advertisement
advertisement

Julius Caesar is a play about loyalty and betrayal. Caesar's closest friends and allies are truly loyal. The problem is, they are loyal to Rome not Caesar. “Et tu, Brute?” (III.i.85) is a quotation widely used in Western culture to signify the utmost betrayal by a friend. In William Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar, these were Caesar’s last words as he resigned himself to his death looking upon the face of his closest friend Brutus. Caesar's closest friends and allies brutally murder him. Brutus and Cassius, truly believe if Caesar were to become the King he was acting like, it would mean the end of the Republican system of government in Rome. The men who assassinate him believe if Caesar becomes king they would no longer be his equal's. They betray Julius Caesar, but they are loyal to Rome. As William Blake says “It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend.”

Cassius organized the conspiracy to murder Caesar out of fear of losing hard-won democracy in Rome, but also to help his dear friend Brutus. Cassius resents the fact that the Roman people are starting to treat Caesar like a God. “Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world /Like a Colossus, and we petty men / Walk under his huge legs and peep about" (I.ii.136-138). Cassius believes Caesar is a tyrant and a corrupter of his dear friend. “That noble minds keep ever with their likes, For who so firm that cannot be seduced?” (I.ii.305-307). His soliloquy at the end of act one portrays his deep feelings for Brutus.“Oh, he sits high in all the people's hearts” (I.iii.160). He is really talking about himself here, and his deep feelings for Brutus. Cassius kill Julius Caesar to protect his friend Brutus from going down a dark path. Cassius betrays Brutus because he is so loyal to him. Cassius believes that Brutus should not associate with people like Caesar. He fears that Brutus has become too close to Caesar, and therefore is in danger of being corrupted and blinded to Caesar's faults. Cassius is acting nobly. Cassius had intellectual as well as personal reasons for hating Julius Caesar. “Do not presume too much upon my love. I may do that I shall be sorry for” (IV.iii.68-69). Cassius is willing to risk his own ambitions, and even his own life, to keep Brutus’s good opinion of him. Cassius says “When thou didst hate him worst, thou lovedst him better Than ever thou lovedst Cassius” (IV.ii.110). Cassius bares his soul to Brutus and expresses his deep love and his deeper jealousy of the relationship between Brutus and Caesar. Cassius understands the way the political world works and is shrewd and cunning. Cassius betrayed Caesar, but he was a true friend to Brutus and to Rome.

Cassius may have been the ringleader, but Casca, Ligarius, Metellus Cimber, Decius Brutus, and Cinna all conspire against Julius Caesar. These men are of aristocratic origin. They are afraid of the popularity Caesar is gaining with the people. They can see the end of their ancient privilege in Caesar's political reforms and conquests. They are envious of Caesar's power and prestige. Artemidorus reads a letter out loud that lists Caesar's many enemies. He says “There is but one mind in all things man, and it is bent against Caesar. If thou beest not immortal, look about you” (II.iii.5-7). On March 15, the Ides of March, Metellus Cimber gives the signal for the attack on Caesar. He was initially one of Caesar's strongest supporters and Caesar granted him governorship of two provinces. Casca was the first to stab Caesar, the others followed. Caesar initially fights back against his attackers, but when he sees his closest friend Brutus stabbing him, Caesar resigns himself to his fate. Brutus, after killing Caesar, says “Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more (III.ii.20). The attackers choose to remain after killing Caesar, making it clear that they committed this act for Rome and not for their own purposes. After the murder Brutus tells Antony to be patient while he explains “Why I, that did loved Caesar when I struck him, have thus proceeded” (III.i.186-187). Brutus sincerely felt he did the right thing for Rome.


advertisement

Brutus was Julius Caesar’s closest friend and ally. Brutus wielded the ultimate betrayal to Caesar because of his deep loyalty to Rome. The other senators, through trickery, persuaded Brutus into joining the conspiracy against Caesar. Brutus is the only major character in the play intensely committed to fashioning his behavior to fit a strict moral and ethical code. Brutus believes that the Senators have allowed a man to gain excessive power; therefore they have the responsibility to stop him. A man with Caesar's well-known ambition that can only mean assassination. That does not mean he is happy with the solution. In the end, Brutus commits suicide. Brutus decided to work against Julius Caesar after he believed Caesar wanted to be a king instead of a leader. Brutus is visited by the ghost of Caesar. "I shall see thee at Philippi," (IV.iii.287). The spirit warns him, but Brutus' courage is unshaken and he goes on. Brutus is proud of his reputation for honor and nobleness. Brutus tells Cassius “For I am armed so strong in honesty that they pass by me as the idle wind” (IV.iii.71-72). As the play ends, Antony delivers a eulogy over Brutus' body, calling him "The noblest Roman of them all." (V.iv.68). Caesar's murder has been avenged, order has been restored, and most important, the Roman Empire has been preserved.

“Then fall, Caesar”, Caesar utters after his famous line “"Et tu, Brute?" (III.i.79), and you, Brutus? Suggesting that Caesar did not want to survive such treachery, therefore becoming a hero. The nobility of Rome are responsible for the government of Rome. They have allowed a man to gain excessive power and they have the responsibility to stop him. They believe assassination is the only way to stop Caesar. Antony believed that only Brutus was acting for the general good. "This was the noblest Roman of them all" (V.v.68) Antony says in the final scene of the play. After Brutus's suicide, Antony gives Brutus's eulogy and cites Brutus's naive nature as to the reason for his nobleness. Of all the conspirators, Brutus was the only one to believe Caesar's death was for “common good to all, made one of them.” According to Antony, even in death Brutus was noble. He ran himself through with a sword rather than surrender. As Confucius said “ It is more shameful to distrust our friends than to be deceived by them.”