Julius Caesar Act I Scene I

William Shakespeare’s play, “Julius Caesar”, a play set in ancient Rome about the exploit of the protagonist, Caesar, King of the Roman empire. In Act I, the play opens on the 15th of February, the day for the Feast of Lupercal. It was a holiday to celebrate Caesar’s victory over Pompey. In Act I Scene I, we are introduced to a discussion between Marullus and Flavius and two other commoners. From the conversation, one can deduce that Marullus and Flavius were government officials but they were in Pompey’s side. In the dialogue, Marullus and Flavius were out rightly scolding the two commoners for idolizing Caesar and hinted of the fact that Caesar was becoming to powerful and must be restrained.

 In Act I Scene I, Shakespeare made use of several literary devices to paint the picture as he wants us to see it. In this essay, I will attempt to list the literary devices used and their significance in the scene and play generally.

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The first literary device that is visible in this scene is the use of repetition. This literary device was used to stress important statements in the dialogue and to create a sort of tense atmosphere in the dialogue generally. We see this literary device being used mainly by Marullus in his dialogue. For example in his dialogue he said “And do you now put on your best attire? And do you now cull out a holiday? And do you now strew flowers in his way”. Apart from this, we can se the use of rhetorical questions. In the opening lines, we see Fravius asking a rhetorical question; “is this a holiday?” And we see this literary device used by Marullus I the latter part of the play. This was made to bring a rather satirical effect to the dialogue.

In addition to the above, there is the use of consonance and alliteration as seen in the statements; “I meddle with no tradesman’s matters, nor women’s matters”, “tongue-tied”, “Go, go, good”, “That Timber trembled”. Consonance and alliteration are used as a tool to maintain a literary flow in the dialogue. Furthermore, one can notice the use of metaphorical expressions in the scene.  This is depicted in “You blocks, you stones you worse than senseless things!”, “O you hard hearts, you cruel men of Rome”. In the latter part of the play, Marullus also made used anaphora as seen in

“And do you now put on your best attire? And do you now cull out a holiday? And do you now strew flowers in his way”. This device was used to show the indignation of Marullus as regards the holiday that was given. We can also see the use of irony as seen in the statement, “Truly, sir, in respect of a fine workman, I am but, as you would say, a cobbler” and pun as seen in the expression “bad soles”

Summarily, the literary devices used in Act I Scene I was used to introduce the reader to the idea and the atmosphere of the occurrences and the outlook that each of the people involved in the play had towards it.

Reference:

“Julius Caesar Summary” Retrieved from  http://absoluteshakespeare.com/guides/caesar/summary/julius_caesar_summary.htm August 16, 2008
http://members.tripod.com/~lklivingston/caesar/act1.html

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