Essay on Archetypes in 'Julius Caesar'

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Have you ever looked at a task and just deflated because of how confusing it sounds? That was my exact initial reaction to finding out we were learning about Shakespeare. I used to get so caught up in the stereotypical view that surrounded Shakespeare claiming that he was boring and “old news”. It made me disinterested in learning about him. However, after finding out about his core values I have now grown a new perspective on the way I view him and the world. He uses universal themes of love and betrayal to connect to his audience in a way that they can relate to, as well as archetypal characters that can be found in our everyday lives. This makes the audience feel more personally connected to his plays because of the experiences in their own lives.

Shakespeare uses the elements of drama to explain the universal theme of love in his popular play “Romeo and Juliet.” This is completely relevant to us as teenagers today. Relationships are becoming such a huge part of our lives during our teen years, and these can significantly impact our mental health as they can tear us apart and let our “fatal flaws” shine through. In the story of “Romeo and Juliet”, the two lovers were unable to stay in a relationship due to classic family conflict. They later decide that life is not worth living if they are unable to be with each other. They then commit suicide. Although this is quite tragic, we can compare this to our own lives. When we are introduced to a new relationship, we can be blinded, meaning that we do not think rationally, and make mistakes. Shakespeare shows this through the Elements of Drama. An example of this is costuming. Juliet is shown in the play to be a virgin; pure and innocent. This is shown when she wears her soft-coloured long dresses. Another Element is shown through Romeo. He is completely and utterly love-sick, a hopeless romance. He is a classic archetypal character who would go to extreme lengths to make sure that he is always with his lover and it stays that way till he’s in the grave. This can be shown in our everyday lives when young people don’t think rationally about decisions that will affect the rest of our lives.

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Another example where Shakespeare uses a great use of drama elements to show the universal theme of betrayal is in the history of Julius Caesar. I felt that this play connects to young people on a more personal level because of the conflict in relationships surrounding high school. In the play, Julius is quite literally stabbed in the back by his friends for achieving power. Shakespeare helps the audience to understand how all the characters are feeling in this play through the use of soliloquies. For example, in Act 2 Scene 1 Brutus tells the audience “I know no personal cause to spurn at him”. This shows that Brutus doesn’t have a problem with Julius’ personality, however wants to kill him out of pure jealousy. An archetypal character that can be found in Julius Caesar is the character Brutus because he’s the typical character who’s out to get his successful friend. The archetypal character of Brutus is revealed through the dramatic element of hamartia where Brutus’s fatal flaw, pride, proves to be the reason he dies. At the end of the play, Brutus commits suicide because he would rather kill himself than be subject to war. We can relate to this because, in our own lives, people can become too proud of themselves to admit their wrongdoings.

Teenagers in our modern-day society shouldn’t be pushing Shakespeare away, they should be celebrating his life as an incredible and historical playwright. Shakespeare has opened up my eyes to how even though we are all unique and different from each other, we all have the same fundamental emotions that connect us as humans. Before reading Shakespeare I felt that drama was irrelevant, something that was messy. However, now I feel that Shakespeare has turned the drama into a natural human quality by using archetypal characters that I can relate to.

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Essay on Archetypes in ‘Julius Caesar’. (2024, February 28). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 20, 2024, from
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