The Audiences' Perception Of Cassius And Brutus In Shakespeare

3977 words - 16 pages

The Audiences' Perception of Cassius and Brutus in Shakespeare

Julius Caesar was one of the most influential political and military
leaders in history, and helped establish the vast Roman empire.
Caesar’s triumph in a civil war amongst others made him the absolute
ruler of Rome, but political jealousies and fears that he would become
king among his opponents led to his assassination. In 59 BC the Senate
decided on a Triumvirate to lead them rather than electing two
consuls. The three men were Julius Caesar, Pompey the Great and Marcus
Licinius Crassus. When Caesar returned to Rome in 60 BC after a year
as governor of Spain, he joined forces with Crassus and Pompey to form
the First Triumvirate. Caesar was then elected consul for 59 BC
despite hostility, and in 58 BC he was appointed governor of Roman
Gaul. For the next seven years he led the campaigns known as the
Gallic Wars at the end of which Roman rule was established over
central and northern Europe west of the River Rhine. After the death
of Crassus, there was a power struggle between Pompey and Caesar, but
after Pompey was assassinated by one of his own soldiers in 48 BC,
Caesar was appointed as Emperor. In 44 BC, a group of senators,
including Caius Cassius and Marcus Junius Brutus, plotted his
assassination. On the Ides (15th) of March 44 BC, when Caesar entered
the Senate house, the group killed him.

In Act 1 Scene 2 we see that Cassius is trying to persuade and
manipulate Brutus into thinking that Julius Caesar is becoming too
powerful and that he needs to be stopped before it is too late. He
does this using many different techniques.

Cassius is able to make Brutus feel guilty towards him and make him
feel as though he has done something wrong even though he hasn’t: “I
have not from your eyes that gentleness\And show of love as I was wont
to have.” Cassius wants to make Brutus feel guilty so that he will
open up to him and give him a chance to start speaking about Caesar
and his plans to murder him. At this point the audience may feel sorry
for Cassius as they think that he has been ignored and they may think
Brutus is unappreciative of his friends.

Cassius is very articulate and able to manipulate Brutus into thinking
what he wants: “you have no such mirrors as will turn\Your hidden
worthiness into your eye.” Here we see that Cassius persuades Brutus
into thinking that he is very important and worthy; he does this so
that Brutus believes that he is creditable enough to get rid of
Caesar. Cassius is again manipulating Brutus.

Cassius uses another technique to make Brutus feel he is stronger than
Caesar: he tells Brutus a story about Caesar and himself. Caesar
challenged him to a swimming race but wasn’t strong enough to finish
the race: “Caesar cried, ‘Help me Cassius or I sink.’” He makes Caesar

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