Julius Caesar Essay: Flawed Models of Leadership

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Julius Caesar:  Flawed Models of Leadership     


Leadership is a recurrent theme in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. The play is centred on a group of men in leadership positions. The political setting and mood of Julius Caesar, lend itself well to Shakespeare's insights into the human condition. As the players' personalities develop through the course of the play, we see that his portrayal of their character-types (which still endure today) is both consistent and accurate.

            Julius Caesar has many fine examples of arrogance in leadership. We see Caesar's pretensions as quite laughable. "But I am constant as the northern star, of
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            Shakespeare has offered contrasting forms of command. Taking the 'iron in a velvet glove' approach, Brutus prefers to appeal to the dignity and liberty of the crowd. "Censure me in your wisdom, and awake your senses, that you may the better judge" demonstrates his respect for the people he represents. His idealism, courage and generosity finally lead to his downfall; as does the corruption of power in the play. The idealism that makes him so noble, is the very thing that makes him unable to relate or really know the Roman citizens.

            A leader concerned about the common good is also a vital quality. Shakespeare's Brutus in his musings about the assassination- "I know no personal cause to spurn at him, but for the general", and "A piece of work that will make sick men whole" are indicative of his great love for Rome. His moving oration at Caesar's funeral- "Had you rather Caesar were living and die all slaves, than that Caesar were dead, to live all freemen?" and "Who is here so rude that would not be a Roman? If any speak; for him have I offended. Who is here so vile that will not love his country? If any, speak; for him have I offended", reinforces this aspect of his leadership

            It is ironic, that towards the end, the absolutes that killed Caesar

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