Define conspirators in the play Julius Caesar  by William Shakespeare.

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carol-davis eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar is a political drama.  Based on actual events from 44 B.C., the play brings to life the tragic assassination of Caesar and the final solution for the assassins.  

The drama unfolds in five acts.  Each act and scene serve a particular purpose in the revealing of the steps leading to the assassination, and then the battles which led to the deaths of all of the conspirators. 

Definition: The word conspirator denotes one who plots or schemes in this drama to kill Caesar. Other words used as synonyms for the conspirator are traitor, conspirer, and intriguer.  All of the conspirators are part of a conspiracy which involves an agreement to perform together an illegal, wrongful act. 

In Julius Caesar, the instigator of the assassination plot is Caius Cassius, a Roman soldier and senator.  Cassius wants Caesar dead for personal reasons.

  • Cassius believes that Caesar is weak.
  • He thinks that Caesar is not better than any other Roman.
  • Cassius is jealous of the Caesar’s power.
  • Caesar has grown arrogant

Marcus Brutus does not initially join the conspiracy.  Cassius approaches Brutus and hints at the plot.  Brutus ponders his feelings and reasons and unites with schemers on the eve of the Ides of March.

After Brutus cogitates about the assassination, he enumerates his reasons for enlisting:

  • Caesar might become too powerful.
  • Caesar might forget the people who have helped him in the past.
  • If Caesar becomes the emperor, how will he handle his position?
  • The plotters must kill him to prevent him from abusing the power he might obtain.
  • For the good of Rome
  • Brutus has no personal reasons for killing Caesar.

The final plan is set in motion at Brutus’s house.  The other conspirators who are less important include these senators:

  • Decius Brutus, Metallus, Casca, Trebonius, Caius Ligarius, Metallus Cimber, and Cinna

Each conspirator had his own reasons for wanting Caesar dead. 

If the conspiracy were judged based on the murder of Caesar, it was successful.  Caesar was stabbed to death with over 25 knife wounds.  On the other hand, all of the conspirators also died painful deaths as well.

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Julius Caesar

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