Marcus Brutus: an Honorable Man?

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Marcus Brutus: An Honorable Man?
Could a murderer ever be considered “honorable”? Or would their reputation be tarnished forever by that one act? In the play Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, Marcus Brutus is considered one of the most “honorable” men in Rome. When asked by Caius Cassius to join the conspiracy to assassinate the war hero, Julius Caesar, after some deliberation, Brutus agrees. Once they murder Caesar, it causes great confusion and sadness amongst the Roman people, especially in Mark Antony, Caesar’s right hand man, who ends up causing even more chaos with his speech at Caesar’s funeral. This causes a civil war to ensue, splitting Rome in half, in which both Cassius and Brutus kill themselves. Brutus was not an honorable man because he displayed many unacceptable characteristics throughout the play.

To begin with, Brutus acted hypocritically more than once throughout the play. Brutus announces his strong feelings about the death of Cato: “By which I did blame Cato for the death / Which he did give himself; I know not how, / But I do find it cowardly and vile” (V.2.101-103). In this statement, Brutus clearly displays disapproval towards the act of suicide, yet he decides to commit suicide in the end. This shows how he chooses to kill himself, despite knowing that he believes it is not a noble way to die. In addition, he complains to Cassius about funding for their army saying: “I did send to you / For certain sums of gold, which you denied me; / For I can raise no money by vile means” (IV.3.69-71). He is angry with Cassius for not lending him money to strengthen their army, while he is also lecturing him on being dishonorable for obtaining money through illegal methods. His actions display hypocrisy because he is getting so desperate for money for their army, that he is turning to illegal methods to earn some, while simultaneously attempting to maintain his “pure” and “honorable” image. Even though Brutus was a hypocrite, his cockiness was...
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