William Shakespeare 's Julius Caesar

1609 Words Feb 22nd, 2016 7 Pages
The topic of leadership in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar has been discussed and argued ever since the play was written. The most prevalent discussion of leadership in the play revolves around Shakespeare’s tragic hero, Marcus Brutus, and the cause of his downfall. According to Shakespeare critic James Bundy, “Brutus... is a man whose affections sway more than his reason, in whom there is this tragic confederacy of passion and imagination against reason” (qtd. in Palmer 402). Ernest Shanzer, however, says that Brutus is “by no means devoid of political shrewdness and practical wisdom”, but he is a “bad judge of character” (Shanzer 1). Although both critics’ descriptions of Brutus have merit, Brutus’ shortcoming, as well as the success of the opposing leader, Mark Antony, is more accurately explained using the observations of Niccolo Machiavelli in The Prince. In this book Machiavelli outlines the characteristics of a successful leader. When using The Prince as a lens to read Julius Caesar, the correlation between a leader’s Machiavellianism and their success becomes very apparent. Marcus Brutus is undoubtedly an honorable and respectable man, but his morality prevents him from adhering to Machiavelli’s principles. Due to his lack of princely virtues, Brutus is doomed to fail, while Antony, a much more Machiavellian prince, successfully seizes power.
Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince is one of the most respected documents in existence regarding power, and for good…
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