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Describe the complexities of Caesar’s character. How do you feel about him—is he...

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cheyennebell95 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 28, 2011 at 12:21 AM via web

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Describe the complexities of Caesar’s character. How do you feel about him—is he worthy of the public’s love or deserving of betrayal? Explain.

"Julius Caesar" by William Shakespeare

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lsumner | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted May 28, 2011 at 1:43 AM (Answer #2)

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I believe Caesar had become overly ambitious; otherwise, the honorable Brutus, who did love Caesar, would never have agreed to murder him. Brutus contemplates the assassination of Caesar. Brutus cares about the citizens of Rome more than he cares about his own happiness.

The fact that Cassius forged letters containing grievances from the citizens of Rome, Brutus acts after he hears what he thinks is the voice of the citizens of Rome.

Brutus is honorable. He loved Caesar, but he did not approve of his ambition. Power does change people. Perhaps, power was becoming more important to Caesar than the people's rights.

Brutus does the right thing. Caesar has become power hungry. He is pompous in his response to the soothsayer, indicating that the Ides of March has arrived with no danger. The soothsayer was only trying to warn Caesar, adding that the Ides of March was not over. In return, Caesar makes snide remarks to the soothsayer. Caesar is not grateful for the warning. He is indignant that the soothsayer would mention any such danger. This is perhaps Caesar's ego talking. Who could possibly have any fault with Caesar? is Caesar's attitude.

Brutus loved Caesar but is convinced that Caesar had to die. Brutus loved the Caesar he had known as a good man, but the Caesar who had become ambitious had to die. Brutus put aside his feelings for the good of Rome.

"I came, I saw, I conquered," Caesar's famous words. This type of arrogancy is what led the conspirators to the assassination of the overly ambitious Caesar.

Power can corrupt the least, let alone the great.

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hilahmarca | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted August 31, 2011 at 2:05 PM (Answer #3)

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Shakespeare slants the play to make Caesar a victim in contrast to the clearly greedy and jealous Cassius.  He also builds sympathy for Caesar when Antony reads his will that gives much of his money and land to the people of Rome.  However, I find too many signs that Caesar is every bit as dangerous as Cassius claims he is.  First, it is easy to tell Cassius isn't the only person fed up with Caesar's overpowerful ways.  Flavius and Murullus express their anger toward Caesar for conquering the respected Roman Pompei.  In Act I, Scene II, Caesar is shown having a false sense of modesty when he passes on the thrown thinking the citizens will beg him to take it, but fakes a fainting spell and lashes out in anger when they cheer his decision.  Caesar wants nothing short of being all powerful and invincible.  Brutus does a good job of explaining this to the people.  However, Antony gets the last word and uses a lot of emotional arguments to sway the ignorant people the other way.

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