What is the general theme of Julius Caesar? is "est qui tu brutus" the general theme or does it play a significant role in the theme?

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amy-lepore eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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"Et tu Brutus" does play a significant role in the play.  One of the many themes in this play is betrayal.  Julius Caesar trusts Brutus, as the people trust the Senate, to have his/their best interests in mind.  Brutus betrays Julius by allowing himself to be swayed by the other conspirators and becoming one of the murderers of Caesar in the Senate--not exactly in Caesar's best interest.

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Dayana Windler eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Another way of looking at the theme is through power and ambition. Brutus decides to murder his dear friend just in case he is to become corrupt. The power Caesar is able to wield is incredible. This worries the senators, particularly Brutus, who states he would sacrifice his own life for the good of Rome. Ironically, though, Caesar really hasn't shown any hints that he will be corrupted by his power. How "est qui tu brutus" ties into this theme is how Caesar feels betrayed that even his close friend Brutus would conspire to kill him when it is really unwarranted. They are just killing him in case he becomes corrupt. So much for free will.

Another interesting side to this is, of course, Cassius, who manipulates Brutus into taking part in the scheme to kill Caesar. While Brutus is the most noble of characters, he alone is acting for the good of Rome, Cassius is greedy and tricks Brutus into helping bring Caesar down when Cassius wants the same ambition and power that resulted in Caesar's murder.

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linda-allen eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The general theme of the play Julius Caesar could be regicide, as noted in the answer above, but it could also be simply a power struggle between the senate and the absolute authority of a king/dictator. The senate had been the ruling body of Rome for many decades, and the fear that Caesar's popularity with the people would lead them to crown him king would diminish the senate's power.

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renelane eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The general theme is regicide. It is the concept of whether  the killing of a king is justifiable as a means of ending (or preventing) the tyranny of dictatorship .  Brutus plays a great part in this general theme. Brutus kills Caesar in the name of liberty, fearing that absolute power and Caesar's view of himself as more than a mere mortal will enslave Rome to the will of a single man.

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ineed-help | Student

 There are several themes in Julius Caesar, for example: friendship and betrayal, public and private self,and most importantly the political issues that were in that time as well as in the Elizabethan Age. The general themes and political questions are: Who is considered and well worth to be in charge? Is it that Julius is a great leader or was he so arrogant and conceited that it blinding him?? AS for the " Et tu Brute?" this really is one of the important  themes which are: betrayal. When brutus kills Caesar it is true that he did it for honourable reasons but didn't he have insecurities? It is shown when Cassius convinces him that "Brutus" can be as mighty as"Caesar". Brutus is convinced though not fully. Reminder: Brutus was so in contact with his private self that it leaves us to ask: does he have insecurities? well, he does, he loves ceasar but he is afraid caesar be king.   

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reetikajaiswal | Student

William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar is a tragedy as it shows how the hero of the play rises from a humble position to that of popularity, power and prestige but ultimately meets a tragic end due to a flaw in his personality. The play Julius Caesar shows how politicking and intrigues, motivated by jealousy, of close friends of a noble person may lead to the tragic end of the hero. The tragedy Julius Caesar dramatises how the blind trust in the persuasive words of close friends proved to be fatal for Caesar.

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pjade | Student

The theme of this play is multiple in number.Te main theme is conspiracy,power,greed,betrayal etc.Other themes are difference of perspective.That means that Antony saw Caesars death as betrayal and disloyalty.Brutus sees it as sacrifice and Cassius sees it as power and success.The other conspirators see it as "liberty ,freedom!".The same way cassius and casca saw thw storm in different ways.The theme can also be the role of women.Other themes are superstitions and the role they play ,manipulation etc.


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abhinavsinha | Student

like any interpretation, the attempt to fix the meaning of this playcannot be called a definitive pronouncement.many critics have differd on the meaning or theme.eminent brit critics maintain that the security of the state, the tragedy of those who would misguidedly alter the necessary course of history, is central, while eminent ameriacan critics argue that the death of liberty , through the failure of brutus and his colleagues , is the central meaning.

the best theme according to me is indeed couched in cassius' view: no man is composed of honesty and integrity undiluted.

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smhaskovec | Student

The major theme of Julius Caesar is that misused power is a corruptive force. The minor themes of the play include loyalty, honor, friendship, pride, conspiracy, anarchy, the logic of political order, and the viability of republicanism as a form of government.

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breakthroser | Student

"est qui tu brutus" is not the general theme. It means "are you there Brutus" in french. The "general theme" is tragedy.

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dermotgill | Student

The major theme in Julius Caesar is "the corruption and fear of Power". The conspiriators excluding Brutus are fearful that Caesar is becoming too powerful. They will lose out if he becomes emperor for life.There is a selfishness in their actions to murder Caesar. They realise that they must get Brutus on their side. Their disposal of Caesar must be seen as a "noble act" something that is for the good of Rome. Cassius builds up a picture of an overbearing Caesar to Brutus and he is eventually convinced. The sinister plot or the conspiriators grab at power is all to transparent after they have  carried out their task.

There is a new challenge for power between the conspiriators and Caesar's good friend Mark Anthony. Mark Anthony easily gains the moral high ground and is triumphant in the battle.

The hidden theme of the success of "good" over "evil" is inadvertenly upheld. So in essence the overiding theme in Julius Caesar is mans quest for power and the degrees they are willing to go to achieve this.


Dermot Gill (8/7/2011)

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