Caesarean Change Essay

1085 words - 4 pages

The reason why society advances is because of the innovations put forth by innovators. Therefore, it can be said that innovators are the reason why society advances. Bertrand Russell highlights three reasons why society is reluctant to the changes put forth by innovators. These are, “…the instinct of conventionality…the feeling of insecurity…that vested interests are bound up with old beliefs…” these ideas are all present in the play, Julius Caesar (Bertrand Russell 1). Russell states a number of facts about the way society views innovators and the statues quo, and Julius Caesar, written by William Shakespeare many centuries before Russell was born, demonstrates that his philosophy applies to all generations, before, present, and after his time period.
Bertrand Russell states that the instinct of conventionality is the most important reason why society resists innovators. For example, the mob reacts violently after Brutus and the other conspirators/innovators murder Caesar. “And with the brands, fire the traitors’ houses” (III Sc.2 ln. 269). With the murder of Julius Caesar, the conspirators disrupt the status quo and the stability of conventionality. This relates directly with Russell’s assertion that a mob that has been pushed out of its comfort zone will react violently to the originator of thus mentioned change. In this example, Brutus and the conspirators who murdered Caesar are the innovators since they disrupted the status quo, which was Caesar’s presence in the Senate. However, one can analyze the same situation and reverse the roles. Julius Caesar is the innovator, and by disrupting the system of the Roman Republic, he brings upon himself his assassination. Julius Caesar’s upcoming crowning by the Senate is disruption of the status quo, which is a Republic. Therefore, as Bertrand Russell stated, “…and often leads them to put to death any markedly peculiar member of the herd.” we can predict that the “herd” will assassinate Caesar (Bertrand Russell 1). In this scenario, Caesar is the innovator and his upcoming crowning is the innovation. The assassination of Caesar is the reaction of the crowd to the possible change of the status quo. The threatening change from Roman republic to Roman Empire shifts the status quo tremendously. This change from republic to empire will dramatically alter the conventional lifestyle of many if not all roman citizen. This type of dramatic change often creates a sense of insecurity in oneself or one’s actions.
A sense of insecurity often perturbs an individual sub-consciously. During the beginning of the play, Cassius tries to convince Brutus, “I know that virtue to be in you, Brutus…”(I Sc. 2 ln. 97), to join his group of conspirators who are trying to assassinate Caesar. Murder of someone is, for the most part, not a daily event for most people. Therefore, by the way Brutus acts when he is deciding whether or not he should kill Caesar, we can assume that he asks some questions. We can apply Russell’s...

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