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AS and A Level: Julius Caesar
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In Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare the conspirators are used by Shakespeare in highlighting the theme of friendship and betrayal as well as being the group of people who triggers the central conflict.
The audience sees Cassius manipulating his brother out of ambition and lust for power. Similarly Decius also manipulates Calpurnia dream to lure Caesar to the capitol. He appeals to Caesars arrogance by flattering him 'most mighty Caesar' and claims that 'from you great Rome shall suck reviving blood'. The blood imagery is significant as it foreshadows the death of Caesar and to an extent the civil strife and madness of the plebeians. The moment is highly dramatic as Caesar is swayed by Decius through his rhetoric and challenge 'Lo, Caesar is afraid?'
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It is explicit he is undertaking to expose his own "honourable" morals, which would not allow him to participate in an unreasonable murder of a close friend. Eventually Brutus takes the last stab at Caesar to finalise the political assassination. Shakespeare reminds us later on in the play how Brutus is still a noble man, in fact through Mark Antony describing Brutus as "the noblest Roman of them all". Brutus spent all this time worrying and endeavouring to convince himself that killing Caesar is for the "general good" of Rome and he does it because he believes its the "honourable" thing to do.
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It was this lively character of Antony's that convinced Brutus that he was not a danger to the conspirators. Brutus underestimated Antony's true leadership qualities, "And for Mark Antony, think not of him; For he can do no more than Caesar's arm When Caesar's head is off" (2.1.181-183). Antony was looked down upon by all the conspirators except Brutus. They feared that he would succeed Caesar after his death, because of his sincerity and love for Caesar and that he would take a more powerful position over Rome. Brutus however, perceived Antony as being incapable of such strength. He judged him to be potentially harmless in engaging himself in frivolous activities as he didn't take life very seriously.
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Julius Caesar; Examine in detail paying particular attention to how the passage introduces key elements of the play
The Cobbler replies by using the title "...sir..." this shows that the class system in Rome is accepted universally. The Cobbler is witty and of a high intelligence. When asked "...what trade..." by Flavius he replies using a pun which is "...a mender of bad soles...". The Cobbler is joking with the Tribunes even thought at first the tribunes do not understand his wit. The Commoners speak in prose whereas the Tribunes speak in verse which is evidence of the class and educational differences between them.
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Cassius then says he will show Brutus himself as a mirror shows a reflection, "And since you know you cannot see yourself So well as by reflection, I, your glass, Will modestly discover to yourself That of yourself which you yet know not of." This is very clever as Cassius makes his offer sound as if he is not planting any new ideas in Brutus' head but merely exposing the thoughts already troubling Brutus. However, it is obvious that Cassius' intentions are to manipulate certain truths so that Brutus takes his point.
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Silence!' showing that they think highly of Brutus. When he finishes they shout 'Let him be Caesar!' which suggests that they are all on his side. However, when Antony is doing his speech, he uses repetition of 'Brutus is an honourable man'. This repetition makes him and other conspirators seem honourable, but this serves opposite purpose making commoners feel they are not honourable. By using rhetoric speech, Antony makes plebians move from Brutus' side to Antony's side effectively. Although Antony says he is an honourable man ironically in his speech, Antony truly describes him in the last scene as 'this was the noblest Roman of them all' because
- Word count: 976
Brutus is first introduced during Act I, Scene II, He appears to be a man at war with himself, torn between his love for Caesar and his honorable concern for Rome. This is reflected within the lines, "What means this shouting? I do fear the people choose Caesar as their king...yet I love him well" (lines 85-89). He worries that it is not in Rome's best interest for Caesar to become king, yet he hates to oppose his friend. His relationship with Cassius is first introduced as he prominently steps into Brutus' personal crisis and begins his campaign in an attempt to recruit Brutus to the conspiracy.
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"You loved him once, not without cause What cause withholds you then to mourn for him?" This rhetorical question goes against Brutus by questioning his speech in which he so greatly demonized Caesar. Now the crowd is starting to turn against Brutus in favor of Antony. The audience question themselves. This in turn makes them question what Brutus once told them. 'Perhaps Brutus manipulated us to make us think along his lines', they may have questioned. He repeatedly states that "Brutus is an honorable man". The quote reveals much about the character of Brutus. Not only does Antony's quote point, obviously, to the fact that Brutus is seen as an honorable man, but in its tone, it also raises questions as to whether this honor is suitably placed.
