Julius Caesar's Soliloquy in Act Two
Length: 850 words (2.4 double-spaced pages)
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In the play, Julius Caesar an important Soliloquy occurs in Act II,scene 1, lines 10-34. The passage is very important to the play because Brutus is deciding whether to join the conspiracy or not. Also an example of foreshadowing is used in the passage, because Brutus thinks, through the natural course of life, people with power become tyrants after a while. In the passage, conflict is also used because Brutus has to decide whether or not to betray Julius or join the conflict against Julius.
To support my thesis is Brutus is deciding if he should join the conspiracy against
Julius Caesar or not to join the conspiracy, this can be proved because Brutus says,
I know no reason to spurn him, But
for the general. He would be crowned.
How that might change his nature, there's the question.
( II, ii, 11-14)
Here Brutus is saying that he says no personal reason to kill him, but if Julius is crowned king, he would probably become a tyrant. In this passage, Brutus is making a decision based merely on an assumption. Another event within my passage to support my thesis is when Brutus says", By which he did ascend. So Caesar may; then lest he may, prevent".(II, iii, 27-28) Here I think Brutus is trying to say that Caesar will become power crazy and forget where he came from. In this part of Brutus' soliloquy, Brutus seems as though he probably will join the conspiracy at this point.
To support my thesis if Brutus is deciding to join the conspiracy against Caesar at
( I, ii, 135-162). If you are a conspirator it would be smart to bring Brutus in the conspiracy because no one would ever suspect Brutus would try to kill Caesar.
Here Brutus is explaining his inner feelings to Cassius. The sufferance of our souls, the time's
abuse. If these motives weak, break
off bedtimes. And every man hence
to his idle bed.
(II, i, 116-117)
This is a good chance for Cassius to get Brutus to join the conspiracy. Another important event is at ( I, ii, 18) where the soothsayer tells Ceasar to watch out for the eyes of March. This is a clue to an upcoming event in the story.
Caesar was warned many times during the play about the conspiracy. Ceasar was sent a letter warning him of the conspiracy. A portion of the letter as follows: To speak and strike? O Rome, I make thee
promise, If the redress will follow, thou receivest
Thy full petition at the hand of Brutus!
( II,i , 55-58)
Here Cassius has said that there is a plan to strike? I make the promise, if this happens, that the entire conspiracy rest in the hand of Brutus. I think that Lucius says in not too many words, that the entire conspiracy rests on Brutus. A few passages after the soliloquy. Brutus and the conspirators are discussing how they should kill Caesar.
Our course will seem too bloody, Caius Cassius,
To cut the head off and then hack the limbs,
Like wrath in death and envy afterwards; For
Antony is but a limb of Caesar.Lets be sacrificers,
but not butchers, Caius.
( II, i, 162-166)
In the passage the conspirators have decided that the best way to kill Caesar is by cutting off his head. They also say that they will be sacrificers not butchers. To me, when the conspirators say," lets be sacrificers , but not butchers".( II, i,166) , that's just a cop out
to say that they are killing Caesar in the name of the Gods, instead of the truth. Which is, they are killing Ceasar because they are jealous of him.
Recalling the first line of Brutus' soliloquy,"It must be by his death" .(II, i, 10) Virgil K. Whitaker says,"two assumptions are implicit in this remark. Caesar can be prevented from being king only by killing him, and killing a ruler is justified only if he is a tyrant".1Also in that same passage," I know no cause to spurn at him".(II, i , 11) Virgil K. Whitaker goes on to say:
Shakespeare has done his best to make the
fallacies in the reasoning obvious. Brutus says
explicity that he has no evidence to support the
conclusion that Caesar will become immoral and
that he must kill on an assumption without basis.
His error in assuming that he is acting for the Roman
people is proved by later events.2
Whitaker is right, Brutus makes a bad judgment based on a very outrageous assumption.
Adrien Bonjur idea of the first passage is very different from Virgil Whitaker's. He goes on to say.
This opening is at the same time a conclusion and thus
delicately suggests the longer inner conflict which has been
surging in Brutus's soul: it lends the whole monologue its
real perspective and depth.3
Here Adrien Bonjur says that the opening suggests a longer inner conflict that has been building up inside and waiting to come out. Robert Ornstein writes about the same passage,
It may be a common proof that power corrupts, but there is
no evidence , by Brutus' own candid admission, that Ceasar,
who has already risen to the heights of power-who
dominates Rome-has been corrupted. Thus despite the
general truth of Brutus' observations, his actual decision
to kill Caesar is based upon an almost incredible assumption: that the act of coronation will change the
nature of a man long accustomed to great power, whose
past( in Brutus' eyes) has been blameless and whose
temper is rational.4
A brief summary of the passage is Brutus is not jealous of Ceasar, but Cassius convinces Brutus that once Caesar is in power,
he will become a tyrant and enslave the people of Rome.
Figurative language as related to the thesis is foreshadowing, and a soliloquy occurs in (II, i , 10-34). Foreshadowing is used when Brutus said "he would rather be a village than to repute himself a son of Rome". This is an example of foreshadowing because Brutus says he would do anything to not be Caesar's slave even kill him. This is implying that he would probably be apart of the assassination attempt on Ceasar. Shakespeare's choice of words in the passage are nothing jealous, not at all doubting; work me of, persuade me of and aim meaning idea. All of these words in one meaning or
another, have something to do with persuading someone.
In conclusion, I would like to say that the passage I have chosen is very instrumental to the play. If Brutus doesn't join the conspiracy against Caesar, the story probably would have turned out much different and Caesar would likely still be alive.
Scott, Mark. Shakespeare Criticism. Detroit; Book Toweson Press, 1987.