Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
The body of my paper is divided into several sections. In the first section, I will briefly discuss the existing literature on leadership and Shakespeare and my methodology in determining aspects of Romeo and Juliet and Julius Caesar that pertain to leadership. In Part II of my paper, I will provide an overview of the Elizabethan world-view and history, focusing primarily on perceptions of leadership, in order to provide a context for discussion. Part Ill will be an evaluation of Romeo and Juliet. First I will analyze the play as to how it reflects Elizabethan concerns regarding leadership. Immediately following this section I will explore what insights Romeo and Juliet offer a modem audience. In Part IV, I will give Julius Caesar a similar treatment, first examining the play in relation to Elizabethan society followed by a section considering today's interpretations of the leadership in the play. Finally, Part V will contain my concluding remarks.
In analyzing Romeo and Juliet and Julius Caesar with an understanding of the nature of Elizabethan society, it is apparent that the plays reflect the debates and questions that were being raised regarding leadership during that period. Romeo and Juliet portrays the debate between the three ideologies of Fortune, Providence, and personal choice as ordering conceptions of the universe. Depending upon the ideology, the individual in society has more or less control over events and decisions that shape his/her life, with Fortune offering the least control and personal choice offering the most control. The more control an individual has, the more power he/she has to challenge authority and act proactively, rather than reactively in situations. The ability to act proactively means that the individual can create change and shape events, thus potentially leading to the betterment of one's personal life and society. Specifically, the leader has more power to mobilize efforts towards acting proactively and creating change.
Pearce, Kelly Lynn, "Leadership in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and Julius Caesar" (1998). Honors Theses. 1257.