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To what extent do you sympathise with Brutus?

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Introduction

To what extent do you sympathise with Brutus? Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare is an interesting and complex play based on historical events that took place in Rome in 44 BC. The plot revolves around the assassination of Julius Caesar by his closest 'friend'- Marcus Brutus, and Marc Antony's attempt to avenge his death. The play portrays many important themes that are still relevant in today's society like the struggle for political power; love and friendship; the fallibility of men; and the fickleness of common people. Despite the title of the play, Brutus is the main character, and the most important in the group of conspirators that murder Julius Caesar. The justification of the killing of Caesar is arguable from many different perspectives. Brutus justifies the assassination by saying Caesar would have gone on to become a tyrant, an oppressor and a burden on Rome for long to come. He argues that by killing Caesar, he is relieving Rome of a certain dictator. Cassius sums this ideology up well when he says - 'Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world like a Colossus; and we petty men walk under his huge legs, and peep about to find ourselves dishonourable graves.' ...read more.

Middle

The major flaw in Brutus' character is that he is na�ve and prone to fallibility. Brutus believed all that people told him and felt no one would lie or deceive him. Just because he did not betray anyone, he believed the world would return this act. This characteristic led him to his death. He is too trustful and does not realise what people are capable of doing to him after befriending them. Due to this tragic flaw, the downfall of this character occurred soon after. His first mistake was in Act 2, Scene 1. This was when the fake letters are sent to him from the conspirators. Brutus believes these letters are from the people of Rome and agrees to the death of Caesar. This shows Brutus' gullibility and willingness to believe anything. Another example of this naivety is in Act 3, Scene 2. Brutus decides to allow Antony to speak at the funeral because it would show honour to Caesar. In the end, this decision ruins him because Antony riles the crowd into believing that the conspirators are all evil and that they must take vengeance immediately. ...read more.

Conclusion

Maybe he was not, we do not know. There are too many questions that need to be answered and I am extremely sceptical that Brutus could have known for sure that Caesar would have gone on to become a ruthless dictator that all the conspirators thought he would do. This is why I have no sympathy for Brutus when he commits suicide near the end of the play. Like the sayings - 'What goes around comes around' and 'What you give is what you get' - Brutus killed Caesar, and you could argue that Caesar metaphorically killed Brutus. You could argue this by saying Caesar haunts Brutus' conscience in the form of a ghost and tells him that he will see him at Philippi, which is where the final battle takes place. Also Marc Antony is representing Caesar in a way because he his avenging his friend's death, so when Anthony's army defeat Brutus', you could say it was Caesar. And the final piece of evidence that indicates Brutus has been haunted and figuratively killed by Julius Caesar is when he confirms it himself by saying 'Caesar, now be still, I killed not thee with half a good will' which basically means 'okay Caesar rest now, but I was more reluctant to kill you.' ...read more.

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