William Shakespeare’s play, The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, is mainly based on the assassination of Julius Caesar. The character who was in charge of the assassination was, ironically, Marcus Brutus, a servant and close friend to Julius Caesar. But what would cause a person to kill a close friend? After examining Brutus’ relationship with Caesar, his involvement in the conspiracy, and his importance to the plot, the truth can be revealed.
Marcus Brutus, a servant and close friend to Caesar, has a strong relationship with Caesar but a stronger relationship with Rome and its people. Brutus is very close to Caesar. In Roman times, the only way for someone to get close to a person of high rank is if he/she is close to him/her. At many points of the play, Brutus was talking and next to Caesar. Brutus also loves Caesar but fears his power. In the early acts of the play, Brutus says to Cassius, “What means this shouting? I do fear the people do choose Caesar for their king…yet I love him well.”(act 1, scene 2, ll.85-89), as he is speaking to Cassius. Brutus loves Caesar, but would not allow him to “climber-upward…He then unto the ladder turns his back…”(act 2, scene 1, ll.24,26). As the quote says, Brutus would not allow Caesar to rise to power and then turn his back onto the people of Rome. After the assassination of Julius Caesar, Brutus talks to Antony about Caesar’s death. “Our hearts you see not; they are pitiful; and pity to the general wrong of Rome…”(act 3, scene 1, ll.185-186).
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Brutus says that Antony cannot see their(members of the conspiracy) hearts, which are full of pity. Again, this shows how Brutus loved Caesar but cared for the life of Rome and its people more. This is the only reason Brutus would conspire against Caesar. For Brutus says to himself, “I know no personal cause to spurn at him…How that might change his nature…”(act 2, scene1, ll. 1,13) Caesar’s relationship with Brutus is also strong. Just allowing Brutus to speak to Caesar shows his respect for Brutus. Caesar feels that Brutus is noble to him and does the right thing regardless of personal danger. On the Ides of March, as Caesar was assassinated, Caesar’s last line is: “Et tu, Brute?–Then fall, Caesar.”(act 3, scene 1, l.85). This shows that Caesar would not die without Brutus’ stab. Caesar realizes that there must be a noble reason for this assassination if Brutus was in it. This again shows how much Caesar respects Brutus. Brutus and Caesar both respect each other, but in different ways.
Marcus Brutus had a very important role in the conspiracy against Caesar. He was the “backbone” of the plan. According to Cassius, Brutus’ main purpose in the conspiracy is for an insurance policy. The people will think since Brutus is noble to Caesar, that there is a good reason for Caesar’s assassination. Brutus will also be the leader of the conspiracy for another “insurance policy” for the assassination. Cassius is the one who declares this, “Brutus shall lead the way, and we will grace his heels with the boldest and best hearts of Rome. “(act 3, scene 1, ll.135-136). Again, if Brutus leads the way, the people will think that the death of Julius Caesar wasn’t such a bad thing. Brutus also declares to himself that his role in the conspiracy is to save Rome. He says to the people, “If then that friend demand why Brutus rose against Caesar, this is my answer: not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more.”(Act 3, scene 2,ll.21-24).
If Brutus was not in the plot of The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, the conspiracy would probably not have worked. Since Brutus “…loved Rome more.”(Act 3,scene2, ll.23-24), he decided to be a part of the conspiracy. If he hadn’t loved Rome more than Caesar, he would not have joined in the assassination of Julius Caesar. Cassius and the rest of the conspirators would probably not have continued on without Brutus because they would have no “insurance” afterwards. The people would think that there was no reason for Caesar’s death and most likely beheaded all the conspirators. Also, if Brutus was not in the play, the whole end of the play would not ever occur. Brutus would not be there to have an army or kill himself, and Cassius will already be beheaded. If Brutus was not in the play, the title would have absolutely no meaning.
Marcus Brutus was a good friend to Julius Caesar, but not good enough. He had moral values dealing with Rome and its people. Brutus’ values then made him join a conspiracy against Caesar put together by Cassius. Brutus joined this mainly because he didn’t want Caesar to turn his back on Rome so there would be a reasonable reason for killing Caesar. If Brutus wasn’t in the play, there would be no “Tragedy” in The Tragedy of Julius Caesar.
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