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    Julius Caesar An Expository Essay

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    Throughout the play, Julius Caesar, opinions over important mattersclash.

    Brutus and Cassius, both senators of Rome, have two completelydifferent ways of looking at matters. Brutus, an idealist, has a more naveway of looking at things. He tends to see only the good in a person. Cassius, on the other hand, is a realist.

    He sees what is really there. Cassius is the lead conspirator in the play, showing that he is all forself advance. Brutus is the only one who isn’t plotting to kill Caesar forselfish purposes. Brutus has the good of Rome in mind, not himself. Brutusand Cassius’s characters come out vividly in three separate arguments theyhave in the play. The first major argument they have is about killing MarcAntony, a close friend of Julius Caesar.

    Brutus doesn’t and Cassius does. The second major argument the have is after the death of Julius Caesar. Brutus wants Antony to speak at Caesar’s funeral but Cassius disagrees. Thelast argument they have proves to be fatal to both Brutus and Cassius. Theydispute over battle tactics at Sardis, the Plains of Philippi.

    Shakespearewas wonderful at showing the high and low points of two different people,Brutus and Cassius. The first major argument that occurs in this play happens when theconspirators are deciding whether or not to kill Marc Antony. Antony is avery close friend of Julius Caesar. One could say he was riding hiscoattails. Cassius sees Antony as a threat to their purpose, and of course,wants him gone because he is only after his own advancement.

    Cassius alsoknows that if Julius Caesar is killed, Antony will avenge his death by anymeans possible. Antony has Caesar’s army pretty much in his power, andcould give the combined troops of Brutus and Cassius a run for their money. He knows that Antony is power hungry. In Cassius’s mind, Antony will useany leverage he can get to gain power.

    He has already ridden the coattailsof Caesar to get to the stage he is presently at, and that he will useCaesar’s death to overthrow the conspirators and move higher up into power. Since Cassius is a realist, he sees people for what they are, not for whatthey appear to be. He sees Antony as an opportunist and very intelligent. He knows that Antony covers up his intelligence by being a reveler, or aplayboy. Cassius believes Antony should be killed; just to be sure thereare no complications after the murder of Julius Caesar.

    Brutus completelydisagrees with Cassius. Brutus can’t see past the faade Antony puts up. Hethinks that Antony is an unintelligent reveler. Brutus thinks Antony won’tdo anything about Caesar’s death, that he will accept it, as the whole ofRome would, after being explained.

    Brutus also doesn’t want the episode tolook like a bloodbath. He doesn’t want to unnecessarily kill anyone. Hewants the death of Julius Caesar to be thought of as a ‘purging’ ratherthan a murder. After all, Brutus thinks he is saving Rome of a dictator.

    Hewould kill Antony also if he thought he had any power to rise up againstthe conspirators. Brutus also thinks that if Antony is so attached toCaesar and is so hurt by his loss, that he will commit suicide to be withhim. In my opinion, Brutus is a little too nave. He is blind to the factthat Antony is hiding being the mask of a playboy.

    Cassius seems to knowand understand Antony better. He sees right through the faade. In a caseso sensitive as this, I would side with Cassius to be safe. To side withBrutus would be like diving into a pool, not knowing how deep it is.

    Brutus’s judgment is tainted. He can’t seem to find bad in anyone. Cassiuswould be safer to side with because he won’t take any chances where hislife and his power are concerned. Cassius ends up letting Brutus have hisway.

    He does this because it is vital that Brutus is a part of theconspiracy. The group needs him for his speaking abilities as well as hiscredibility with the masses. None of the conspirators are well liked inRome, so they must have someone the commoners can trust. Brutus has a veryhigh standing in Rome. He is known to have the best for Rome foremost inhis mind. If Brutus gets in front of all of Rome and says it was a goodthing to kill Caesar, than the conspirators have a better chance to getaway with cold-blooded murder.

    Brutus ends up getting his way in the end. Antony is let to live. The Second major dispute between Brutus and Cassius occurred afterJulius Caesar was murdered. Brutus wanted to let Antony speak at JuliusCaesar’s funeral, but Cassius disagreed. Brutus thinks that Antony shouldspeak because it will prove to the crowds that Antony isn’t mad that Caesarwas killed.

    If he gets in front of a crowd and praises Julius’s life, itwill show he has no hostility toward the conspirators. Brutus feels thatletting Antony speak will validate the conspirators’ intentions to themasses. He believes if he gives Antony guidelines to follow in his speech,he will follow them. Brutus doesn’t even consider the fact Antony would goagainst an agreement. He just thinks with Antony’s good oratory skills, hewould be able to help him persuade the crowds more.

