Primarily though, he looked to the works of Plutarch who wrote many accounts of ancient individuals in his (Greenblatt 193).Although Elizabethan and Jacobean societies would have been able to recognize Shakespeare’s version of Caesar, there are still aspects of the character that are at odds with the actual historical figure (Pelling 1).ulius Caesar served as Emperor of Rome until he was assassinated on 15 March, 44 BCE (“Caesar, Julius”). When Cassius and Brutus were discussing strategies, Brutus suggested that they attack now because there are at their strongest and Cassius suggested that they wait and let the enemies come to them so the enemies will be tired.
Primarily though, he looked to the works of Plutarch who wrote many accounts of ancient individuals in his (Greenblatt 193).
Caesar is noted as wearing a doublet, a type of buttoned jacket, rather than the traditional Roman toga (Shakespeare edited by Crowther 1.2.262).
Brutus and Cassius also note that the clock strikes three, even though there were no mechanical clocks at that time in history (2.1.199–200).
The story of Roman ruler Julius Caesar seems to be one such instance, where Shakespeare makes a “distinction between Caesar the man and the spirit of Caesar” (Yu 89).
This implies that Shakespeare was purposefully making changes to history in an attempt to make a point because he had a lesson to teach and he tailored the facts to his needs.
Brutus's underestimation of Antony leads to his death. Copperplate engraving by Edward Scriven from a painting by Richard Westall.
Cassius had experience as a soldier, but Brutus does not listen. The reason for this is likely due to the needs of staging since theatre often requires a continuous timeline for the audience to be able to see events unfolding in a compressed period.Another difference noted lies in anachronizations found in the play.Gerald Erickson reviews Parenti’s book on the historical Caesar and states that Caesar was “a truly legendary figure whose image in traditional history and literature diverges from the historical reality.” Based on information known about conflicts of class, assumptions are made concerning how Caesar may have conducted himself in trying to govern the Roman people.Shakespeare offers the perspective of the governed individuals, by showing Brutus and Cassius as trying to free Rome from potential tyranny.Through the plot and the actions of the characters, the reader is able to see how the political sphere seems to have its own morals, or lack thereof, which often conflict with one’s innate sense of right or wrong.Through Brutus especially, the audience understands Shakespeare’s assertion that power people of England had already heard stories of the classical ruler Caesar, so Shakespeare likely used this common knowledge as a starting point for his play.In reality, it was the conspirators who were “ambitious” rather than Caesar, evidenced by Antony at Caesar’s burial: “When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept/Ambition should be made of sterner stuff” (3.2.90–91).In Plutarch’s between 15 and even though there were many prior accounts of Caesar’s rule and demise, Shakespeare’s is the only one that follows the other characters, particularly Brutus (“Shakespeare’s Plays”).Shakespeare includes Elizabethan clothing and inventions so that his audience can relate to the characters in the play.Finally, Shakespeare purposefully pulls the focus onto the emotional struggle of Brutus.