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Suicide In Julius Caesar, By William Shakespeare

1095 words - 4 pages

Suicide has always been a common alternative action to get away from one’s problems in human history. Sometimes however, it is at times hard to decipher whether or not one’s suicide may be heroic or weak. In Ancient Rome, suicide was often considered an honorable and praiseworthy way to die, it was not until long after this time period that organized religions started considering suicide as a sin rather than an act of heroism. In the brilliant Tragedy of Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, many characters in the play take their own lives, this throws us into the dark as to whether or not their acts of suicide are heroic or weak.
As described in Julius Caesar the play, Brutus is a man driven by will and pride. Honor is also a very vibrant underlying foundation of Brutus’ character. After the suspenseful assassination of Caesar, specifically during his funeral speech, Brutus inquires the people of Rome, “Who is here so rude that would not be a Roman? If any, speak; for him I have offended” (3.2.29-32). Brutus is proving to the people of Rome that he is the noblest Roman of them all. However, on the eve of his shocking defeat by Antony, Brutus runs onto his sword preserving his undeniable honor as a noble Roman citizen. Brutus’ decision to kill himself comes after he escapes the end of battle against Antony and Octavius, when his army is captured. As enemies are approaching, Brutus says his final farewell’s to his friends explaining that, “The ghost of Caesar hath appeared to me, two several times by night: at Sardis once, and this last night in Philippi fields. I know my hour is come” (5.5.18-21). Brutus then goes on demanding for Strato, his servant, to hold up his sword for him to run upon saying that, “Thy life hath had some smatch of honor in it. Hold then my sword and turn thy face, while I do run upon it” (5.5.46-48). According to the definition of stoicism on Dictionary.com, it is the quality or the behavior of a person who accepts what happens without complaining or showing emotion. Brutus displays his stoicism frequently throughout the novel. However right at the moment of his death he displays a mixture of emotions, showing that Brutus is not as stoic as we previously thought he was. Prior to Brutus’ death, Clitus remarks that, “Now is that noble vessel of grief, that it runs over even at his eyes” (5.5.13-14). Brutus has always been hiding his emotions well throughout the book that at the time of his death he reveals how much he is grieving. Brutus is so overwhelmed with pain and anguish that we see finally see Brutus’ true self. His death is not an act of heroism, it is an act of weakness after realizing that everything and everyone that he had to live for, was no longer there.
Cassius’ idea to kill himself was not one of a noble man, but of a coward. Cassius, who is one of the many conspirators, is a very tactful person. He is able to see people for who they truly are, and he is excellent at manipulating...

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