie to each other to get the things they want. Friendships are broken and the characters’ true personalities come out after their intentions are revealed. Words are a power that can be used to manipulate people into thinking differently than they usually would or change they way they feel about something or someone. In Julius Caesar the way people talk to each other and interact change their mindsets and feeling towards others, leading them to do things they normally would not.
One of the first examples of manipulation is in the beginning of the novel when Brutus meets Cassius. Cassius does not like the fact that Caesar is going to become king and needs Brutus to help him and his friends to create a mutiny. At first Cassius is dancing around the idea of it with Brutus but Brutus does not know if he could do that to a close friend. Cassius needs Brutus to think that he is better than what he thinks of himself and requires him to believe Caesar needs to die, so he compliments Brutus and gives him reasons why he should join him.
One quote showing this is, “I know that virtue be in you, Brutus, as well as I do know your outward favor”(Julius Caesar, Act 1. Scene 2, lines 97-98). To even furthur convince Brutus of how great he was, Cassius got someone to throw letters of admiration and praise through Brutus’ house windows. Cassius is using the power of language to manipulate Brutus into thinking he is really admirable and that killing Caesar is the only way to save Rome. Another example of manipulation is when all the conspirators acted like Caesar’s friends when they were really trying to kill him. After talking Brutus up to helping them, the conspirators talk and joke with Caesar at his house, acting like they enjoy his presence. They are all manipulating him into thinking he has all the support in Rome for him to become emperor. The conspirators furthur praise Caesar manipulating him again and boosting his already large ego.
Caesar develops a false sense of security and understanding and everybody takes their turn stabbing him. People do not realize that language and words have a lot of power. Being able to talk persuasively gives a person lots of potential to act in ways not many others can. As shown by Cassius talking everyone into committing the highest level of treason.The last example of manipulation is when Antony and the conspirators are at war. People on both sides strive to show how powerful and brave they are.
On Antony’s side Octavius feels inferior to Antony leading him to try to prove himself to everyone around him. Antony is shown to be powerful and decisive. He thinks Octavius is not ready for this kind of fight and talks about him behind his back. When Antony tells Octavius to take Cassius’ army, Octavius tells Antony to switch and that he would take Brutus’ army instead. Octavius said, “I do not cross you, but I will do so”(Julius Caesar, Act 5. Scene 1, line 21). He tried to show he was strong and brave by taking the stronger army and standing up to Antony.
On the other side of the war was Brutus and Cassius in a power struggle trying to best each other. The two had already been in a disagreement and now they were trying to show how much more intelligent and able they were. Cassius said, “I am a soldier, I, older in practice, abler than yourself to make conditions”(Julius Caesar, Act 4. Scene 3, lines 32-33). They go back and forth trying to manipulate the other into thinking they are better. In conclusion, the power of language was a theme that showed up many times throughout the novel Julius Caesar. The power of language is used in many different ways and is shown differently in those examples. Words have the ability to change the way people think and act more than people realize.
Some people take advantage of that and can make almost anybody do their bidding. With the right circumstances and the right amount of persuasion, people can be talked into thinking and or doing anything.