Julius Caesar Vs. Political Cartoon

Conflicting perspectives exist within texts and their representation is affected by the context of the composer. Using your prescribed text and a related text of your own choosing, assess the impact of this statement on a contemporary audience. Hello user coolkitty96, and the rest of HSC tutorial users who will stumble across this video, you seem to be having some trouble with Julius Caesar in Module C, are you not? Well no fear of Shakespeare, as I am here! I believe what you should first focus on is the understanding of the module, as it’s going to be the main focus; the rest should come naturally. Anyway, as you should already know, the process of composition often seeks to represent an opinion in such way that it attempts to influence the responders to agree or empathise with the composer. Now, due perspective being such a subjective topic, conflict will inevitably arise, which then creates different interpretations of the original story. The context of a composer will shape the way in which perspectives are represented within a text, blurring the fine line between truth and propaganda.

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These viewpoints can be explored in different textual representations, for example Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar, as well as a visual representation of text, such as Latuff’s political cartoon On the Gaza-Israel Conflict., Values and personal beliefs, experiences as well as influences from the society and culture of the composer are present within such texts thus remaining relevant to a more modern audience, allowing a better understanding of truth and how its perceiving is explored within the text. Okay, so the society which surrounds the composer and his personal beliefs shapes the way in which the truth is conveyed within a text. You can see this in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, which was actually written to examine issues of leadership, politics, honour and patriotism within his society. Through the manipulations of the characters dialogue, Shakespeare is able to highlight this purpose. An example of this could be the discussions between Cassius and Brutus in Act 1 scene 2 where Cassius begins to implant on Brutus the idea that “This man is now become a god” and must be stopped. It is impossible that the words written by Shakespeare were the ones uttered at the time of the event, especially due to the Latin to English translations, thus displaying the effect of context and purpose of a text and its effect within the actual representation.

The composer, as well as a vast majority of the Elizabethan population, was also a superstitious figure and a believer in the Great chain of being and the order it imposes. This is highlighted through the Death of Caesar within the play, and the tragedy it creates. Caesar, as head of the senate, held high amounts of power and his murder by his fellow senators who led the conspiracy plot, upset the natural balance of the order. The tension and drama created by these actions act as the catalyst for the rest of the play. The last line spoken by Caesar before his death “Then fall Caesar” is used to symbolise the impeding downfall of the Roman Empire due to the importance of Caesar at the time. The line also presents to the audience a humble and resigned ruler, whom accepted the people’s choice of his death for the benefit of Rome, a contrasting truth to what Cassius had originally propagated of a God-like Caesar who would never refuse his power. This allows the audience of the time a simple understanding of a similar political situation to their own, highlighting the vulnerability of an unstable government.

The political situations and references found within the text allow it to remain pertinent to a more modern audience, educating them on the social and moral perspectives held during the composer’s life. As well as that, the experiences of a composer allow the exploration of a topic and perspectives discussed within a text, dictating the way it is represented. Now, Shakespeare was a famous playwright of the time and it seemed logical for him to express his ideologies through his popular plays to comment on his society. Shakespeare was able to use scenes such as the Brutus vs. Antony orations to stress the conflicting ideals between truth and propaganda, as well as their effects on society. Shakespeare captures Brutus’s honesty when he states “I honour him; but as he was ambitious, I slew him” through his use of prose within the speech. Prose reveals to the audience of plebeians Brutus’ rational and logical thinking behind assassinating Caesar, to which he emphasised “not that I loved Caesar less, but I loved Rome more.” The way in which Brutus excuses his actions appears to be beneficiary to the population instead for his selfish purposes, as well as depicting Caesar as a negative influence to the Roman Empire.

This is soon contradicted by Antony’s oration which was written in blank verse. The speech mocks as well as contrasts Brutus’ intentions implicitly though the repetition of “But Brutus is an honourable man” which follows conflicting contradictory statements. This depicts Antony’s oration skills as both more superior and authentic to Brutus’s speech as it exposes the contrast between higher and lower order rhetoric. Brutus’s and Antony’s orations, create a powerful scene which can be linked to the easily influenced society the modern audience lives in, highlighting the impacts of how the truth is presented and how it is perceived. These concepts revolving around the impact of the context of a composer on his creations is not just limited to literary texts, it is also applicable to visual texts, such as the political cartoons created by Latuff in response to the Gaza-Israel Conflict.

Carlos Latuff began satirically cartooning this issue after his visit to the Gaza strip in the 1990’s. He is of Mexican descent; therefore his background doesn’t affect his views as much as if he was Israeli or Palestinian, though his perception of what is true and what is right drive his work. Through the picture “Israeli side vs. Palestinian Side” (2009) his focus on anti-capitalism, anti-globalisation and anti-US military intervention is highlighted. This representation is heavily critical on Israel, who is associated with all of that, as it depicts a “spot the difference” situation; by displaying two similar cartoons in essence, which then have been altered to depict Latuff’s perspective on the events. On the left side, the Israeli perspective on the war, according to the composer, is shown with a small bomb, appearing to be faulty, landing in the street, surrounded by a shocked crowd with no apparent visible damage. On the right side, labelled “Palestinian side” a distressing scene is depicted with crumbling buildings, fire, blood and death present within the visual. The way in which the cartoon is composed suggests to the audience an exaggeration of the situation, a common form within political cartoons.

Having said that, it is evident that the Israeli’s are advantaged financially in this situation. By posting this on the internet Latuff has rendered this piece available to all audiences, impacting the viewer’s opinion on the conflict upon finding it, demanding action though the use of this distressing and contrasting image. So to sum this all up, the representation of a text is affected by the composer’s context and the way in which they choose to portray a particular perspective. The society, values and personal beliefs as well as the experiences of a composer impact the representation of a text as seen in Shakespeare’s play “Julius Caesar” and Latuff’s “Israeli vs. Palestinian Side” cartoon. Not only are they relevant to the audience which the text was originally composed for, but the interpretation of the message allows it to remain pertinent to modern audiences due to the messages and insights into the composers contexts found within. That wasn’t too hard was it? Now, remember to comment, like and subscribe below, and my email is in the description box if you require any further clarification. Oh, and good luck with your HSC!

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