Cassius and Brutus in William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar is set in 44 BC were Rome was a republic. Roman
influence had spread beyond Italy and through the Mediterranean and
some of North Africa and also parts of Germany, Belgium and Britain.
Rome was governed by a senate. The main objective of all this meant
that not one person was solely in charge and had absolute power and
were king like.
Marcus Brutus is the most complex character in this play. Brutus is
one of the men who assassinate Caesar in the senate. Brutus is
complex, because he does not just kill Caesar for greed, envy or to
preserve his social position like so many of the other conspirators.
This Brutus makes very clear in his speech in act III, scene II (lines
he explains his actions for being the good of Rome. Unlike the other
conspirators, Brutus is in fact a dear friend of Caesar's but kills
his ally not for who he is, but what he could become. It is for this
reason that when Brutus dies by suicide in Act V, Mark Antony
describes his bitter enemy by saying "This was the noblest roman of
them all", (Act V, Scene V, line 68), Mark Antony recognising with
these words that Brutus acted from a sense of civic duty, not malice.
However, it is hard to ignore the fact that Brutus has one main
weakness which is his pride. Furthermore, he has to appear noble to
himself and everyone around him.
So one of Brutus's motives is a sense of ancestral pride. He has to
live up to the standard his ancestors had set and cannot belittle them
in anyway. This is one of his main weaknesses in this play because his
ancestor Brutus overthrew the last king Tarquin in 509 BC and so
founded the roman republic.
Cassius is a very devious and sly senator he is one of the original
conspirators against Caesar. Like the other conspirators he fears what
life under King Caesar's rule could mean for him and the privileges he
The plot of Julius Caesar would be strikingly relevant to the
Elizabethan audience due to the recent attempted rebellion of the Earl
of Essex. He was one of Queen Elizabeth's favourites but he was
plotting against her to overthrow her but he was caught. This
rebellion had been foiled. For these reasons the play has been made a
philosophical study about the tensions between friends who held power,
and the possible effects in the plot were to succeed.
When we first encounter Cassius in Act I Scene ii the audience will
begin to comprehend Caesars perception of him. Furthermore, on the
surface Cassius will appear as a predatorial, sly and devious senator.
It is hard to ignore the fact that in this conversation between Caesar
and Mark Antony the audience will begin to learn that Caesar fears
Cassius. Caesar is aware that Cassius is a threat, "He thinks too
much, such men are...