What is an example of ambition in Julius Caesar?

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e-martin | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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The clearest example of ambition in the play can be found in Caesar. Julius Caesar is assassinated, in large part, because of what the conspirators saw as his great ambition. He wanted to become the supreme ruler of Rome and to end its democracy, while "...the conspirators are champions of popular rule."

The conspiracy aimed to end this ambition and to ensure that the political body of Rome remained democratic in principle. 

Immediately after Caesar is slain, Brutus proclaims to his fellow conspirators that "ambition's debt is paid" (III.i.82).

Caesar's goal is the first and most clear example of ambition in the play, but not the only act that can be read as a symptom of ambition. 

The conspiracy seeks to ensure that the republic remains democratic in nature, however, those who lead the conspiracy stand to gain considerable power for themselves after Caesar is killed. Brutus is talked into participating via a play upon his principles and his vanity. 

Brutus feels that he is capable of leadership and he expects to gain some power for himself when Caesar is removed. 

Finally, Marc Antony acts on his own ambitions, grasping the mantle of leadership and using the conspiracy's actions as a convenient launch for his own vault into leadership. 

...the most ambitious of the play's characters is not Caesar or Brutus, but Mark Antony, who exploits the situation at hand...


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