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Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar portrays the assassination of one of the great leaders of the Roman Empire. Because of his lust for power, Caesar started a civil war which ended in the killing of Pompey, another popular leader in Rome. Caesar’s latest battles ended in the defeat and murder of Pompey’s sons.
This war between two of Rome’s great citizens angered many people in the government. Pompey had been popular and less interested in personal gain. At one time, Pompey had been part of the triumvirate with Caesar which ruled the Roman Republic.
To answer the question as to what happens to Flavius, the reader would need to look forward in the play to Act I, Scene ii.
Casca comes into the area where Brutus and Cassius have been talking. Brutus and Cassius ask Casca what has been going on with the celebrations. One of the things that he tells them is that Flavius and Marullus are put to silence for pulling the scarves off Caesar’s statues. Casca implies that the tribunes have been executed for their actions. No more information is given in the play.
What did Flavius and Marullus do to be executed?
When the play begins, it is February 15, 44 B. C. in Rome. This date was the Lupercal, a holiday celebrating fertility. All of Rome would come and line the streets to watch the activities including a marathon race in which Marc Antony ran. Caesar was also going to walk through the streets to be celebrated by the people.
Although the first scene does not seem particularly important, it serves three purposes: it introduces the idea that Caesar is not popular with everyone; it foreshadows the events to come; and it demonstrates the malleability of the commoners. The scene begins with a group of workmen in the streets on their way to the watch the celebration.
Two of the tribunes—Flavius and Marullus-- confront the workers. As tribunes, they are elected to protect the people. One of their jobs is to prevent civil disorder.
The reasons for their execution are clear.
Marullus tells the workmen that they should be ashamed to honor the murderer of the great Pompey to whom the citizens of Rome had previously applauded in the streets. Now, the Romans are going to pay homage to Caesar who has the blood of Pompey on his hands.
O…you cruel men of Rome,
Knew you not Pompey? Many a time
Have you climb'd up to walls…
To towers and windows,
Your infants in your arms, and there have sat
The live-long day To see great Pompey pass the streets of Rome.
The commoners seemed more interested in having a holiday from work than who is to be revered. The tribunes send them home.
Flavius and Marullus are two of the supporters of Pompey. They fear the ambition of Caesar. Their feelings are so strong that they are willing to put themselves at risk by taking the decorations of flowers and banners from the statues of Caesar along the streets.
Go you down that way towards the Capitol;
This way will I. Disrobe the images,
If you do find them deck'd with ceremonies.
Between the two of them, Flavius is less excitable and angry in his demeanor. He really did not antagonize the common people as did Marullus. Flavius tells Marullus that by taking the decorations from the statues people will think that Caesar is a more ordinary man. They are also going to send any other citizens home if they find them in the streets. These actions would have been considered an affront to Caesar and obviously were punishable by death.
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