Conflicting Perspectives Julius Caesar

9 September 2016

Julius Caesar Personalities, events or situations often elicit conflicting perspectives. To what extent has textual form shaped your understanding of conflicting perspectives. In your response, make detailed reference to your prescribed text and one other text of your own choosing. Conflicting perspectives are often the outcome of diverse and contrasting views of ones personality, event or situation. This is evident is the play Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, as Caesar’s personality develops and the diverse perspective of his death in ensuring civil war create conflict within the play.

Raymond Briggs’ picture book The Tin-Pot Foreign General and the Old Iron Woman generates an understanding of the injustice of Falkland’s war through contrasting the perspectives of both the political leaders at the time and the Falkland Islanders. Through the use of dramatic, language and visual techniques both Shakespeare and Briggs have shown how differences in opinion can offer a understanding and ideas of certain personalities, situations or events.

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From the opening scene of Julius Caesar, Shakespeare introduces conflict.

Flavius and Murellus introduce Caesar as a contentious personality, as they rebuke the “mechanicals” who “make holidays to see Caesar” and “rejoice his triumph”. The Tribunes are unhappy with these celebrations as shown through the contrast in tone when Murellus adresses the “Mechanicals” with “You blocks, You stones, you worse than senseless things! ” demonstrating the conflicting perspectives within the social classes. The Tribunes believe that Caesar’s “growing feathers” need to be “Pluck’s” as they are concerned that with his growing power they will be kept in “servile fearfulness”.

Shakespeare conveys their anger at the fickleness of the “Mechanicals”, through the use of imperatives such as “answer me directly” and “be gone! ‘… ” as they rebuke their “ingratitude” to Pompey. This shows the dominance of the Tribunes and undermines the plebeians’ view of Caesar returning as a hero, thus positioning the reader in favour of their perspectives. These conflicting perspectives within Act 1 have offered diverse opinions on the personality of Caesar, portraying him as an ominously ambitious and controversial man, thereby framing the central onflict of the play. Both Brutus and Anthony’s funeral orations in Act III present conflicting and highly provocative perspectives about the motives for Caesar’s assassination. Brutus as a “truly noble Roman” provides the first speech at Caesar’s funeral, and attempts to win over the crowd’s support and make them understand the need for Caesars downfall. His dry rhetoric and balanced syntactical structure fails to win over the crowd when juxtaposed with Antony’s speech. Right from the opening line Brutus places Rome before its people through “Romans, countrymen and lovers! , and throughout his speech he continually reinforces his motivations as “Not that I loved Caesar less but that I loves Rome more. ” As he attempts to arouse patriotism within the audience, he is sabotaged by his own use of the syllogism “had you rather Caesar were living to die all slaves than that Caesar were dead to live all free men? ” which is strong in logos but drains the speech of pathos and thus any emotional connection with the crowd. Brutus’s use of anaphora “As Caesar loved me, I weep for him… , as he was ambitious, I slew him. ” demonstrates that Caesar’s growing power was the reason for his assassination.

However, this fails offer evidence to validate his argument. Instead he calls upon the audience to “believe me for mine honour” which further diminishes his perspective to the point where the audience is only seemingly convinced that Caesar deserved to die, leaving Mark Anthony to juxtapose the perspectives of Caesar’s personality. Antony’s speech provides a different and provocative insight completely contradicting that of Brutus. The opening asyndeton “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears” establishes an emotional connection with the audience and challenges Brutus’s view that duties to Rome should come before its people.

The emotive language “brutish”, “mutiny”, “rage”, “corpse”, “daggers”, “stabbed”, and “traitors” helps manipulate the audience into an enraged fury. Through the use of enjambment and caesura he further emphasises these words and persuasively plants mutinous ideas to “fire the traitor’s houses”. Dialogue such as “his eyes are red as fire with weeping” and personal tone “ he was my friend” contrast with Brutus’s rational address, allowing Antony to engage his audience emotionally. He diminishes Brutus’s perspective through sarcastic repetition of “yet Brutus is an honourable man” accentuating the lack of evidence provided by Brutus.

In contrast, Antony gives specific examples of Caesar’s humility; “when the poor have cried Caesar hath wept” causing the audience to identify with Caesar and call into question the logic of Brutus’s motives. The audience acknowledges the controversy of Caesar’s death has caused him to be misrepresented and that the actions of this “noble Roman” have not reflected those of an ambitious man but of a loyal man working for the good of Rome. Thus, through both Brutus’s and Antony’s speeches we have been presented with conflicting perspectives, through which Shakespeare has been able to reveal different insights into Caesar’s personality.

In The Tin-Pot Foreign General and the Old Iron Woman, Raymond Briggs makes a bold political statement about the consequences of war by presenting two conflicting perspectives on the 1982 Falklands War. Briggs’ use of satire when depicting British Prime Minister Thatcher and Argentinean General Galtieri as children squabbling over the “sad little island” which they both “bagsied” exhibits vibrant illustrations made up of bright colours, exuberant features and sharp lines which have been used to portray the two leaders as over-indulgent and impulsive.

The concealed imagery of the text “he was made of tin pots” and “she was made of iron” suggests dehumanisation and technological abuse by these cold metal giants void of compassion. Simple colourless line drawings have been used to represent the “humans” of this war and contrast with the vibrance of the previous illustrations. The use of anaphora in the text “Some men where shot. Some men were drowned. Some men were burned alive. Some men were blown to bits. highlights the extent of the human tragedy while expressing the seriousness of war compared to the powerplay of the leaders, thus expressing the conflicting perspectives of war and its worth compared to that of human tragedy. Conflicting perspectives conveyed by Briggs’ use of colour and line emphasise the diverse ideas about the Falklands War. Vivid visual contrast provokes sympathy within the reader who is taken aback by the almost pathetic appearance of the maimed soldiers against their leaders. The figurative last line “And the families of the dead tended the graves” expresses the tragedy f war is not buried with the dead but lives on within the hearts of the living. The conflicting perspectives within the picture book have demonstrated the unnecessary events of the Falklands War, which because of the greedy and reckless actions of two leaders saw many “real men” die. Thus The Tin-Pot Foreign General and the Old Iron Woman has proven how a specific event can elicit conflicting perspectives. ” Therefore, personalities, situations or events are able to elicit conflicting perspectives through their ability to provide diverse opinions and opposing arguments.

However, both Shakespeare and Briggs have demonstrated a biased perspective within the text deliberately manipulating their audience in their interpretations. Back-Up ORT In the photograph Korean War by The US Army Korea, a bold political statement is made though various visually poignant techniques that encompass the deeply conflicting perspectives that the context of the photograph involves. The image features a scene from the Korean War and the conflict involved.

The foreground image of a young Korean girl holding her brother contrasts with the harsh and demeaning image of the army tank in the background. The use of the black and white colours to contrast the idea of family and violence evokes a sense of misjudgement and wrong doing but the tank. War is seen as a way of protecting ones family and loved ones from the destruction and violence of others. This image allows us to question this as it shows children in an adult situation dealing with the violence of war, this allows us to wonder if anyone is really benefitting from the war.

Strong use of line and tone used on the tank compared to the softness of the young girl and her brother promote the relationship between war and peace. The dark colours and shades of the tank along with the sharp demeaning lines leads the audience to feel a sense of fearfulness and negativity often associated with war. The lighter shades and more natural lines of the children in the foreground show an ease within the natural environment, but when contrasted by the harsh tank this sense of comfort and peace is extinguished.

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