In the tragedy of Julius Caesar, Shakespeare created characters with a range of traits. The main characters each had their own strengths, weaknesses, and struggles. Brutus, Cassius, Caesar, and Antony are diverse in their leadership skills. Each one would make a different kind of ruler of Rome.
Cassius would be the worst ruler. He is more of a villain than a hero. From the beginning, Shakespeare portrays him as an envious man. Caesar notes how “lean and hungry” Cassius looks, meaning that he is not happy with his position. Because he is so hungry for power, if he were the ruler of Rome he would make decisions based more on himself than on the good of the people.
Another major flaw in Cassius is that he does not have authority. He was the leader of the conspiracy until Brutus was recruited. The conspirators trusted Brutus more than Cassius, so anonymously Brutus was in charge. Shakespeare displays Cassius’s lack of authority when Cassius makes a suggestion about the conspiracy three times, and each time Brutus turned down his suggestion. If Cassius could not control his comrades, he would not be able to control a whole city.
Cassius is dishonest and deceitful. He forged letters to Brutus to convince him of “the great opinion that Rome holds” – that they don’t want Caesar as their king. He really did not know this for a fact. In Act IV, Cassius collects money by holding people ransom and taking bribes.
But Cassius also has some qualities that would be good in a leader. He is a good judge of character. Caesar says that he “looks quite through the deeds of men”. When talking to Brutus, he knew the right words to say to get him into the conspiracy. He also was aware of the damage Antony could do by speaking to the crowd. He knew Antony’s real intentions were not what Brutus thought they were. It would be good to have a ruler who is a good judge of character because they could see when people try to deceive them.
Caesar would make a fairly good leader. Shakespeare shows Caesar to have some good qualities as well as some bad ones. He is already loved by the public and has shown them that he is loyal and honest. Caesar is humble. Although the conspirators call him “ambitious”, he refuses to take the crown. When Metellus Cimber gets on his knees before Caesar, Caesar gets angry and tells him that he doesn’t want to be treated that way. Another strong point about Caesar is that he does not make decisions based on his knowledge alone. When Caesar and Antony were talking about Cassius, Caesar got Antony’s thoughts on him, just for a second opinion. During Caesar’s funeral speech, Antony points out Caesar to be compassionate. He says “when the poor have cried Caesar hath wept”. Caesar is a leader who cares a lot about his people.
On the contrary, Shakespeare portrays Caesar to be a tyrant. He punished the tribunes just because they were talking bad about him. If Caesar had any sense of who he is, he wouldn’t have let them faze him. Caesar doesn’t know what he stands for. He rules by how he thinks the people want him to rule. He tells his wife “danger knows full well that Caesar is more dangerous than he”. He speaks in third person as if Caesar is someone else who he is not close with. This line also shows Caesar’s hubris and how aloof he is to danger. He acts as if he is some invincible superhero. Caesar seems to think that everyone likes him and no one will try to harm him. Even as he was dying he compared himself to the gods. A leader with so much pride and carelessness could be dangerous to the people.
Caesar believed Calpurnia’s dream at first and got a bit worried. Then Decius Brutus interpreted the dream as something else and Caesar forgot all about it. He also ignored the soothsayer’s prediction, and the letter from Artemidorus. He ignores all the warning signs of his death. A ruler who is superstitious but does not take the hints given to him is not a very reliable ruler.
Antony would rule a...