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In Act 1, Scene 3 how does Cassius say he can escape tyranny?

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ineed-help | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted March 27, 2012 at 2:17 AM via web

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In Act 1, Scene 3 how does Cassius say he can escape tyranny?

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 27, 2012 at 2:49 AM (Answer #1)

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Cassius, unlike many of his co-conspirators, is unconcerned about the evil omens that seem to be appearing as they plan to assassinate Caesar. He claims, despite the violent storms, that it is a "very pleasing night to honest men," and that Casca, who is undecided, ought to join their plot. The alternative, he suggests, is feminine submission. When Casca claims that Caesar will declare himself king the next day, Cassius says he will kill himself rather than accept the rule of tyranny:

Cassius from bondage will deliver Cassius...But life, being weary of these worldly bars, Never lacks power to dismiss itself. If I know this, know all the world besides, That part of tyranny that I do bear I can shake off at pleasure.

The evocation of suicide as an acceptable alternative to tyranny would have been mildly shocking to Shakespeare's audiences, but it is a belief commonly held by Romans. In some ways, this is an important moment of foreshadowing in the play. In any case, it reveals the self-sacrificial nature of the plotters, which may be contrasted, perhaps, with Caesar's (and Antony's) ambition.


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