AP Language and Composition
3 April 2013
Julius Caesar Essay
It is often easy to view events optimistically despite their negativity. Although idealism is seen as a virtue, it can be destructive when taken to an extreme. In William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, Brutus consistently perceives the world around him as a much better place than it actually is. Because Brutus himself lives according to a strict code of honor, he is unable to see the deceit in others, which ultimately leads to his downfall.
To Brutus, honor is more than just an idealistic concept, it is a way of life. “I love the name of honor more than I fear death,” he declares (I.ii.88-890). He blindly believes that the people around him live by the same values he does. Even after he has lost everything due to the machinations of people he trusts, he asserts “I found no man but he was true to me,” (V.v.35). Since Brutus lacks the capacity for manipulation, he assumes everyone else is just as honest as he is. Therefore when the conspirators falsify letters from the populace entreating him to “Speak, strike, redress,” Brutus feels compelled for the first time to execute Caesar for the good of Rome (II.i.55). He believes that his duty to his countrymen is more important than his love for Caesar. Before Caesar’s death, Brutus had the potential to live a happy live, however once he has committed the crime, everything begins to fall to pieces. Honor causes Brutus to murder his friend, and this egregious act marks the turning point in his fortunes. However this is only one of the ways in which is own character betrays him.
Brutus’ unwavering faith in those close to him is one factor that ultimately leads to his demise. From the beginning of the play, Brutus is unsure that killing Caesar is the right thing to do. Despite Caesar’s overweening ambition, Brutus only sees the good in his friend and contemplates “I have not known when [Caesar’s] affections swayed more than his...
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