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In Act II, Scene i, of Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, how does Brutus...

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user9291974 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 10, 2013 at 8:45 PM via web

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In Act II, Scene i, of Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, how does Brutus demonstrate his inner turmoil?

Act II,i 63-69

"Between the acting of a dreadful thing/And the first motion, all the interim is/ Like a phantasma, or a hideous dream./ The genius and the mortal instruments./ Are then in council, and the state of a man,/ Like to a little kingdom, suffers then/ The nature of an insurrection." 

 

 

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carol-davis | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 11, 2013 at 5:06 AM (Answer #1)

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It has been a month since Cassius asked Brutus to join the conspiracy. During this time, Brutus has had many sleepless nights considering what to do about Julius Caesar and his desire for power and the crown of Rome.

In Act II, Scene i,  Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, it is the Ides of March.  On this day, Julius Caesar plans to go to the Capitol and senate to be crowned as the emperor.  Alone in his garden, Brutus conveys his reasons for joining the assassination plot.  

For the last month, Brutus has been conflicted. He does love Caesar and has never really seen him do anything based on greed or lust for power.  Yet, Brutus does not know what Caesar will do when he gains the crown. He may forget the people and misuse his authority.  In addition, Caesar might overlook those who helped him along the way. 

Brutus bases his decision on possibilities rather than facts.  He does not know what Caesar will do.  If there is a chance that Caesar will not be good for Rome and its citizens, then Brutus is willing to prevent him from being crowned by assassinating Caesar. 

Brutus explains the difficulty in the carrying out of such a plan: 

Between the acting of a dreadful thing

And the first motion, all the interim is

Like a phantasma or a hideous dream;

…the state of man, like to a little kingdom,

Suffers then the nature of an insurrection.

When a dreadful plan is discussed and then carried out, the time between is nightmarish.  An individual suffers from turmoil as if he were a county involved in a civil war.

The external conflict involves the actual conspiracy and the decisions were made concerning the plans.  The conspirators have controversy within the group because Cassius and Brutus disagree about what should be done about Marc Antony.  Brutus overrules Cassius and allows Antony to live rather than kill him along with Caesar. 

Furthermore, Brutus will not let the group swear an oath to secrecy and allegiance to each other.  In his naiveté, Brutus believes that if someone joins the conspiracy he is doing it for the good of Rome. Cassius thinks that everyone needs to make a promise to follow the plans of the conspiracy. 

In the end, Caesar is assassinated, and eventually, all of the assassins die as well.

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