Passion and Responsibility
Throughout the play "Julius Caesar," by William Shakespeare, Brutus is torn between passion and responsibility. There are three very good examples of this, the first being, obviously, Brutus' mental conflict dealing with the conspiracy surrounding Caesar's assassination. Less obvious number two, the conflict between himself and Cassius, dealing with Cassius less than noble hoarding of money. And last of all third, Brutus' argument with the rest of the conspirators to let Antony live.
The conflicts brought about in "Julius Caesar" are incredibly complex. To understand even the very basic conflict between Brutus and his thoughts surrounding Caesar's death takes a small amount of background knowledge. Know that Brutus and Caesar have been friends for a long time before this play takes place. And Brutus has a great loyalty to his mother country, Rome. The last piece of information you need to work out this whole mess, is that Brutus, with good reason, thinks that Caesar will hurt Rome if he becomes its dictator. And unless someone kills him, Caesar will become dictator. With that information, you must realize the problem presented before Brutus. Be responsible, towards the people of Rome, and assassinate Caesar, or be passionate, in accordance to his friendship with the monarch, and choose not to kill Julius. In the same way that Brutus' responsible mind make's him kill Caesar, Brutus' mind make's him argue with Cassius, because of Cassius' immorality. He chooses to argue with Cassius, instead of ignoring the situation, because the responsibility of keeping people moral outweighs the passion of keeping good relations with Cassius. In the third example of Brutus' conflict, he again chooses responsibility over passion. Brutus acts responsible by telling the other conspirators that Antony will have no power when Caesar's dead. Brutus does not take the passionate road. The road that leads to the murder of Antony, because if it is good for Rome to have Caesar killer, then killing Antony and Caesar will be twice as good for Rome.
There are some very obvious effects that this conflict has with Brutus' life. Of course this conflict makes him part of the conspiracy, because that's what this whole controversy is all about. This conflict also ultimately ended Brutus' life. As for the other obvious effects there aren't any. Look deeper and one might find that underlying motif in this work is that men are generally devious, scheming, and backstabbing. All the examples that I've brought up in some way show this. In case you didn't know, the conspirators (I'm going to use conspirators for all the men involved with Caesar's conspiracy excluding Brutus, because he was unlike the rest of the conspirators. Brutus killed Caesar because he simply thought it the right thing to do) killed Caesar for self-benefit; men are backstabbing. Cassius was taking bribes and raising money in other less than honest fashion; men are devious. The conspirators wanted to kill Antony; men are scheming. I really don't think Brutus wanted to believe this. Brutus' naïveté really made an appearance in these examples. He didn't want to believe that people were generally bad. But these experiences showed him that he was a better person than most, and that large amounts of other people are evil.
All these conflicts are very significant to the work, just based on sheer bulk alone. I must again bring up, what I think is, the underlying moral to this story; people are evil. This string of conflicts makes up this theme of "Julius Caesar." These conflicts affect the play more than, in my opinion, anything else, and underlines a topic that people don't like to bring up. Another thing that affects this play is that in all these conflicts Brutus again and again chooses responsibility over passion. Is Shakespeare trying to say that being responsible is better than being passionate? You got me, but this is affecting the play, because there is one more question that is posed to the reader of "Julius Caesar".
Brutus' inner conflict between responsibility and passion is the defining point in this work. It encompasses almost every conflict in this play. Brutus chooses responsibility over passion, because in most cases choosing to act responsibly (which I have underlined for you to state the importance of it) is far more honorable, noble, and moral than deciding to act on one's passion. And Brutus was an honorable man.