Julius Caesar: Conspiring Against Caesar

Essay by rhoads420High School, 10th gradeA-, May 2004

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In Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, Decius Brutus and Mark Antony, both Roman Senators, eulogize Julius Caesar, each using a different technique and approach. Brutus, in a somewhat arrogant, to the point, eulogy, attempts to sway the people. He justifies conspiring against Caesar by stating that Caesar's ambition would have hurt Rome. However, in Antony's eulogy, he focuses on Caesar's positive traits, and cunningly disproves Brutus' justification for killing Caesar. The fickle Romans waver between leaders, responding emotionally, rather than intellectually, to the orators.

Brutus seeks to explain why he conspired against Caesar. He begins his speech with "Romans, countrymen ...", appealing to their consciousness as citizens of Rome, who, he later says, will benefit as freeman with Caesar's death. This shows that Brutus knows how to lure the crowd, appealing to their better judgement as Romans. He declares that he is an honorable man, and tells them that he will let them judge the validity of his claims.

That is, he will allow the truth to speak for itself. This encourages the crowd to believe him, as an honorable man. He says that he wants them to know the facts; "Censure me in your wisdom, and awake your senses that you may the better judge." Sharing information with the people is flattering and it almost guarantees acceptance. He gets their sympathy by saying that he loved Caesar, daring the people to find anyone who loved Caesar more. Brutus declares that he never wronged Caesar, that he cried for Caesar's love, was happy for his greatness, honored him for his courage, but had to kill him because of Caesar's ambition. He says that the reason for killing Caesar was his great love for Rome. He justifies his actions by saying that he loved Caesar but, "Not that I loved Caesar less,