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For an essay to persuade someone that Caesar would've been a better ruler, what are...

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writer-94 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted May 12, 2010 at 1:11 AM via web

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For an essay to persuade someone that Caesar would've been a better ruler, what are some things that can be used against Cassius & Brutus? 

The assignment we have been given is to write an essay to persuade some one that either cassius and Brutus or  Caesar would have been better to lead Rome.

Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare

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scarletpimpernel | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 12, 2010 at 1:31 AM (Answer #1)

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Cassius' weaknesses:

-He simply doesn't possess the necessary leadership skills.  While he is able to get a conspiracy together to eliminate Caesar, he realizes that he needs someone with Brutus's leadership qualities to actually carry out the plot.  If he cannot successfully lead a small group of educated and experienced men, then he would not be able to lead the massive Roman Empire.

-Similarly, Cassius is too sensitive.  He worries about whether Brutus is mad at him.  He doubts himself when Brutus negates his ideas.  Someone such as this does not possess the confidence or thick skin to lead.  Caesar had both.

Brutus's weaknesses:

-While Brutus does inspire his followers (unlike Cassius), he does not possess the ability to make wise judgments.  The litany of his many poor decisions throughout the play eventually leads to his downfall.  Caesar, while arrogant, knew how to make split-second decisions (think of his success on the battlefield) and did not doubt those decisions afterwards.

-Brutus does not seem to truly know the Roman people.  This is evidenced in his funeral speech and in some of the decisions he makes.  In contrast, Caesar--and Antony--possesses the persuasive ability to sway the people in whatever direction he chooses, hence, his skill in getting them to offer him a crown.  Part of this ability in Caesar's character stems from his knowledge of the Roman people's likes and dislikes.  He knows when he writes his will exactly what will cause the people to idolize him even after he is dead.  Likewise, he knows that the people look forward to the spoils of battle that he bestows upon them when he returns to Rome.  In essence, Caesar is a better politician than Brutus is.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 12, 2010 at 1:58 AM (Answer #2)

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In writing a persuasive essay, the writer must be sure to provide reasons for his/her points as well as refute the possible counterarguments.  [Be sure to quote from the play, citing lines and passages as support for your reasons.]  Here are some traits on Cassius and Brutus that can be considered in your arguments against them:

BRUTUS-

  • too idealistic:

Easily persuaded by Cassius to be conspirator (Act I)

Brutus is too impractical; he is flawed in his philosophical commitment to principal.  When he should listen to Cassius regarding battle strategies, he does not (Act IV).

  • poor political judgment

Makes a bad judgment in allowing Marc Antony to address the Romans after Caesar's death (Act III),thus unwittingly causes the civil strife in Rome.

Does not listen to Cassius, who tells him to kill Antony (Act III); later, Antony hurls insults at him and Cassius and leads the triumvir in defeating Brutus and Cassius (Act V).

CASSIUS

  • self-serving and envious

Cassius is self-serving and does not have the good of Rome in mind when he seeks to have Caesar killed.  He is envious of Caesar's power, speaking of how Caesar is a "Colossus" and he and the others must walk underneath him. (Act I) Even Caesar notices this "lean and hungry" look on Cassius.  In the "seduction scene" where he convinces Brutus to join the conspiracy, he offers no concrete evidence of Caesar's tyranny and ambition, instead speaking of the stature he has attained and his physical weakness.

  • dishonest

After speaking with Brutus in Act I, he plans to further convince him by sending forged letters, ostensibly from Roman citizens attesting to Caesar's alleged ambitions.

  • weak in military/political action

Cassius is too emotional; his love for Brutus causes him to defer to Brutus, whose political decisions are clouded by idealism. (Act III-Antony) (Act IV, iii)  When Brutus disagress with him about waiting in Sardis and making the Philippi use their energies and resources by coming to them, Cassius defers. This act brings about the defeat of their troops.

  • inconsistent

While he scoffed at Brutus for believing in fate in Act I, Cassius later becomes superstitious, thus making poor decisions. (Act V)

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