Brutus V Caesar

Topics: Roman Republic, Julius Caesar, Roman Empire Pages: 7 (3124 words) Published: January 29, 2013
How do you find Marcus Brutus and Julius Caesar compare as the main characters in Shakespeare’s play? Do you find them to be representative of good vs. evil? In the historical tragedy of Julius Caesar, there are a number of contrasting themes and characters who develop the theme of good vs. evil and perhaps are constantly changing from the protagonist to the antagonist. It is hard to distinguish who is suppose to be the savior of the Roman people and who is the hypocrite that is misleading both the audience and the other characters. For this particular question,we are asked to compare the two leading characters that essentially define the themes of the play and enhance them. Despite the constant struggle the audience faces as to whether they should support Brutus in light of the fact that he betrays his best friend and brutally murders him, we seem to find his character more likeable than Caesar’s. We soon realize that despite the obvious differences between the two characters in the initial stages of the play, many disturbing similarities begin to appear in Act 2. Julius Caesar is introduced to us first in Act 1 Scene 1 where a stark contrast is created by the Roman public and the tribunes Flavius and Marullus. The scene opens with the Romans celebrating the feast of Lupercal and the return of Caesar from Spain for which the people have decided to take a holiday and join the festivities. As a crowd of workmen are approaching Caesar’s procession they are stopped by the tribunes and are chastised for their behavior and are called, “senseless things,” as well as “cruel men of Rome”. The reason for this is soon revealed when the tribunes ask the workmen, “knew you not Pompey?” indicating that they had accepted Caesar as their new leader and were rejoicing in his return having completely forgotten their previous leader Pompey. The tribunes are the voice of loyalty that seems to have eluded the Romans which emphasizes one of Caesar’s main traits those being disloyalty and selfishness. The tribunes continue to speak of Caesar in a derogatory way by telling off the Romans further, “And do you now cull out a holiday? And do you now strew flowers in his way that comes in triumph over Pompey’s blood? Be gone!” They then continue to “disrobe images” of Caesar in protest of his having driven Pompey into exile. Later on in Act 2 we discover that Flavius and Marellus have been “put to silence” by Caesar for being traitors, which further shows us his tyranny. Therefore, the very first scene gives us an extremely distorted view of Caesar being popular amongst the Roman people purely due to their distance from the politics of the senate coupled with the tribune’s complete dislike of Caesar due to his untrustworthiness and ambitious plans for his own selfish gain. Moving to Act 1 Scene 2, the scene opens with Caesar humiliating his wife Calpurnia, by openly announcing her inability to have children, “Forget not, in your speed Antonius, to touch Calpurnia; for our elders say, the barren, touched in this holy chase, shake off their sterile curse.” During holy celebrations there was a ritual carried out by the religious elders of Rome which included touching the women of Rome with bunches of sage in order to make them more fertile so that they would bear sons. This ritual is what Caesar is talking about when he asks Antony to touch Calpurnia in order that her infertility is rectified. The audience’s response to this further enforces the idea that Caesar is clearly a ruthless and selfish man who does not care for others feelings, including his own wife’s honour! If Caesar does not hide his marital problems from the public, then this can only get worse as we continue on in observing his character. During this scene Caesar also has an encounter with the mythical soothsayer who provides a very important role in this play as he prophesizes Caesar’s assassination. The soothsayer says, “beware the ides of March,” which Caesar simply ignores by...
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