Justifying Caesar’s assassination in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar
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In the play Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, many people could argue for and against the killing of Julius Caesar. Personally I believe that his murder was not justified enough to be conducted. My belief is supported by the fact that the conspirators decision was made purely on belief and jealously, and not factual evidence that would support taking Caesar’s life. In the play “Julius Caesar”, the decision to murder him was made because of jealousy for a several reasons. Cassius’ jealousy is one reason that Caesar was killed. “And this man is now become a god, and Cassius is a wretched creature” (Shakespeare, 1.2.115-117). This quote shows how Cassius wants the nobility of Caesar, and his power. One of the reasons that Julius Caesar was killed was because Cassius believed that Caesar wasn’t fit for the position of ruler of Rome. He wanted Brutus to become as powerful as Caesar almost was. “Brutus and Caesar: what should be in that ‘Caesar’? Why should that name be sounded more than yours? (Shakespeare, 1.2.142-143).
This quotation is basically Cassius asking Brutus why he is no better than Caesar, and why Caesar gets the amazing power that he does, and not Brutus. He tried to trigger the thought in Brutus’ head that he could be just as good or a better ruler than Caesar, which is what Cassius wants for his plot to kill Caesar. Also, Brutus displays some jealousy of Caesar; despite saying he has no jealousy for the man. “I am nothing jealous” (Shakespeare, 1.2.163), “I will consider; what you have to say I will with patience hear” (Shakespeare, 1.2.167-169). This shows that Brutus does want to listen to what Cassius has to say about Caesar and how he thinks Brutus would be a better leader than him. These points explain how jealousy was a main factor in the plot to murder Caesar, and how facts about the high possibility of Caesar becoming a tyrant as the ruler of Rome were not stated, thus proving that the plot was partially based on jealousy. Another reason that Caesar was killed was because of different beliefs that Caesar would be a poor leader for Rome.
Cassius believed that Caesar was a weak and more elderly man who would not be fit for the place of “King of Rome”. “Alas, it cried ‘give me some drink Titinius’ as a sick girl” (Shakespeare, 1.2.127-128). This quote shows how Cassius thinks of Caesar as weak or pathetic, by comparing him to a sick girl. The problem was that everybody gets sick and becomes weak, and Cassius’ point is just his own belief that Caesar was crippled because of an illness more greatly than anyone else would have been. Also the conspirators in the plot to kill Caesar believed that he would become a tyrant as soon as he came into power as Ruler of Rome. “Had you rather Caesar were living, and all die slaves, than that Caesar were dead, to live all free men?” (Shakespeare, 3.2.22-24).
This quote shows how Brutus did come to believe that killing Caesar would prevent him from causing problems in Roman society, even though he didn’t really have proof to support the idea that he would become a tyrant. These examples show how the personal belief of characters in the play is what leads to the death of Julius Caesar. In conclusion, the truth is that the conspirators had no realistic evidence of the probability of Julius Caesar becoming a tyrant. It is true that some of them were jealous or had their own belief that Caesar would be a poor leader for Rome. My belief is that the conspirators didn’t have enough real reason other than personal ones to take the life of Julius Caesar.
Shakespeare, William. Julius Caesar. New York, USA: Signet Classics, 1963 (original written in 1623)