The Nature Of Change Essay

1140 words - 5 pages

Humans have a tendency to point out the flaws in their peers, simply because it is easier to find someone’s flaws instead of their strengths. Bertrand Russell’s essay, “Individual liberty and Public Control,” supports this idea by suggesting that all societies are quick to judge and immediately reject any change that makes itself present in the community. In Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Julius Caesar, Marcus Brutus, and Mark Antony are innovators that gain direct support of the Roman masses and refute this idea of societies direct resistance to change. Bertrand Russell’s views on society’s reaction to innovators and the upheaval of the status quo are not an accurate depiction of the Roman republic’s reaction to the three key innovators of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.
Julius Caesar was an innovator that used his bravery and skilled military tactics to establish an empire and create a republic that adored and respected him. Shakespeare manifests this respect for Caesar in the opening scene of the play, when Marullus says,“Knew you not Pompey? Many a time and oft have you climbed up to walls…to see great Pompey pass the streets of Rome,” (1.1.42-43, 47). Pompey was the ruler that the Roman masses originally supported, but as soon as Caesar became powerful they rejected Pompey and immediately began to support Caesar. Humans want to side with the person that will bring them success and happiness, and clearly the majority of Romans are willing to change who they favor if it is in their best interest, proving them to be much more open to change than Russell would like to think. Russell suggests several reasons why societies would resist change,“The most important of these [reasons] is the instinct of conventionality,” (Russell 1). Russell suggests in this quote that the most important reason that societies resist change is because they have grown accustomed to the way things were before the change came about. This is not entirely true of the Roman masses, who were quick to accept Caesar as a valid leader as soon as he proved his military skill and deemed him worthy of ruling Rome. The Senate also showed approval of Caesar’s leadership abilities when Decius Brutus said,“The Senate have concluded to give this day a crown to mighty Caesar,” (2.2.98-99).The Roman Senate was the most powerful and influential group of people at the time, and they were willing to give up the republic they were so used to in order to make Caesar king. Not all Romans were resistant to change, the large number of the Romans were willing to initiate a change in government just for Caesar, just as they did for Marcus Brutus.
Marcus Brutus is an innovator that attempts to overthrow the current status quo and is almost immediately well received by the Roman public. This positive attitude towards change is shown when Brutus is able to persuade the Roman masses to support him as they chant,“Live, Brutus, live, live!” (1.2.50). Brutus only has to give only one speech to convince the...

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