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Shakespeare’s play “Julius Caesar” is a tragedy that shows more about the characters

that conspire against him rather than Julius Caesar’s own point of view. Halfway through the

play, Julius Caesar is murdered by the senators who felt like he shouldn’t be crowned king. The

news of Rome’s supposed-to-be king sent the whole city in an uproar, leading to the death of all

the senators who conspired against him. One of the most notable characters in this play was

Marcus Brutus, simply known as Brutus, who loved Caesar dearly but still betrayed him in the

end by giving him last stab wound. Brutus is a very noble man who stuck to his principles which

were always for the good of Rome. This trait leads him to being perceived as naïve, evidenced

by the confidence Cassius had when he was trying to persuade Brutus into turning against Caesar.

Brutus was a man who took pride in being honorable due to his principles but was also a

man with considerably questionable decisions.

When Julius Caesar came back from his latest victory, the whole city of Rome celebrated

his return. During the celebration, Cassius expressed his dissatisfaction with the government to

Brutus and stated that he wished Brutus would see what was wrong. “Therefore, good Brutus, be

prepared to hear. And since you know you cannot see yourself so as well by reflection, I, your

glass, will modestly discover to yourself that of yourself which you yet know not of. And be not

jealous on me gentle Brutus.” (Shakespeare, 152-157) Cassius is saying that Brutus can trust him

to be his mirror in order to see things that were unseen at the moment. Brutus later on opens up

about being afraid that Julius Caesar may be crowned king, even though he thought highly of

him. “What you have said I will consider, what you have to say I will with patience hear, and

find a time both to hear and answer such high things. Till then, my noble friend, chew upon this:

Brutus had rather be a villager than to repute himself a son of Rome.” (Shakespeare, 256-262)

Brutus is now taking seriously what Cassius said to him due to his principle to do what is right
for Rome. Romans were seen as free people throughout the course of the play, Brutus did not

want to see them enslaved and blindly following one man who was named king.

A month after the celebration, there was raging storm that could have also been called a

“bad omen”. The senate was finally crowing Caesar the next day. Cassius and Cinna talk about

how Caesar is only called a king because the people where sheep. By this time the conspiracy

was already formed and they wanted Brutus to have a part in the plan since he would have a

positive impact to the people. Being the noble and honorable man that Brutus is, they believe that

the people would not look at this as a crime. Cassius believes that Brutus is just a little push

away to finally joining the conspiracy.

“It must be by his death, and for my part I know no personal cause to spurn at him but for

the general. He would be crowned. How that might change his nature, there’s the question.”

(Shakespeare, 593-596) Brutus clearly has nothing personally against Caesar; he loved Caesar

dearly and thought highly of him. He mentions that Caesar is not the type of person who makes

rash decisions due to emotions. “And therefore think him as a serpent’s egg – which, hatched,

would as his kind grow mischievous – and kill him in the shell.” (Shakespeare, 616-619) This is

one conflicting point for Brutus. He does not know what power and position would turn Caesar

into. Before Caesar could turn into something dangerous for the people of Rome, he had to stop

him. Ethically, this brings up some problematic questions since Brutus does not have concrete

evidence for the possibility of this happening. Also, if Brutus did love Caesar, why did he not

trust him enough to think that he would not abuse his power for the good of Rome?

Brutus is further proven to be an honorable man by refusing to swear an oath because he

believes that Roman men by default do not back down from their promises and oaths were for
untrustworthy, weak people. When Decius asks if they should only kill Caesar, Cassius suggests

that they kill Antony too since he is very close to Caesar. Brutus was against this idea since their

only goal was to keep Caesar from being king and murdering Antony would be too much. Brutus

tells Cassius not to worry. This is another point where Brutus’ character could be questioned.

Though it is morally correct to not involve an innocent man in this murder, he did not even

consider how Antony’s loyalty could damage their plans. Brutus has failed to see the reason for

Cassius’ concern.

After killing Julius Caesar, Brutus went out to explain what caused the actions of the

senate. “If there be any in this assembly, any dear friend of Caesar’s, to him I say that Brutus’

love to Caesar was no less than his. If then that friend demand why Brutus rose against Caesar,

this is my answer: not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more.” (Shakespeare, 1496-

1501) Emotionally, Brutus was able to move the crowd. When Antony took the stage, he turned

his back on Brutus and the others, making the crowd realize that Caesar did not deserve to die.

Ambition was the reason why the senate killed Julius Caesar but the crowd did not believe and

was not able to see why Caesar was ambitious. The main point in this event is that Brutus was

not able to defend himself from this happening since he trusted Antony too quickly and that his

ideals weren’t enough justification for the public. Even though he had a good set of principles

and morals it will never be enough since not everyone will be able to understand one’s line of


As the play progresses, Brutus continually contradicts himself by his words and actions.

Cassius and Brutus have a disagreement about money. Brutus has been requesting money from

Cassius to be able to pay his soldiers but gets mad at him when he finds out that the money was

earned from dishonorable means. Another event where Brutus contradicts himself is when he
asks help from Dardanius to commit suicide. In one part of the play, Brutus condemns suicide as

being cowardly but at the end Brutus may have seen his means of death by murder since he was

not the one who was holding the sword. “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.” (Shakespeare, 2644-2648) Antony and

Octavius still saw Brutus as an honorable man even though he made questionable decisions.

They knew Brutus only meant good since he does not kill because of envy or personal reasons

but for pure intentions.