For most people, telling the truth is a highly revered trait that is taught at a young age. Parents are constantly telling their children to never lie and to always be honest. And yet, humans tend to resort to twisting the truth in order to get what they want. Whether it is a politician hiding the truth for votes or a young child crying crocodile tears to get their sibling in trouble, humans seem to require manipulation to receive what they truly desire. In William Shakespeare’s tragedy, Julius Caesar, this idea of falsifying information for one’s own gain is apparent. Characters such as Cassius, Antony, and Decius Brutus all demonstrate that manipulation is a requirement in order to achieve an overall goal.
(transition), Cassius uses a fair amount of trickery in order to recruit Brutus for his conspiracy. Many of the conspirators voice their desire to have Brutus on their side during the conspiracy. Casca states the benefits of working with Brutus by saying, “Oh, he sits high in all the people’s hearts, / And that which would appear offense in us, / His countenance, like richest alchemy, / Will change to virtue and to worthiness” (I,iii,159-162). The senators believe that anything they do to Caesar will look bad in the eyes of the people, but Brutus, whom the plebeians love, will make their actions appear honorable. In order to achieve this, Cassius creates a plan in order to prod Brutus in favor of the assassination:
In several hands, in at his windows throw,
As if they came from several citizens,
Writings all tending to the great opinion
That Rome holds in his name, and wherein obscurely
Caesar’s ambition shall be glanced at. (I,ii,312-316)
By deceiving Brutus into believing that the Roman people, who respect him, think that Caesar is becoming too ambitious, Cassius is able to convince Brutus, a noble Roman, to join the plot against Caesar. Because he only wants to do what is best for the people, Brutus joins the conspiracy. By manipulating Brutus into thinking the people have a certain view of Caesar, Cassius is able to convince him to do what he did not consider as an option earlier. If it had not been for Cassius leading him with the words of the Romans, Brutus may never have approved of Caesar’s death or joined the conspirators, as they wanted him to.
(transition), Antony’s successful rebellion is a product of manipulation. He is able to turn a large crowd that was opposing him and bend them to his will. After Brutus’ speech following Caesar’s assassination, the crowd of plebeians is in complete support of Brutus, shouting, “’Twere best he speak no harm of Brutus here” (III,ii,67), “This Caesar was a tyrant” (III,ii,68), and “Nay, that’s certain. / We are blest that Rome is rid of him” (III,ii,69). Antony, intent on revenge for the death of his friend, must convince this crowd to rebel against the conspirators; it is through manipulation that he achieves this. Having already put doubt of Brutus into the plebeians’ minds, Antony...