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In Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, how does Brutus justify the assassination of Caesar?

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darshika25 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Honors

Posted October 3, 2012 at 9:09 PM via web

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In Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, how does Brutus justify the assassination of Caesar?

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 3, 2012 at 10:05 PM (Answer #1)

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In his speech to the Roman crowd after Caesar's assassination, Brutus emphasizes first that he was Caesar's dear friend, but that he had to kill him for the good of Rome. In short, he claims that his action demonstrated "not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more." It was out of a sense of duty to the Roman Republic, which Brutus argued was under threat due to Caesar's ambition:

As Caesar loved me, I weep for him; as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was valiant, I honor him; but as he was ambitious, I slew him.

He concludes his speech by offering the citizens of Rome a stark choice, essentially arguing that had Caesar survived, he would have deprived them of their status as citizens of a free republic, and because none wanted to see that happen, Brutus says, "none have I offended." The crowd agrees with Brutus, but of course is then swayed by Antony's oration, which drew heavily on pathos.

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