William Shakespeare’s “The Tragedy of Julius Caesar” is about betrayal. In Maurice Charney’s article “Shakespeare’s Use of Blood Imagery in the Play”, Charney takes an in depth look at the different representations of blood according to the conspirators and the supporters of Caesar. For Brutus, the head of the conspirators, blood represents sacrifice and revival; however, for Caesar’s biggest supporter, Antony, blood represents murder and vengeance. The animosity toward Caesar is first revealed in the opening scene of Shakespeare’s play. Marullus and Flavius enter town where a group of commoners are rejoicing Caesar’s triumph over Pompey. Marullus goes into a rant and says “And do you now strew flowers in his way / That comes in triumph over Pompey’s blood?” (1.1.50). Obviously he is angry because the same people, who once cheered and supported Pompey, are now celebrating his death, or blood. This is a portrayal of the commoners being easily swayed and possibly weak-minded, which benefits Brutus and Antony by allowing them to persuade the commoners to either support or disagree with the murder of Caesar. Brutus’ main conflict is within himself because he knows that Caesar’s murder is best for Rome, but he is concerned with the betrayal and feelings of guilt. According to Charney, “The tragedy of Brutus springs from his complete sincerity in preferring duty to Rome to his personal friendship with Caesar” (156). These feelings of Brutus show that he is not the biggest supporter of murders unless given good reasoning. For example; at the meeting of the conspirators, Cassius says that Antony should not outlive Caesar because he could be a cunning and dangerous schemer. In which of course Brutus replies “Our course will seem to bloody, Caius Cassius, / To cut the head off and hack the limbs, / Like wrath in death and envy afterwards; For Antony is but
a limb of Caesar” (2.1.162). It’s clear that Brutus feels no threat from Antony, which...
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