English 1, Period 3
30 April 2013
Influence and the Influenced
Alice walker once said that “Nobody is as powerful as we make them out to be.” Leaders are only powerful if they have someone to give them power. In The Tragedy of Julius Caesar the conspirators fight for the support of the plebeians. The plebeians often change their mind in the play, changing their sides of the conflict. The plebeians are a fickle group whose support determines the outcome of the play.
The plebeians play an important role in the play even though they are only seen a few times. The conspirators need the support of the plebeians. Without their support, they are just “butchers” who killed Caesar in cold blood and not the “sacrificers” of Rome they want to be seen as (II.i.166). If it were not for the need of support, Cassius would not have recruited Brutus to join the conspiracy to gain the affection of the people through Brutus. Brutus would not have joined the conspiracy if not for the letters that he had thought were written by the plebeians but were actually forged by Cassius to manipulate him into joining. At the beginning of the play Flavius calls the plebeians “growing feathers” because of the support they give Caesar as if he were a bird (I.i.74). Though the conspirators did gain support of the plebeians, they lost it because of fickleness. The plebeians are a fickle people who change sides easily in the play, from Pompey to Caesar to the conspirators, and ultimately to Marc Antony and Octavius. The plebeians are easily influenced by the power of speech. Brutus convinced the plebeians that killing Caesar was for the good of Rome and not out of hate or jealousy. The plebeians respond with love for Brutus and the conspirators. They responded in saying that he “be crowned” (III.ii.52).It only lasts for a short time before Brutus makes the fatal mistake of letting Marc Antony speak to the plebeians. It only takes Marc Antony's words to change the...