Revenge in Julius Caesar

Revenge. Revenge causes one to act blindly without reason. It is based on the principle of an eye for an eye, however this principle is not always a justified one to follow. In Julius Caesar, Antony seeks to avenge the death of Caesar. Antony acts on emotion which leads to the demise of Brutus, who is a noble man that does not deserve to be killed. Revenge is a central theme within Julius Caesar. This is demonstrated through Antony’s desire to avenge Caesar’s death, and also the return of Julius Caesar’s ghost. Revenge is again exemplified through the violent course of action, which is taken by the Plebeians in an attempt to seek justice for the assassination of their Roman superior.

The theme of revenge is evident when Antony demonstrates a desire to avenge Caesar’s death. After Caesar’s death, Antony swears to take revenge on those who murdered Caesar,

And Caesar’s spirit, ranging for revenge,

With ate by his side come hot from hell,

Shall in these confines with a monarch’s voice

Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war,

That this foul deed shall smell above the earth

With carrion men, groaning for burial. (Act 3, SC.1, 270-275)

This speech is very graphic in nature. Antony describes the upcoming battle as "the dogs of war". Dogs are often depicted in a violent way, which shows that Antony would like to take revenge in a similar violent manner as well. He uses words such as "havoc and "hell". This causes the speech to be dramatic and harsh which demonstrates his rage for revenge. Due to the theme of revenge, he desires to avenge Caesar\'s death, and this leads to the murder of the conspirators.

Revenge is also apparent when Antony organizes an army to defeat the conspirators and brings them to justice. Since revenge is a central theme, Antony uses much effort into organizing the army which will defeat Brutus. He must not only act in front of Brutus so that Brutus will let him make his oration at Caesar’s funeral, but he also has to use much effort into composing his oration. When discussing which one of the conspirators should die, Antony suggests that his own brother Publius should also die,

These many then shall die; their names are porick’d.

Your brother too much die;

He shall not live... (Act 4, SC.1, 1-6)

Due to Antony’s agreement upon his brothers’ punishment, it is again evident that revenge is a central theme within the play. His rage for Caesar’s death is so great that he takes no mercy on the conspirators, even if one of them happens to be his brother. However, not only does Antony desire to avenge Caesar’s death, but Caesar himself is also desperate for revenge.

The return of Caesar’s ghost is yet another event in the play that demonstrates revenge. Caesar’s desire to take revenge upon Brutus is shown when his ghost describes Brutus as "Thy evil spirit, Brutus." (Act 4, Sc.3, 281). His sense of revenge is the reason for his ghost’s return and its encounter with Brutus,

How ill this taper burns! Ha! Who comes here?

I think it is the weakness of mine eyes

That shapes this monstrous apparition.

It comes upon me. Art thou any thing?

Art thou some god, some angel, or some devil,

That mak’st my blood cold, and my hair to stare?

Speak to me what thou art. (Act 4, SC.3, 274-280)

As a result of revenge, he returns in the form of a ghost and foreshadows the inevitable price Brutus must pay for his actions, which is death. It is Caesar’s deep motive for revenge that keeps his own ghost from rest, and Caesar’s ghost will not do so until his death is avenged.

Caesar’s ghost symbolizes Brutus’ inner belief that his end is near; meaning vengeance will take its course. Hence, Caesar’s ghost acts as a symbol of revenge. Brutus is so filled with guilt that the mere site of Caesar’s ghost overwhelms him with a sense of foreshadowing and death. This fear is revenge by itself. This is clearly shown when Brutus admits to Volumnius that he predicts his death is coming because of the encounter he has with Caesar’s ghost,

Why, this, Volumnius:

The ghost of Caesar hath appear’d to me

Two several times by night: at Sardis once,

And this last night, here in Philippi fields.

I know my