Julius Caesar - Definition of Honour

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Julius Caesar Essay
By: Nichelle Benny Gerard

In William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, the virtue of honor can be interpreted in many ways. The protagonist of the play, Marcus Brutus supports this thought shown through his idealistic view of the world and by showing his patriotism towards Rome. Mark Antony perfectly fits the description of an honorable man as he remains loyal to Caesar and avenges the death of his friend. Cassius, on the other hand, is seen as a character who lacks integrity and honor for his actions are accomplished through his personal beliefs and out of jealousy, ignoring the general good. Marcus Brutus, Mark Antony, and Cassius are significant characters that are portrayed in this play to show how their different definitions of honor can change their behavior and influence some momentous decisions.

Love of country, of liberty, and of honor is Brutus’ guiding principles as this character treasures his country above all else. Brutus maintains integrity at all times and it is because of this quality that he is respected by all of Rome. The name of being an honorable man means so much to Brutus that he claims that if he was faced with a situation where he had to decide between honor and his death, he would choose honor because he loves the name of honor more than he fears death. “If it aught toward the general good, set honor in one eye and death i’ th’ other, an I will look on both indifferently.” (II.ii.23-24) Brutus is willing to die if his death was necessary for the general good or if the people wanted him to die. As the play progresses, Brutus is faced with a decision between his friend, Caesar and the Roman citizens. Since Brutus valued this virtue of honor, he chose his country over his friendship and this reveals him to be patriotic and noble. Brutus states, “It must be by his death; and, for my part, I know no personal cause to spurn at him.” (II.i.10-12) This shows Brutus’ innocence as he knows he has made a big decision...
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