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The loyalty of brutus in william shakespeares the tragedy of julius caesar

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Is this a holiday? The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings. I come to bury C—sar, not to praise him.

The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones. This was the most unkindest cut of all His life was gentle, and the elements So mix'd in him that Nature might stand up And say to all the world, 'This was a man! This play ought to be called Brutus, since the central theme concerns that character's decision to join an assassination conspiracy and the repercussions of his action.

Julius Caesar is dispensed with by the halfway point. However, Caesar's assumption of the Roman dictatorship after the civil war fought against his former triumvirate partner Pompey and his victories in battle celebrated in the first scene of Shakespeare's play make him the most famous historical character of this period.

In the play, the republican conspirators fear he will also allow himself to be crowned king. This fear may seem strange to us, since Caesar already had supreme power, but a kingship would usher in imperial power with an hereditary leadership, as opposed to the existing system in which the nobility chose who would rule.

You can see that political terms such as "republican" had a slightly different meaning in those days. But if Brutus, Cassius and the gang killed Caesar to remove a tyrant and to preserve what they considered democracy, then why are they the bad guys in Julius Caesar? The plot of the play, like the storylines for Shakespeare's other Roman tragedies, was taken from Plutarch's Parallel Lives, written over a hundred years after the assassination, during the height of the imperial power in Rome that did indeed succeed the republic—at a time when Caesar and his heirs were greatly admired.

10 Most Famous Quotations From Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar

Also Shakespeare was writing in England during another greatly admired British monarchy, Queen Elizabeth I, whose aging was giving rise to fears about battles over succession.

Sometimes, it seems the only thing Shakespeare considered worse than a bad ruler was the killing of a bad ruler. But Brutus is not shown in as dim a light as his co-conspirators. He agonizes over the decision to murder Caesar.

Both his good intentions and his political naivety are take advantage of by Cassius who lures him into the conspiracy and later by Mark Antony, who turns the tables against Brutus and Cassius. Writing of Brutus's internal conflicts may have been practice for Shakespeare's creation of his next and greatest protagonist, the haunted Hamlet. Rather than being portrayed as a bad man, Brutus for Shakespeare is a good man who did a bad thing for good reasons.

He is moreover surrounded by characters of less honour. The conspirers Decius and Cassius are deceivers, both of others and of themselves, although Cassius becomes a more sympathetic as, in the face of impending defeat, he makes up with Brutus and faces his own demise honourably.

Mark Anthony is cunning and power-hungry. Only Brutus remains a completely sympathetic character and upon his death he is eulogized by Antony as the "noblest Roman of them all".

Julius Caesar Questions and Answers

Of course, Antony had previously eulogized Caesar as the "noblest man that ever lived". All in all, Julius Caesar is morally a somewhat confusing play.

  • You bear too stubborn and too strange a hand Over your;;;
  • In the first scene of Julius Caesar the commoners who once worshipped Pompey have turned their allegiance to Caesar;
  • He'd make a good study for one of those modern pop-psychology books with titles like Why Good People Do Stupid Things;
  • As a tragedy, Coriolanus is again bitter, satirical, ending in defeat and humiliation;
  • Writing of Brutus's internal conflicts may have been practice for Shakespeare's creation of his next and greatest protagonist, the haunted Hamlet;
  • Yet I love him [Caesar] well.

Which may be Shakespeare's point: It is often said this is a play about loyalty, but even this virtue is not an absolute, for loyalties also clash in Julius Caesar without providing a guide through the contradictions. Loyalty to leaders versus loyalty to the people.

Where does the theme of love and loyalty appear in Julius Caesar?

Loyalty to family versus loyalty to political ideals. Loyalty to competing friends and lovers.

Julius Caesar

With the ethical morass into which the protagonists fall, the play is a precursor to Macbethbut in that later drama the confusion of fair and foul is eventually put right. The protagonist Macbeth is also a more typical Shakespearean tragic figure in that a fatal flaw—overweening ambition—brings him down.

Brutus has no such driving character flaw. His downfall comes about because he didn't have Antony killed when he could have and because he trusted others. He'd make a good study for one of those modern pop-psychology books with titles like Why Good People Do Stupid Things.

  • Cassius begins to persuade Brutus to convey his true feelings about Caesar by mentioning that he is a loving friend;
  • Through to Caesars death Cassius continues to act out of self-interest;
  • Brutus says that though he loved Caesar, he loved his country Rome more, and hence he was compelled to act against Caesar;
  • Brutus's reply illustrates his love for Caesar and his loyalty to the Roman citizens.

It's also mildly interesting that many of the phrases from Julius Caesar that have become well-known are rather meaningless out of context: Perhaps the most telling statement is that of Antony at the end concerning his opponent: His life was gentle; and the elements So mix'd in him that Nature might stand up And say to all the world 'This was a man!

However, confused and contradictory is human nature, it is what we are and overall it is a wondrous thing. For all his terrible mistakes, Brutus is someone we can look up to as an epitome of humanity.

  • When he discovers that he has exceeded his means, he turns to his seeming friends for the kinds of assistance he has given them, only to discover that their memories are short;
  • However, Caesar's assumption of the Roman dictatorship after the civil war fought against his former triumvirate partner Pompey and his victories in battle celebrated in the first scene of Shakespeare's play make him the most famous historical character of this period;
  • When he discovers that he has exceeded his means, he turns to his seeming friends for the kinds of assistance he has given them, only to discover that their memories are short;
  • Brutus's response also reflects the themes of love and loyalty;
  • Brutus eloquently justifies the assassination of Caesar by him and the fellow conspirators but ultimately Mark Antony turns the tide through his renowned speech.

Don't worry, Antony gets his deserts in the sequel, Antony and Cleopatra.