Julius Caesar Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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"In an attempt to resolve problems, violence must not be employed; for violence does not truly resolve anything; rather it induces enmity and revenge.": Does this idea hold true in "Julius Caesar"?

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The problem of violence and when it is justified is at the heart of “Julius Caesar”. The murder of Caesar is the act of violence first agonized over, then carried out in the first half of the play; in the second half we see the murder trigger acts of violence – including the self-inflicted kind – that destroy most of the play’s principal characters. So: was the violence visited on Caesar worth it? Looking at the fate of Brutus and Cassius, you might say no: they are both driven to suicide, and the civil war that engulfs Rome triggers more suicides (Portia and Titinius) and many murders (Cinna the Poet and, offstage, Casca and the rest of the conspirators). Not everyone loses when things turn violent though; there are two big winners: Octavius and Antony. Calculating and unsentimental, Octavius fills the power vacuum that is left by Caesar’s death, and calls on Antony and Aemilius Lepidus to form a triumvirate that will rule Rome. Though they all were allies of Caesar, or at least opposed to those who killed him, they all benefitted from Caesar’s removal. As far as how their three-party rule worked out, the story will continue in “Antony and Cleopatra”.

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