Roman Values In William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar

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In William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, great emphasis is placed on what it means to be a good Roman. Honour, honesty, service, and dignity were among the qualities considered virtuous and which contributed to a sense of Roman duty. Along with the virtues, Shakespeare also seems to examine the nature of philosophical Stoicism. The treatment of constancy and Stoicism has many thematic and moral implications in Julius Caesar. In analysing Brutus’ supposedly noble character, Shakespeare calls into question Stoicism’s place as a guide for human conduct. Roman values and their importance to the state play a central role in Julius Caesar. These values are portrayed as integral to the success of Rome, because the majority of these virtues act in favour of the state. Each person in Roman society has their own role which is part of a more important collective whole. Characters in the play seem to identify more with being a citizen or “soul of Rome” rather than a unique individual (Shakespeare, 2.1.323). The play emphasizes Rome as “an alien society” and analyses the relationship “between Rome and the Romans, who see themselves as ‘citizens,’ rather than ‘men’” (Miles, 2). Shakespeare emphasizes the importance of the state over personal thoughts or feelings: “not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more” (Shakespeare, 3.2.21-22). Each of the Roman virtues arises out of a sense of duty to put the state over the self. Following this duty evokes a necessary recognition of
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