Shakespeare’s Themes: How Shakespeare Uses Themes in His Plays

July 16, 2021 by Essay Writer

William Shakespeare was an incredibly intelligent play writer; some of his greatest plays include Hamlet, King Lear, Othello, Macbeth, Julius Caesar, and Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare has given an estimated 1,700 to 3,000 words to the English language, the estimations of his vocabulary range from 17,000 to 29,000 words (Facts about William Shakespeare).

Shakespeare survived the outbreak of the bubonic plague while he was in London, the plague also came to Stratford, when Shakespeare was only 3 months old (Facts about William Shakespeare).

There are many themes in his plays that are portrayed through his characters. In the play Julius Caesar, by William Shakespeare, the themes that the author uses is contrasting worlds, the rise of one character at the expense of another, deception and disguise, disorder yielding to order, forgiveness, redemption, and conversion.

The first theme in Julius Caesar is ‘Contrasting Worlds’, this theme is shown through the two main characters, Brutus and Caesar. Some examples of how this theme is portrayed are through the differences in how Brutus and Caesar act and communicate to their respective wives. Brutus is logical in a sense that he does things like a computer, he does things in steps. When a very logical person like Brutus has a relationship with a non-very-logical person like Portia, some things don’t get communicated as well as they would in a ‘normal’ relationship. Brutus very rarely says, I love you,  this is just who he is. While Caesar has a relationship with his wife, Calphurnia, in which she is somewhat important in the decisions that Caesar makes. Just like how she told him to stay home because she had nightmares of people murdering Caesar and because of the bad omens that were happening, such as the lioness giving birth in the streets (Shakespeare 79).

Another example of this theme is how they think. Caesar considers himself highly and has effectively an unlimited supply of ego to keep his balloon nice and full at all times. While Brutus thinks of himself as a protector of the people and the democracy. Another theme in Julius Caesar is ‘Rise of one character at the expense of another’, this is represented by the controversially horrible things that the characters have done. An example of this theme is how Caesar killed Pompey. Another example of this is how Brutus is foreshadowed to kill Caesar. The third theme in Julius Caesar is ‘Deception and Disguise’. Some examples of this theme is how Cassius deceived Brutus into joining the conspiracy by using the rocks written by ‘different’ citizens. This made him feel obliged to do a service to the people. Decius deceived Caesar into coming into the Senate house by twisting the nightmare’s intent into a positive thing rather than a negative one. Caesar is deceived into listening to a fake appeal so he doesn’t realize the conspirators gathering around him.

The last two themes in Julius Caesar is ‘Disorder yielding to order’ and ‘Forgiveness, redemption, and conversion’, which is exemplified by the utter dramatic irony that pertained to the situation. Examples of these themes are when Caesar forgave Brutus for fighting with Pompey. An example of redemption is when Brutus redeemed himself by killing Caesar to maintain the democracy and to deter the monarchy. Lastly, an example of disorder leading to order is when the bad omens showed there was disorder and then the foreshadowing of Caesar’s death showed how there would be order again.

In the play of Julius Caesar, the five main themes are ultimately what Shakespeare is conveying. His excellent playwriting abilities are able to give way to the fact that he can tell any story just as effectively using various themes. He does a fantastic job of using different strategies to convey his themes to the reader, such as using the characters’ actions and the events that have happened. These were only some of the many ways that Shakespeare conveyed his themes.

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