Nature of Power in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar

Nature of Power in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar

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Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare is a political drama which examines the nature of power and leadership in Rome. A conspiracy of eight men, headed by Cassius and Brutus, plan the assignation of their leader, Julius Caesar. However while Cassius is driven by envy, Brutus on the other hand believes he is acting for the good of Rome.
In Rome at the start of the play there is a vibrant atmosphere. As Caesar overthrows Pompey for the crown the crowd erupt into delight. In spite of the overwhelming support he still has a few doubters still lurking around. One of the discontented few, Brutus, opposes the idea of Caesar becoming King and gaining further power. ''I do fear the people who choose Caesar for their King.'' Brutus is heedful that this decision may effect the welfare of Rome by shattering the republic. Brutus is adamant that Rome's success was built on the fact that they had no ruler with his only line of thought being to weigh up what will benefit Rome and it's people the most. Cassius viewpoint on the issue is we shouldn't ever even contemplated offering Caesar this position.'' I was born free of Caesar and so were you.'' Cassius is saying that it was the rash of us to offer him power as this will harm Rome and take away. However Caesar has done very little wrong. The spite for Caesar erects from the view that he may gain too much power which illustrates the envy felt towards him. Another argument he compiled from him was that he found to his knowledge that Caesar couldn't handle pressure.''And when the fit was on him I did mark how he did shake''. He is mentioning at how he thinks this `unkingly` attribute he possesses hardly makes him fit for the job. It furthermore shows the extent of his envy by scrapping for little details like this. Brutus doesn't seem to agree with this.''Be any further moved by what you have said, I will consider what you have to say.'' The word ''consider'' reveals his caution as he attempts to decide in due course rather than to rush into the decision. It outlines him showing a sign of weakness by considering something he disagrees with. If he wasn't so open minded then the pairing of Brutus and Cassius may not of lasted.

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Caesar begins to acknowledge Cassius envy toward him.''Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look. He thinks far too much.'' The word `hungry` could be suggesting that he is almost desperate, as he craves for Caesar to be overthrown so dearly that his intentions appear to resemble thoughts more for personal gain than justice for Rome. Caesar view on him embodies the idea of him being eager when there is no need to be. An example of his underhand approach when Cassius is talking about how his plans for the assignation where Brutus thinks differently for him. He concludes from this he has been influenced by others.''Well Brutus thou art noble, yet I see thy honourable mettle may be wrought.'' Cassius displays very sound manipulation tactics. By first complimenting him and then making his point he attempts to stigmatise the discussion in his own favour by creating dought in his mind.
Brutus receives a letter Cassius reinforcing his own aims and desires.''Speak, strike, redress Brutus thou sleep'st awake. Such instigations have often been dropped whereas I have took them up.'' This again is manipulation,this putting time as it puts guilt on Brutus mind when there really shouldn't be any inquiry into that at all. Yet again is shows him up as being again as being a shrewd operator.
It is shown that the conspirators believe Brutus to be a man of honour.''Oh Cassius is how could but to win the noble Brutus to our party.'' Where Cassius's thoughts are obsessive Brutus remains true to himself and all that he does duly earning him the name 'a man of honour.'
Brutus feels a degree of distress towards the assassination of Caesar.''Since Cassius first did whet me against Caeser,I have not slept.'' I can be seen that Brutus has slight misgivings as comes to term with the issue. Being such a philosophical man it is easy to see why this is the case. As he feels so personally attached to the issue he makes reservations on how the assignation should be conducted.''Lets be sacrifices but not Butchers'' and also ''Lets carve him out as a dish fit for the gods, not hew him as a dish fit for the hounds.'' The quotes show how Brutus has endearing feelings for Caesar but through an array of passion and belief for Rome,simultaneously,feels no despair. Cassius believes that Antony should die as well because he feels giving him an abundance of Power could be detrimental. ''A shrewd contriver and you know his means,if he improve them,may well sketch so far.''Cassius is thinking more of personal gain in this instance as he sketches his belief that human life is not a issue and shouldn't get in the way of things. Brutus adamantly rejects the claims. He believes the assassination shouldn't turn them into bludgeoning ,bloody criminals and that are far better of being humane in what they undertake.
Brutus informs the crowd that there ambition for Rome overcame there feelings for Caesar. One technique used by Shakespeare is repetition.''I weep for him as he was decent, I rejoice at him as he was valiant.'' Brutus speaks like he is making a prayer. The repetition of 'I' would make it personal to himself. Another technique used is word choice.''To you our swords have leaden points.'' The techniques used are used to emphasize their remorse and pity they feel to Caesar. His style during the speech he effectivly uses sentences which reflects several emotions in few words. The words flow well, and accompanied with his heartfelt honesty the audience become grasped by what he says. His use of strong use word choice and repetition suggest he wanted to get his point across. It suggests he wants to get his point across. As he would of been reflecting on a serene venture, which ended in the tragedy of death, he would be emotional but enlightened by the prospects which lay ahead.
In Antony's final speech he praises Brutus for being stern and courageous. he summarises that his integrity is something which best define him as a person. His egoist outlook and unbroken loyalty for individuals and especially for Rome was doubtless throughout and this rare quality is what gave people faith in him.''So mixed in him that nature might stand up itself and say,this was a man.'' He displays greater understanding and reasoning than the bulk of the indulgent Romans An unusual quality to think of the greater good, especially in a egocentric place like Rome. But Brutus certainly orchestrated it.
In Julius Caesar shakespeare examines the nature of power and how individuals are affected by it. Cassius is someone who is driven by envy and deceitfulness and who acts more for himself than for benefiting Rome. In the contrary, Brutus's characterization is conveyed by honour and caution and believes in serving Rome for the greater good. The play delivers some strong messages. One message in particular that seems to sum up the play best through the idea that when a decision is made, somebody is always adversly affected. They made a decision to assassinate Caesar over a possible gain of too much power, even though he was decent. A thought forever remains in ones mind: Through such decisive actions of an ancient era, why in todays modern world, do we remain content to accept decisions from goverments who top concern is not to help people, but to win votes?
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