Defense Mechanisms By Julius Caesar And Othello

941 Words Jul 3rd, 2015 4 Pages
Defense mechanisms, a term coined by Anna Freud and used by the world’s populace, come in numerous forms, among them: the repressed desire to punch someone in the face, projecting the anger you have for your boss out on your wife, or the never-ending denial that your husband of twenty years is homosexual. These mechanisms are used so frequently that they have a distinct presence in the literary world. Why is this important? Shakespeare, a man clearly ahead of his time, wrote about defense mechanisms centuries before the term’s existence- even coming up with a mechanism Freud never considered. Typically, Shakespearean works such as Julius Caesar and Othello are acknowledged for their tragic endings and the deception that leads the characters there; however, few acknowledge that Shakespeare incorporated defense mechanisms such as repression, denial, and projection even before Freud’s theory on such mechanisms came to fruition. Additionally, Shakespeare provides evidence of betrayal as its own definitive defense mechanism, proving that it is in fact human nature to betray others.
Julius Caesar is a story of conspiracy and betrayal that ultimately lead to the murder of Caesar. Upon returning from war, Caesar receives a warning to “Beware the ides of March” (1.2.20), an obvious foreshadowing of events to come. During this time, Brutus and Cassius confer on Caesar’s ambition to become king, despite having refused the crown three times. Cassius, Casca and Cinna, conspire to…
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