English Mod C

Module C – Julius Caesar (Jun Gao)
A dilemma will arise when there is a collision between man’s internal perceptions and external realities causing a conflict in perspectives. William Shakespeare’s ‘Julius Caesar’ highlights the paradox between appearance and reality concerning these perceptions, which further complicate an already volatile atmosphere. Similarly, Lewis Allen’s lyrics, ‘Strange Fruit’ sung by Billie Holiday examines the subliminal yet the horrifying example of conflicting moral perspectives and its repercussions. In keeping with this theme, Alan J.Pakula’s doco-drama ‘All the President’s Men’, highlights the discordant perceptions between bureaucracy and the media surrounding the Watergate conspiracy.

Initially, ‘Julius Caesar’ presents contrasting ideologies and characters with opposing agendas and motives. Thematically, duplicity is central to the play, employed by the characters to persuade and manipulate others in an attempt to change the course of history. In Act 1 Scene 2, Cassius exploits Brutus’ desire to perceive himself as a stoic, a man with high moral principals valuing the ideals of Roman Republic. By highlighting the flaws of Caesar, Cassius attempts to coerce Brutus through flattery, appealing to his integrity ‘I know that virtue to be in you, Brutus…and honour is the subject of my story’. Cassius is therefore able to appeal to Brutus’ ego by suggesting that the ability to save the republic is in his hands alone, successfully manipulating Brutus who transforms from one with ‘no personal cause to spurn at Caesar’ to perceiving him as a destructive despot, metaphorically describing him as a ‘serpent’s egg.’ This shift in loyalty precipitates Brutus‘ downfall highlighting an ongoing internal conflict, as seen in his soliloquy ‘I have not slept…’ so concerned is he with the reality of what he is becoming; a murderer. The illusion of his virtuous idealism must be protected as Brutus continues to delude himself, ignoring reality...