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The Person of Gaius Caligula: A Study of the Man, and An Attempt to Discern Fact from Fiction

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  1. Introduction
  2. Preface of the book
  3. Caligula's methods and the ideas and motives behind them
  4. Caligula's claims of divinity
  5. Act II of the play
  6. Literary representation of Caligula
  7. Bibliography

The historical figure of Gaius Caligula is one that has been mythologized, vilified, and misconstrued over the course of time. At this point in time, thousands of years after his historical reign over Rome, it is hard to tell what is fact and what is fiction regarding his life and his actions. Albert Camus' presentation of the young ruler in the 1938 play Caligula brings up many questions that must be answered before it is able to truly understand the historical character of Caligula. Unfortunately, little is known of his true character, and much of the information we do know balances on the thin line between fact and fiction.

[...] Caligula then goes on to explain, in detail, the logic behind his assumptions, condemns Mereia for the second crime, that of ?thwart[ing his] and hands the old man a phial of poison, for him to nobly, a rebel's death? (32). Upon Mereia's death, and an inspection of the flask that he had been drinking from at the beginning of the argument, Caligula finds that it was only an asthma remedy. His response, matter. It all comes to the same thing in the (33). [...]

[...] In the end, his feelings are entirely correct, as all of the men who claim to stand by his side develop and carry through a plot to take his life. Granted, it is arguably his own actions that brought about that plot. When you look at the four years of Caligula's reign, it is hard to distinguish between logic and insanity because, often, the line blurs beyond distinction. His main idealism centers around the idea that most, if not all, of humanity is based on fallacy. [...]

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