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As previously said, Brutus was a close friend of Caesars; however he joined the conspirators in the assassination of Caesar to prevent his ambitions getting 'out of hand'
The play also has relevance to today's world, as in the Iraq war, this is because Saddam Hussein (monarch of Iraq) was getting too many ambitions( he did this by trying to take more land than what he had, therefore he resulted to cruelty to make his people scared; so in consequence hand him over whatever he wanted free of charge) and trying to become powerful. Therefore to solve this problem people who were once his friends allied against him to put an end to his ambitions, and stop Saddam before he gets too powerful.
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In lines 79-80 the truth of Brutus' troubles become clear. In the heat of conversation he says "What means this shouting? I do fear the people choose Caesar for their king". This is the turning point in the play as the stepping stones begin to fall in place and Brutus reveals to the viewers his deep down uncertainty to the decision of Caesar being crowned emperor. Cassius is a very influential force in the corruption of Brutus. The real change of heart for Brutus arrives in Act 2 Scene 1 when he receives the letter (lines 46-47).
- Word count: 1269
This, already, is the very first lead up, to all his very wrong decisions, and he has yet already admitted the negative downfall of his decisions. Brutus is the tragic hero of the play, because of his idealistic and pragmatic qualities. The mindset that Brutus possessed only allowed him to see the world and its people from one point of view. This point of view allowed him to make judgments that assumed only the best of people. This tragic weakness resulted in many errors throughout the play.
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In Roman times, the people were probably quite proud of their form of government and Caesar was not thought of too badly by the ordinary people. Therefore, his killing would have shocked them. As we see earlier in the play, the people of Rome were easily swayed; they followed anything that moved. This is shown when Caesar comes back after defeating Pompey in a war, and the crowd immediately accepted Caesar as they leader, as opposed to before Pompey's death, when they were all followers of Pompey.
- Word count: 549
What opinion of the character of Brutus have you formed from your reading of Shakespeare's play, Julius Caesar?
No wonder that the conspirators follow Brutus as their leader. Casius Ligarius joins the conspiracy simply because it's under Brutus leadership. Words in Brutus description are so clear in the dialogues among the conspirators when they decide to kill Caesar as Brutus refuses to take an oath, "what other oath / than honesty to honesty engaged / that this sall be, or we will fall for it?" Brutus main motive behind Caesar's assassination is the welfare of his country. He seeks people's sights as he stands against dictatorship and kingship. In his opening dialogue with Cassius, Brutus refers to his own fear of Caesar's increasing power: "what means this shouting?
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How Effective Are Brutus And Antony In Gaining The Support Of The Roman Citizens After Caesar's Assassination?
Antony then focuses on the killing, appealing with emotion to the dead Caesar. Toward the end of the scene Antony delivers a soliloquy in which he expresses true feelings. Following this he talks to his servant and refers to Brutus as "noble, wise, valiant and honest." Brutus is willing for Antony to come so that Brutus can provide explanations. He naively believes that Antony will be convinced by reason and will be an ally. This contrasts to Cassius as he thinks otherwise.
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"The rise of Octavian owed more to luck, and the mistakes of his enemies, rather than his own political abilities. Discuss."
But to what can this be attributed to? It is true that Marc Antony certainly seemed to expect that Julius would nominate him as heir to his name and estate, for he was even spending Caesar's fortune before the will had been published. Antony himself was already a popular and proven soldier by this time - 'his reputation...was the greatest in the army5', and he was favoured by Caesar, so it may have seemed strange to some, certainly at the time, that Caesar should nominate his relatively unknown great nephew.
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Comare and contrast the ways Brutus and Mark Antony use rhetoric to persuade the fickle plebeians of Rome
To start with, both Antony and Brutus use contrast, or antithesis to change the views of the amassed Romans. However, both men use this technique very differently; Brutus states that ?not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more? and this use of antithesis is done an attempt to convince the people of Rome that he did this not for his own sake but for the greater good of his country. After Brutus has left the Forum, Mark Antony states to the crowd, who?s opinion is swaying against Caesar ?I come to bury Caesar, not to praise
- Word count: 800