Julius Caesar

Essay by frieswiththat February 2008

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Compare Brutus and Cassius in terms of their natures, attitudes, and intentions. Draw examples and quotations from the text to support your argument.In Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar”, no two characters differ as greatly as do Cassius and Brutus. Brutus’s rigid idealism and his inability to understand the true nature of men is a stark against Cassius’s deviousness and keen sense of perception. While Brutus’s determination to liberate Rome forces him to act against his love for Caesar, Cassius’s sense of republicanism is only second to his personal animosity for Caesar.

Cassius’s most significant trait is his ability to see “quite through the deeds of men”; Brutus, on the other hand, sometimes borders on the naïve and is almost unable to understand the true nature of people. He simply cannot understand that men like Cassius are inherently self-seeking by nature. When discussing Casca, Brutus dismisses him as a “blunt fellow” while the more perceptive Cassius insists that Casca merely “puts on this tardy form” to conceal his true intelligence.

This is perhaps due to their very different natures; Brutus is ruled by logical thought – which can be seen by his painstaking appraisal of the situation (“He would be crowned. / How that might change his nature, there’s the / question”) before making his decision to join the conspirators – and Cassius, by instinct. Brutus’s idealism causes him to make many miscalculations that prove to be politically fatal. When Cassius asserts that Mark Antony will prove to be “a shrewd contriver”, Brutus argues against his murder, telling him – with typical naivety – that “he [Mark Antony] can do no more than Caesar’s arm/ When Caesar’s head is off.” But Cassius understands that the “ingrafted love he [Mark Antony] bears to Caesar” will ultimately make...