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Judging by the evidence in the play, how far would you agree with the conspirators that Julius Caesar would have become a tyrant?

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26th April 2002 English Coursework: Julius Caesar Question: Judging by the evidence in the play, how far would you agree with the conspirators that Julius Caesar would have become a tyrant? The Oxford English Dictionary lists the word 'tyrant' as: 1. An oppressive or cruel ruler. 2. A person exercising power arbitrarily or cruelly. The conspirators, who were Metellus Cimber, Ligerius, Trebonius, Cinna, Decius Brutus, Cassius, Casca and Brutus, had many different reasons for wanting to remove Julius Caesar from power. Brutus, however, was probably the only one who did it, not for personal gain but, because he believed that Caesar posed a serious threat to Rome. Brutus, therefore, can give us the fairest portrayal of how Caesar was really behaving apart from what we see of Caesar himself. We know that in the time before the play is set, Julius Caesar had been part of the leadership of Rome (voted in by the Senate) along with Crassus and Pompey, in what was known as a triumvirate. Caesar, after Crassus was killed in battle, is alleged to have had Pompey assassinated, although Pompey was actually killed by one of his own soldiers. ...read more.


Almost in contradiction to this arrogance and vanity Caesar appears to display slight paranoia and also has a superstitious nature. Although Caesar says " I fear him not" he is quite plainly wary and paranoid about Cassius. He tells Antony that Cassius "is a great observer", who "loves no plays" and when he occasionally smiles, "smiles in such a sort as if he mocked himself and scorned his spirit". Caesar is anxious for Calphurnia to stand in the way of Antony during a run because he believes in an old wives tale that a barren woman, touched by the straps the runners are wearing, will become fertile. In Act 1 Scene 2 Cassius tells Brutus of Caesars weakness and of how he had to rescue Caesar from the Tiber because he got into difficulties when they were out swimming. Cassius seems outraged that he now has to bow down to a man that he had rescued from drowning. ".......................and this man Is now become a god, and Cassius is A wretched creature, and must bend his body, If Caesar carelessly but nod on him." Cassius then tells Brutus about Caesar having a fit whilst in Spain and at the end of his account of Caesars feeble groaning and crying he again ...read more.


Two other incidents seem to contradict the conspirators view of Caesar as a tyrant. Firstly, in Act 2 Scene 2 Caesar addresses the conspirators warmly as " good friends" and invites them to "taste some wine" with him. Later in Act 3 Scene 1 because of his wish to put others before himself he unknowingly turns down the opportunity to save himself. When Artemidoros approaches Caesar with a letter warning him of the conspiracy and explains that it directly concerns Caesar and he should therefore open it first he replies "What touches us ourself shall be least served" Although I do agree with the conspirators that Julius Caesar had some bad qualities, some of which may be linked with tyrannical behaviour, I do not think that there is enough evidence against him to be sure beyond reasonable doubt that he would have turned out to be a tyrant. He was very arrogant, vain and ambitious but these traits are not unusual in men in positions of power. Also, a tyrant is, as the dictionary says 'an oppressive or cruel ruler', and someone who cares enough to leave money and grounds to his people does not seem cruel or oppressive to me. Max Carter 10C - English - Mr Potter Julius C�sar - GCSE Coursework Pg- 1 - ...read more.

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