The Moral Ambiguity Of Julius Caesar

1051 words - 5 pages

Phillip Pullman, a British author, once wrote, “I stopped believing there was a power of good and a power of evil that were outside us. And I came to believe that good and evil are names for what people do, not for what they are”(goodreads.com). Pullman’s quotation on the actions of man being the source of good and evil closely relate to morality, principles regarding the distinction of right and wrong or a person’s values. The question of what human morality truly is has been pondered by philosophers, common folk, and writers for thousands of years. However, sometimes a person’s ethics are unclear; he or she are not wholly good or bad but, rather, morally ambiguous. William Shakespeare, ...view middle of the document...

To every Roman citizen, to every several man, seventy-five drachmas,” and, “Moreover, he hath left you all his walks, private arbors, and new-planted orchards, on this side of the Tiber; he hath left them to you, and to your heirs for ever; common pleasures, to walk abroad and recreate yourselves” (III, II, 51-53 and 58-62). Caesar’s generosity to the common people of Rome shows that he is considerate; he could have given it all to his family or to the wealthy patrician senators; instead, he leaves gave a large sum of his money and land to every citizen in Rome. Julius Caesar is a principled, considerate man.
On the other hand, Caesar can also be identified as an immoral person. For example, Caesar is a cruel man of war. Upon returning from a war against Pompey, Caesar had enslaved his defeated opponents, who were fellow Romans and the followers of a, in the Roman citizens’s eyes, a great man. Marullus, a tribune, voices his disgust towards Caesar; “What tributaries follow him to Rome, to grace in captive bonds his chariot-wheels? You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things! O you hard hearts, you cruel men of Rome, knew you not Pompey?” (I, I, 35-39). Marullus speaks out as to why people are actually celebrating the return of Julius Caesar and how upset he is that Caesar had waged war with fellow Romans and enslaved them. It is wrong to celebrate the conquering of their own people, and Caesar is absolutely immoral to subjugate his own people. Also, Caesar is entirely too conceited. While at the Capitol about to take up the offering of the crown, the conspiracy distracts Caesar in an effort to kill him. A member of the conspiracy, Metellus, begs for Caesar to bring back his banished brother, Cimber. Caesar uncaringly responds, “I would be well moved, if I were as you; I could pray to move, prayers would move me; but I am constant as the northern star, of whose true-fix’d and resting quality there is no...

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