How does Brutus's death compare to Cassius's death as far as being honorable is considered in the play Julius Caesar? 

Expert Answers
thetall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Cassius and Brutus are forced to flee from Rome after the assassination of Caesar. All conspirators are marked for death by the Second Triumvirate of Octavia, Mark Antony, and Lepidus. The Triumvirate pursues Brutus and Cassius to eliminate them and stop the chances of their comeback.

In their first armed engagement, Cassius and Brutus emerge victorious against the second triumvirate. However, Cassius interprets the cheers and grabbing of Titinus as a loss on their side and commits suicide by asking Pindarus to drive the sword through his chest:

O coward that I am, to live so long
To see my best friend ta'en before my face!

In the second engagement, the Second Triumvirate emerges victorious, forcing Brutus to commit suicide by running into the sword held by Strato:

I shall have glory by this losing day,
More than Octavius and Mark Antony
By this vile conquest shall attain unto.

Brutus and Cassius's death are similar in that they both die of swords running through their chest. However, their state of mind is different when they meet their end. Cassius seems to regret killing Caesar because of the turn of events, but Brutus remains adamant that he did what was necessary.

It seems that Brutus’s death is honorable compared to that of Cassius, which was motivated by fear. Antony supports this assertion by stating that Brutus was the noblest of all the Romans and while the other conspirators killed Caesar out of envy, Brutus did it for the greater good. Brutus believed in his cause and was ready and willing to pay the ultimate price to the very end.

gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Act Five, Scene 3, Cassius orders Pindarus to watch Titinius and report back to him what is happening in the battle. Pindarus mistakenly reports to Cassius that Titinius is surrounded and being attacked by Antony's troops. Upon hearing this news, Cassius orders Pindarus to take his sword and stab him while he covers his eyes. Cassius's suicide is the result of Pindarus's misinterpretation and is not as honorable as Brutus's death. Throughout the play, Cassius's motivations for assassinating Caesar are selfish and ambitious in nature. Cassius's refusal to watch as his slave stabs him parallels his less than honorable life. In contrast, Brutus instructs Strato to hold his sword as he runs into it. Brutus commits suicide because he refuses to live under the leadership of Antony and Octavius. Brutus literally and figuratively faces his death head on. He does not close his eyes and make someone else take his life but instead chooses to run directly into his own sword. Brutus's honorable death reflects his noble intentions throughout the play. Even Antony and Octavius recognize Brutus's noble life after they find his dead body.

lsumner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Both Brutus and Cassius commit suicide. Cassius incorrectly hears that Brutus is defeated. that is why he commits suicide. He was dependent on Brutus for his leardership. Cassius is giving honor to Brutus in his death. He believes in Brutus. Knowing he is dead causes Cassius to feel hopeless. Cassius is a coward who depended totally on Brutus.

Brutus fights to the end. He rallies Cassius's forces and fights until both armies retreat. It is declared a draw between Brutus' army and Antony's army.

Three weeks later, Brutus finds his army defeated. He would rather die than live under the leadership of men who supported Caesar in his sense of being ovely ambitious.

Brutus has nothing to fear in death. He has lost everything. His wife is dead. Cassius is dead. Brutus would rather die on his own sword than to become a slave under Rome's new condition.

He dies believing in an idealic republic. In honor and glory, Brutus dies. Even Antony admits that no one was more honorable of the conspirators.


Read the study guide:
Julius Caesar

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question