As Brutus draws his blade preparing to stab Caesar, Caesar watches him with sunken eyes as his best friend betrays him. Caesar gasps in horror as the blade begins to slash into his torso. A big idea in Williams Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar is the idea of betrayal. Manipulation, reputation, and power are all very popular themes within the two works. In both the play Julius Caesar and the movie The Ides of March, the writers address these topics and incorporate them in into the plot in their own ways. The Movie The Ides of March begins to briefly portray these big ideas and themes. The play Julius Caesar portrays these themes in a more in depth way while adding detailed dialogue to better display the big ideas.
The big idea of manipulation is displayed the strongest in both the play and the movie. The movie does the best with this subject matter. The Ides of March includes many examples of this theme. For example, Tom Duffy tries to persuade and manipulate Steven to drop out of Mike Morris’s campaign as he offers him a spot on Pullman’s campaign. Also, Steven’s friend and news reporter Ida manipulated Steven to get him to give her some campaign gossip for her news journal. Finally, Steven manipulated the governor, Mike Morris to hire him as the head campaign director and fire the current director as he had outed him for his meeting with Tom Duffy. The idea is not as detectable in the play as there is only one main example. That is when the conspirators that are plotting to kill Caesar and they persuade Brutus to join them in taking him down. They use Brutus because they know he is close to Caesar and he would be the easiest way to get to him.
The Second biggest idea is reputation. The movie also handles this topic better than the play. In the movie, Steven meets Tom Duffy at a disclosed location in efforts to hide the meeting from the press. If the press were to see him, he would be kicked off the campaign and people would think he was a traitor. Also, Molly the intern goes to Steven for help when she finds out she is pregnant. This is due to her family’s background as Catholics and they would disown her if they knew she was pregnant and or getting an abortion. Finally, when Steven blackmails the governor, the governor knows he has to kick Paul off the campaign. This is to prevent Steven from outing him for sleeping and impregnating the intern, Molly. If people found out about this incident, he would not get the majority vote nor would he become president. Like the movie, reputation is big in the play also. In the play, the idea of killing both Antony and Caesar is presented. The conspirators decide not to kill Antony due to the impression this will make on the common people. If they were to only kill Caesar for the good of Rome, they would understand. If they were to kill both Antony and Caesar, there would be too much bloodshed and the people would turn against the conspirators.
The last big idea presented in both works is power. There are great examples in both the story and the play, but as usual, the movie handles this theme the best. In both Julius Caesar and The Ides of March, the characters are all fighting for power and doing everything to get it. In the movie when Steven meets with Duffy, Paul finds out and tells Ida. Ida then uses her press power to exploit Steven and get him fired off the campaign. Next, Steven uses his position in the campaign to access the funds to pay for Molly’s abortion. He knew her situation could not gain attention nor would the governor want to clean up his own mess. Finally, Steven uses the suicide note Molly wrote as leverage to blackmail the governor. The note gave Steven the power he needed to gain a top spot in the campaign. The play uses Caesar as the main example of power. The conspirators take him down because the fear him gaining power. If he gained absolute power, Rome would turn into a dictatorship and the common people would be slaves under Caesar. The conspirators turn towards Brutus to get to Caesar knowing he had enough power and personal connection with him. Finally, the conspirators rise up against Caesar with their combined power and they assassinate him. This just shows the extent that they would go to prevent and gain power.
The movie and the book both portray these themes in their own ways. The movie has a more brief and implied way of explaining these points. Like every other movie, there was a lot of drama and scandalous events taking place. The play, since it is written, had a more in depth way of including the themes but there were only a few examples. The movie was more enjoyable and had more examples of the three big ideas. Overall, the movie did a better job at including manipulation, reputation, and power.