    Cassius knows that ifAntony is let to speak, guidelines or not, he will find a way to discreditthe conspirators. Even if he does follow the guidelines, he will somehowturn the tides against him. The masses are fickle, and Cassius knows it. Hecan surmise what will happen if Antony speaks after Brutus. The crows willbe all for Brutus, but as soon as Antony gets in front of the crowd, hewill turn their thoughts against the conspirators.

    He knows if they letAntony have the body of Caesar and the crowd all at one time, he will usethe body and his words against Brutus and Cassius. If they don’t let Antonyspeak, the crowd’s loyalty will stay on the side of the conspirators. Personally, I think both Brutus and Cassius have valid points, but Brutusvalues the ‘contract’ too much. I believe Cassius was right on the buttonpredicting what would happened if Antony spoke at Julius Caesar’s funeral.

    The characteristics of realists and idealist were represented very well inthis argument. Brutus, the idealist, was completely oblivious to thethought of someone breaking a contract. He is held under the belief ofeveryone is good. Cassius, the realist, could spot what might, and mostlikely will, happen. Cassius lets Brutus have his way again because heneeds him to help win back the crowds.

    The people of Rome trust Brutus. Heis the only one of the conspirators who has any validity with the peoplebecause they know he has only the good of Rome in mind. When Antony speaksat the funeral, he does, indeed, turn the people against the conspirators. All the conspirators, including Brutus and Cassius, flee the city to theirarmies. The third major squabble between Brutus and Cassius arises when thearmies are at camp with their armies in the mountains above the Plains ofPhilippi.

    They quarrel over battle tactics. Brutus thinks it’s best to godown the mountain and attack Antony and Octavius’s armies. Cassius wants towait on the mountain until the opposing armies come to them. Cassiusbelieves if they wait on the mountain, Antony’s troops will be worn out andwon’t be able to fight well.

    Brutus counters with the fact that they couldpick up fresh troops on the way up, or stop to rest in the many townsbetween them. Cassius knows if they march down, their troops will be theones tired and unable to fight at their best. Yet again, Brutus counterswith the idea of picking up fresh, rested troops in the towns between thearmies. Cassius knows if they fight on the Plains of Philippi, they will bea disadvantage, for they will be fighting on even ground with Antony’s armyin an open field.

    If they stay on their mountain and let the oppositioncome to them, Cassius’ troops will have the advantage of higher ground andcovered forest. Brutus believes if they go down to the Plains of Philippi,they will have the psychological advantage over Antony and Octavius’sforces. Coming down the mountain will shout to the rivals, “We are notafraid of you! We can make the first move!” Brutus knows Antony’s army getsbigger by the day, and if they get much bigger, the combined forces ofBrutus and Cassius won’t be able to stand much of a chance against them. Cassius, overall, believes if they wait on the mountain for the enemy tocome to them, they will still be rested, while the foe is worn out from thehike up the mountain. They will still have the land advantage and theknowledge of the area.

    Reflecting over the argument, I would side withCassius again. Even though having a psychological advantage against theopposition is a great thing to have, a well-rested army is needed just asmuch. If they know the land well, and the forces are healthy, they have amuch better chance of coming out victorious than if they march all the waydown the mountain to fight in an open battlefield. It seems as if Brutuswasn’t thinking clearly, or he was stuck on the other, minor advantagesthey would gain going down the mountain.

    After Cassius finds out aboutBrutus’s wife’s death, he doesn’t’ want to fight anymore. He doesn’t wantto make matters worse for Brutus by quarreling with him further, so he gavein. Pathetic fallacy also had a role in his surrender to Brutus. His camphad an eagle visiting every day for a couple of weeks.

    This is a good sign. When the eagle didn’t come back, and scavengers like crows and hawks tookits place, Cassius believed something was up. Much like an owl in the cityin the daytime, the presence of scavengers in a camp is a bad omen. Cassiusalso mentions that it was his birthday, and he just didn’t have a goodfeeling about anything. At the end of the play, both Cassius and Brutuskill themselves.

    Cassius feels he has betrayed his friend, and Brutusrefuses to be caught by Antony’s army.I have actually caught myself thinking about what might’ve happenedif Cassius hadn’t given into Brutus on one or more of the disagreements.How would things have changed if just one time he hadn’t given in? Wouldthey have had to go through the entire ordeal with the crowds if they wouldhave knocked off Antony at their first disagreement? If they let Antonylive, but not speak at the funeral, would they have had to flee the cityafter their second quarrel? If they waited on the mountain for the opposingforces to come to them, would they have won the war, or at least postponedtheir defeat? It all comes down to an idealist and a realist.1/07/04

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