A Comparison of Winston Churchill and Julius Ceasar

Winston Churchill is one of the most well known and successful leaders of the last century. Churchill had many characteristics that helped him during his rule. Some of these include his charisma, his inspiration, and his decisive actions. These characteristics are analogous to the traits that some characters express in the play The Tragedy of Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare. These particular attributes assisted Churchill in his rise to power as well as his rule as Prime Minister.

One of the most important characteristics that Winston Churchill expressed was his charisma. Churchill’s charisma can be broken down into three elements: hard work, his understanding of military strategy, and his oratory. Churchill was very hard working, even though he was sixty-six years old when he first became Prime Minister in 1940. His time and devotion to detail left his smart, young assistants stranded for help. In the 1930s he had mastered the most elaborate military information, so he could “out-brief the government ministers he harried so mercilessly in the House of Commons” (Winston Churchill - Schama - the Churchilliad). After becoming Prime Minister, he stated that he had nothing to offer but “blood, toil, tears and sweat" (Sir Winston Churchill - The Churchill Centre). His ability to absorb and analyze was an essential skill. It showed that he always got the job done, and did it right. It also instilled respect for him among people of lower status. The second part of his charisma was his impressive understanding of military strategy. Churchill was without a doubt a better commander than a majority of the other war leaders of his time. His grasp of military strategies meant that he could speak to his generals and other officials easily and easily construct with them, at any moment of the war, a careful order of priorities. The final piece of Winston Churchill’s charisma was his great oratory skills. Many authors and inspiring individuals cite many of his speeches. Churchill could make up speeches at the spur of the moment, and it is clear that his speeches broke the crust of the British social class system and brought together citizens divided by their accent, manners, education and wealth. One of his listeners thought that "every word was like a transfusion of drops of blood” (Winston Churchill - Schama - the Churchilliad). These characteristics made many people admire Churchill, and this helped him unite his country. A character in the play The Tragedy of Julius Caesar that displays charisma is Brutus. Although Brutus was not the founder of the conspiracy, he brought a sense of nobility to it, and he made its members feel that they were doing to right thing. Even his enemy Antony admired him, and expressed this by making a comment over Brutus’ corpse:

This was the noblest Roman of them all. All the conspirators save only he did that they did in envy of great Caesar; he, only in a general honest thought and common good to all, made one of them. His life was gentle, and the elements so mixed in him that Nature might stand up and say to all the world, “This was a man!” (Shakespeare 432)

Without this characteristic, Churchill might have never united Great Britain and made it strong.

Another character trait expressed by Churchill was his inspiration. Churchill delivered many powerful speeches to win support of his country and inspire his country to prevail over Hitler. One of the most inspiring speeches of the last century was one in which Churchill made his famous quote, “Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that if the British Empire and Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour’" (Sir Winston Churchill - The Churchill Centre). Another quote that shows this trait is, “Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy” (Sir Winston Churchill - The Churchill Centre). As one reads these quotes, he or she realizes the power and inspiration instilled in them. A character in The Tragedy of Julius Caesar that shows inspiration is Cassius. Cassius tries to get Brutus to join the conspiracy, and a quote that helped inspire Brutus was:

I did hear him groan; Ay, and that tongue of his, that bade the Romans mark him and write his speeches in their books, alas, it cried, “Give me some drink, Titinius,” as a sick girl. Ye gods! It doth amaze me, a man of such a feeble temper should so get the start of the majestic world, and bear the palm alone. (Shakespeare 352)

This helped persuade Brutus to join the faction, and Churchill’s inspirational speeches helped his country prevail over Hitler. Without his inspirational utterance, Churchill might not have led Great Britain to prevail over Hitler.

A final attribute that assisted Churchill during his sovereignty of Great Britain was his decisive manner. Churchill did not tend to let matters drift. He handled situations right away as they were presented to him. When faced with the decision to invade Normandy, Churchill quickly realized that it had to be done. When he was First Lord of the Admiralty at the onset of the World War I, and plagued with naval problems, he discovered that there was an insufficient supply of fish being caught off the coast. Churchill didn’t hesitate to solve this problem, and he then delivered his famous order, “We must have a policy of utmost fish, report before midnight” (Winston Churchill - Schama - the Churchilliad). A character that displays this attribute is Brutus. When Brutus notices a weakness in Octavius’ army, he says, “Ride, ride, Messala, ride, and give these bills unto the legions on the other side. Let them set on at once; for I perceive but cold demeanor in Octavius’ wing, and sudden push gives them the overthrow, ride, ride, Messala! Let them all come down” (Shakespeare 425). Brutus saw that this had to be done, and stood behind his decision, as well as Churchill did. Without this trait, the citizens of Great Britain might not have had much confidence in Churchill.

Winston Churchill was a very successful and well liked leader. His people held great pride and confidence in his reign. This might not have been done without his attributes, such as his charisma, inspiration, and his decisive behavior. These attributes are also applicable to characters in The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, and these characters, as well as Churchill, would not have been as glorious if they did not hold charisma, inspiration, or decisive judgment.