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... [continues]
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