Julius Caesar Contrasts Between Brutus and Cassius

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 340
  • Published : April 18, 2010
Open Document
Text Preview
Julius Caesar is set in 44 BC were Rome was a republic. Roman influence had spread beyond Italy and through the Mediterranean and some of North Africa and also parts of Germany, Belgium and Britain. A senate governed Rome. The main objective of all this meant that not one person was solely in charge and had absolute power and were king like. Marcus Brutus is the most complex character in this play. Brutus is one of the men who assassinate Caesar in the senate. Brutus is complex, because he does not just kill Caesar for greed, envy or to protect his social position like so many of the other conspirators. This Brutus makes very clear in his speech in act III, scene II (lines 12-76), where he explains his actions as being only for the good of Rome. Unlike the other conspirators, Brutus is in fact a dear friend of Caesar’s but kills his ally not for who he is, but what he could become. It is for this reason that when Brutus commits suicide in Act V, Mark Antony describes his bitter enemy by saying “This was the noblest roman of them all”, (Act V, Scene V, line 68), Mark Antony recognising with these words that Brutus acted from a sense of public duty, not out of cruelty. However, it is hard to ignore the fact that Brutus has one main weakness which is his pride. Furthermore, he has to appear noble to himself and everyone around him. So one of Brutus’s motives is a sense of ancestral pride. He has to live up to the standard his ancestors had set and cannot belittle them in anyway. This is one of his main weaknesses in this play because his ancestor Brutus overthrew the last king Tarquin in 509 BC and so founded the roman republic. Cassius is a very devious and sly senator he is one of the original conspirators against Caesar. Like the other conspirators he fears what life under King Caesar’s rule could mean for him and the privileges he has. The plot of Julius Caesar would be strikingly relevant to the Elizabethan audience due to the recent attempted rebellion of the Earl of Essex. He was one of Queen Elizabeth’s favourites but he was plotting against her to overthrow her but he was caught. This rebellion had been foiled. For these reasons the play has been made a theoretical study about the tensions between friends who held power, and the possible effects in the plot were to succeed. When we first encounter Cassius in Act I Scene ii the audience will begin to comprehend Caesars perception of him. Furthermore, on the surface Cassius will appear as a predatorily, sly and tricky senator. It is hard to ignore the fact that in this conversation between Caesar and Mark Antony the audience will begin to learn that Caesar fears Cassius. Caesar is aware that Cassius is a threat, “He thinks too much, such men are dangerous”; this would suggest that Caesar is reluctant to the fact that Cassius is a malcontent, and if he were to fear someone it would be Cassius. Moreover, Caesar cannot tell anyone about this he has to appear invulnerable. In contrast with this, “For always I am Caesar”, he is adopting a false disguise of not caring about him as if he admits fear he’ll become a target and may become subject to attacks. Also not be seen as this August ruler and cannot let Cassius belittle him. Also “He hears no music”, in Elizabethan times music was associated closely with harmony and peace. The fact he hears no music would suggest to an Elizabethan audience that Cassius is a force of evil and not at one with the world and may be seen as a pre-cursor to the following violence. Overall Caesar will suggest to the audience that Cassius is a danger, he is never happy when he knows someone around him is more powerful than him, “Such men are never at hearts ease”, and that he is very cunning and not at one with the world. In Act I Scene ii Cassius is trying to manipulate Brutus and is using a variety of techniques to influence Brutus to join this conspiracy that a group of senators have made up to abolish Caesars reign. Cassius says at the start...
tracking img