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How does Cassius praise Brutus in Julius Caesar by Shakespeare?

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leahatkins | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 13, 2013 at 12:06 PM via iOS

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How does Cassius praise Brutus in Julius Caesar by Shakespeare?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 14, 2013 at 8:37 PM (Answer #1)

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In what has come to be known as the "seduction scene (Act I, Scene 2) " Cassius appeals to Brutus to join the conspirators by praising his sense of honor and equality, as well as his republican ideals.

  • Honor 

Brutus begins his "seduction" by flattering Brutus that Roman citizens look to him as a better leader than Caesar under whom they groan with "this age's yoke," or tyranny. Then, as Brutus asks Cassius what it is that he wishes to speak of, Cassius tells Brutus that since he knows what virtue lies in Caesar, "honor is the subject of my story" (1.2.98)

  • Equality

Arguing that Caesar has "now become a god," Cassius tells Brutus, although Cassius has had to help him when he had a seizure. Further, he tells Brutus that there is no reason that Caesar should be help above the other noblemen; Brutus is as worthy as Caesar,

Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
Like a Colossus, and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs and peep about
To find ourselves dishonorable graves.
Men at some time are masters of their fates:
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.
Brutus, and Caesar: what should be in that Caesar?
Why should that name be sounded more than yours?
Write them together, yours is as fair a name; (1.2.141-150)

  • Republican Ideals

Brutus, then, appeals to their desire for Rome to hold republican ideals and not allow a despot to run the country.  He recalls for his friend another named Brutus who helped to expel the last King of Rome and found the Republic in 509 B.C.

There was a Brutus once that would have brooked
Th' eternal devil to keep his state in Rome....(1.2.186-187)

Clearly, Brutus is moved; he tells Cassius that he knows he loves him. He promises to consider the arguments of Cassius and admits that Rome has "hard conditions" under which it exists as a republic.

Later, in Scene 2, Cassius has Casca tell Brutus about how Caesar pretended to not want a crown offered him, but after it was offered to him three times, Caesar "would fain have had it" and when it was offered again, Caesar's hands lingered on this coronet. Further, Brutus intimates that Caesar tries to win Brutus over sometimes, so he should join himself with other "noble minds." 

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