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The Changing Of Brutus And Cassius Throughout William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar

4397 words - 18 pages

The Changing of Brutus and Cassius Throughout William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar

William Shakespeare's play, Julius Caesar, is one of his most
inspirational, influential and greatest tragedies. Although Julius
Caesar is set in Rome over 2000 years ago, it explores themes that are
relevant to our own modern times and would have been relevant to
Elizabethans in Shakespeare's England. One of the main issues explored
in the play is the nature of government or people and power.
Shakespeare looks in detail at the choices and life Roman citizens had
and what their place was in relation to the various kings of Rome. In
real life, Julius Caesar emerged to be similar to all the previous
kings of Rome in that he was a dictator who was feared by the Roman
people rather then loved or valued. In the play, Shakespeare portrays
Caesar as a character that has become so influential and strong that
he effectively controls the Senate, something which the Republicans,
especially Cassius and later on Brutus, will not stand for. This play
also relates to the Elizabethan audience, as they would also have been
asking what the internal affairs of the Queen and government had to do
with them. Queen Elizabeth was a forceful ruler and had survived many
plots against her, and it is clear to see that William Shakespeare has
taken some of these incidents and superimposed them over this play in
the form of the Conspirators.

At the start of the play we see that both Brutus and Cassius are
deeply concerned about the popularity and attention Julius Caesar is
receiving, Cassius more so than Brutus. At this time in the play, the
whole of Rome is in a state of confused and mixed loyalties. Caesar
had recently overthrown and killed a fellow general, Pompey, and this
has created differences between those who liked Pompey, those who
praise Caesar for removing Pompey from power, and those who are not in
favour of either person but are shocked that something as evil as
Romans fighting against each other has taken place. We see the full
extent of Cassius' feelings towards Caesar when they stand together on
the upper balconies watching the procession of Caesar and his troupe
at the 'Feast of Lupercal'. As Caesar receives a rapturous applause
and cheer from the crowd, Brutus reveals that he thinks Caesar will be
made king and Cassius works on this statement and pursues him on the
subject. Whereas Brutus speaks only two lines to say his fears,
Cassius launches into a long speech about how if Brutus feels that
this is wrong, he should stand up on his honour and stop this from
happening. However Brutus stops him by saying that although he fears
this will happen, he loves Caesar as a friend too much to do anything
about it. Cassius continues nonetheless, stating on line 97 of Act 1,
Scene 2:

"I was born free as Caesar, so...

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