Describe how the conspiracy progresses until the assassination of Caesar in Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare. 

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In the drama Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, Cassius has been planning to eliminate the threat of Caesar being named as the Emperor of Rome. How did the conspiracy come to fruition?

In Act I, Scene ii

Cassius finds Brutus alone on a street.  Brutus, like Cassius, is a senator.  Brutus is popular both with the people and with the other senators.  Caesar also considered Brutus to be a friend. 

Cassius begins to talk to Brutus about his unhappiness with the prospect of living under the rule of Caesar.  At the time the Roman government was a republic.  Cassius lists several reasons why Caesar is no better that he or Brutus.  In addition, on at least three occasions, Cassius has seen Caesar in a weakened position. 

  • 1st- Cassius had to save Caesar from drowning after Caesar challenged him to a swim.
  • 2nd-Caesar had a fever and begged Cassius to give him water. He moaned and groaned as a woman might.
  • 3rd-Caesar had a fit or seizure.  Cassius sees this as a sign of weakness.

Cassius believes that he is just as deserving as Caesar to become the ruler of Rome. Brutus agrees to think over what Cassius has presented to him. The two will meet in the near future.

In Act 1, Scene iii

Casca and Cassius meet in the streets at night.  Cassius bears his chest and dares the gods to strike him if he is not doing the right thing.

After a discussion concerning whether Casca is a willing slave or one who is willing to strike out against Caesar, Casca agrees to join the conspiracy.  The two along with Cinna go to meet the other conspirators at Pompey’s Porch.

Act II, Scene i

Brutus explains that he has spent many sleepless nights trying to decide what he was going to do.  Then, he denotes his reasons for joining the assassination plan.

Brutus admits that he has never seen Caesar do anything but good for Rome; however, he fears what Caesar would do if he were given too much power.  Using the comparison of Caesar to a serpent that a person should avoid or be stung, and calling him the serpent in the egg which should be killed before it is hatched, Brutus determines that Caesar might be a bad ruler. It is too dangerous to chance this. 

The other conspirators come to Brutus early in the morning of the Ides of March.  Cassius introduces all of the conspirators to Brutus. They finalize their plans. 

Brutus begins to make several bad decisions that will eventually lead to the downfall of the assassins.  He did not believe that the conspirator should make a pledge and conclude it with a handshake.  Brutus is very high minded and holds people to their word.

Secondly, Brutus disagrees that Marc Antony should be assassinated along with Caesar.  He believes that it would be too bloody.  He also thinks that once Caesar is dead, Antony will be no problem. 

Our course will seem too bloody, Caius Cassius
To cut the head off and then hack the limbs
Like wrath in death and envy afterwards;
For Antony is but a limb of Caesar
Let us be sacrificers, but not butchers, Caius.

With these decisions and plans, the conspirators are ready to go the house of Caesar and accompany him to the Capitol, the senate, and his death. 

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Julius Caesar

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