Themes of Omens and Superstitions in Julius Caesar

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Themes of Omens and Superstitions in Julius Caesar

Investigate the themes of omens, superstitions, and fate in Shakespeare’s ‘Julius Caesar’. Discuss how these elements foreshadow events and influence characters’ actions. Explore the play’s engagement with the supernatural versus human agency, examining how characters respond to omens and what these reactions suggest about power, ambition, and destiny. On PapersOwl, there’s also a selection of free essay templates associated with Julius Caesar.

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 The Tragedy of Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare. This play has many omens and superstitions, they play a very prominent role that moves the story along drastically. Some examples of these superstitious are the Feast of Lupercal, the soothsayer, Calphurnia’s dream, and the strange occurrences described at the end of act one. The Feast of Lupercal, The Feast of Lupercal is a festival to celebrate Pan, the goddess of fertility. The superstition around this festival is that if you are infertile and someone runs by you and touches your stomach, you will become fertile.

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This is shown by Caesar getting a runner to run past his wife, Calphurnia and touch her stomach.

As Caesar was out in the town square, the soothsayer called out to Caesar saying ‘beware the Ides of March.” This had caught Caesar’s attention so he asked who said it and when the soothsayer came forward Caesar asked him to repeat what he said. This stuck with Caesar but ignoring it he continued with his business and tried to forget what he said. Although Caesar tried to forget this moment, he couldn’t. It left him on edge and fairly worried. “Beware the Ides of March” (I.ii.21)

Calphurnia, wife of Caesar, had a dream about Caesar. This dream is a representation of omen. Her dream consisted of Caesar’s statue bleeding while people who were at the feet of him were celebrating and bathing in his blood. After having this dream Calphurnia begged Caesar to stay home, she interpreted this dream as a warning…a reason to stay home. Minutes later a man named, Decius (who is one of the conspirators) appeared and told Caesar that Calphurnia had misinterpreted the dream and that is really meant that the blood coming out of Caesar’s statute was a symbol of hope and love and that the people bathing their hands in his blood was because he gives them life or a reason to live. Caesar, happy with what Decius said went out to the senate, ignoring Calphurnia’s wishes. “Calphurnia here, my wife, stays me at home. She dreamt tonight she saw my statue, Which, like a fountain with an hundred spouts, Did run pure blood, and many lusty Romans Came smiling and did bathe their hands in it. And these does she apply for warning and portents And evils imminent, and on her knee hath begged that I will stay at home today.” (II.ii.80-87)

As well as Calpurina’s dream, the soothsayer, and the Feast of Lupercal many odd things were happening in Rome at this time. Those things consisted of the stormy and terrible nights weather, men on fire but perfectly fine (not burned) skin, a lion just walking around, and a owl wide awake during the day. Because all these strange events were taking place the civilians were scared and very confused. As it turned out all of these strange events were foreshadowing what was to come on the ides of March. As stated earlier this play has many omens and superstitions, and they help move the story along by foreshadowing. They play a very prominent role that moves the story along drastically. Some examples of these superstitious and ones are the Feast is Lupercal, the soothsayer, Calpurina’s dream, and the strange occurrences described at the end of act one.

In conclusion, the importance of having omens and superstitions throughout the play, leads us with more information and telling the story with more character. It shares with the reader of the type of beliefs the Romans had back then, as long with Shakespeare.    

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Themes of Omens and Superstitions in Julius Caesar. (2021, Jun 12). Retrieved from