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Explore the differences in character between Brutus and Cassius by examining their actions, what they say, what others say about them and the language they use. Furthermore examine the social and historical context of 'Julius Caesar'.

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Introduction

Explore the differences in character between Brutus and Cassius by examining their actions, what they say, what others say about them and the language they use. Furthermore examine the social and historical context of 'Julius Caesar'. Cassius is a crafty and dishonest man. He doesn't like the fact that Caesar, a man he knows to have many physical infirmities, has become godlike in Rome. He sneakily leads Brutus to believe that Caesar has become too powerful and must die. He persuades Brutus even more by sending him fake letters that make him believe that the Roman people support the death of Caesar. But once Brutus enters the conspiracy, Brutus becomes its leader. Cassius kills himself in battle when he mistakenly believes their side has lost. Brutus is a supporter of the republic. While he loves Caesar, he can't support him any more and expresses his fear that the people are making Caesar king, thereby creating a one-man dictatorship. His inflexible honour makes it easy for Caesar's enemies to manipulate him into believing that Caesar must die in order to preserve the republic. Of the conspirators, only Brutus believes that in killing Caesar Rome will benefit. The others just don't want Caesar to become more powerful than themselves. Torn between his loyalty to Caesar and to the state, Brutus is in a way the tragic hero of this play. ...read more.

Middle

Cassius and Brutus then start their speech telling the crowd that they did it for the love of Rome not that they did not like Caesar. "notthat I lov'd/Caesar less, but that I lov'd Rome more." The crowd was satisfied with those reasons. Then Antony came up on stage and spoke one of Shakespeare's most famous speeches. He cleverly managed to turn the crowd against the conspirators while calling Brutus and the other conspirators "noble men". The crowds run riot and go after Cassius and Brutus who escape the country. Brutus and Cassius have underestimated what a great speaker Mark Antony really was. They are not as clever as they had thought and decide to run away after admitting defeat to themselves. If they had had of done what Cassius had said, killed Brutus, then none of this would have happened. As the word is reached that Portia, Brutus's wife is dead. Brutus and Cassius have different responses. Cassius is very emotional and sad whilst Brutus, Portia's husband, is more rational and wise about it, staying calm doing what he has to do. Brutus tells Cassius that Portia has committed suicide. He wonders how such a thing can be done. He gets really emotional about it. Is she really dead? How? Why? You would expect the husband to be more like that but infact it is vice-versa. ...read more.

Conclusion

Shakespeare incorporates this into the play. At the beginning of the play in Act 1: Scene 1, where the crowds of people had gathered, rejoicing in Caesars triumph, Shakespeare this. 'They vanished tongue-tied in their guiltiness'. This is referring to Caesar when he comes home after beating Pompey. Although Shakespeare had chosen wisely in the setting and subject of 'Julius Caesar', for the play to be a complete success and to be approved of, the context of it had to satisfy Queen Elizabeth I. Shakespeare expressed to the queen and the crowd that it is undesirable for bad things to happen to the monarchies. He emphasizes this point by making bad things happen in the play like when the king is killed and the consequence that follow. This isn't a one-off thing with Shakespeare. In Macbeth, once again things go wrong when the king is killed. This shows that it is wrong to kill monarchs. Another point that Shakespeare raises in the play is whether or not there is a limit to power. By this he is referring to the monarchy and Julius Caesar. Shakespeare describes Caesar as becoming too powerful. 'These growing feathers plucked from Caesar's wing' and 'Who else would soar above the views of men'. This is related to Henry VIII and the power that he possessed. He threw the Pope out of England and appointed himself as head of the Church. This shows how powerful he is, just like Caesar. Which infact is the whole reason behind the conspiring against him, resulting in his death. English Shakespeare -1- Jack Mariner Coursework ...read more.

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