Caesar has been chosen by the people. Why do Cassius, Casca, and Brutus consider themselves qualified to override this choice in Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare?

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carol-davis eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare provides an opportunity to look into the hearts of men.  Caesar was the most powerful man in Rome. Much like other historical leaders, he had charisma and the ability to draw people in under his spell.

These three powerful men thought that they were so superior to the people that they would not have considered their opinion. Also, from the pliability of the people, they were not sure who they wanted.  Remember the scene with the funeral orations.  The crowd changed their minds three different times.

                 All:         Live Brutus, live, live!        FOURTH CITIZEN:'Twere best he speak no harm of Brutus hereSECOND CITIZEN:O noble Caesar!FIRST CITIZEN:This Caesar was a tyrantSECOND CITIZEN:Most noble Caesar! We'll revenge his deathFIRST CITIZEN:We'll burn the house of Brutus. 

The conspiracy was instigated  by Cassius. In two different places in the play, Cassius explains his reasons for wanting Caesar dead. In Act I, Scene ii, he tells Brutus that Caesar was weak and begged Cassius to save him from drowning. They are both free as Caesar.  Cassius observed Caesar having an epileptic seizure which was considered then to be a kind of mental injury. Cassius considers himself the equal of Caesar,and Caesar does not deserve to be Emperor of Rome.

Brutus has been concerned about the power that Caesar wields.  His thought process takes him to possibilities.  What if Caesar becomes too powerful and what if he becomes a tyrannt? In his self-discussion, he uses one of the best analogies in literature:

And therefore think him as a serpent's egg
Which hatch'd would as his kind grow mischievous,
And kill him in the shell.

Brutus thinks he has logical reasoned that we will kill Caesar before he has the chance to hatch out of the egg and sting the Roman government and the people.

Casca is a follower.  His purpose in the play is to provide information.  He tells about Caesar accepting the crown. Later, he tells Cassius about the omens that he has seen in Rome.  He does stab Caesar first which tells the reader that he does have confidence in what the conspirators are doing.

The conspirators as a unit would have said that they were doing killing Caesar to keep Rome under senatorial rule. They also would have said that they were assassinating a tyrant so that the Roman Citizen would remain free.

Each one had their own personal reasons.  As Antony notes in the last scene of the play, only Brutus stabbed Caesar for the reason of the benefit of Rome.


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Julius Caesar

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