How can I compare and contrast the two characters Brutus and Cassius in the play Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare?
It has to be in essay form, a 5 paragraph thing, so please give me some good answers. I need as much help as i can get!
Cassius and Brutus are the main two people who head up the plot to assassinate Caesar. Interestingly, although Cassius throughout the play shows that he is a more accurate and canny judge of character, he constantly refers to the leadership of Brutus, even against his better judgement.
Cassius makes it clear that his motivation for wanting to topple Caesar from power is both political ideology and his own personal envy of Caesar. In the scene where Cassius persuades Brutus he makes this abundantly clear by expressing his resentment that Caesar is now akin to a "god". He also shows that he will let nothing get in his way when he states in his soliloquy that he will send Brutus forged letters to further persuade him to join his cause.
Cassius has a deep love and friendship with Brutus, and it is this perhaps that causes him to defer to the judgement of Brutus, in spite of his own superior abilities to judge situations. We see this when Cassius wants Mark Antony killed too, and then also when Cassius expresses his concerns about allowing Mark Antony to speak at Caesar's funeral.
Finally, at the battle of Philippi, his poor sight leads to the mistaken report that his friend Titinius is dead. Cassius therefore kills himself. Critics have viewed this as deeply symbolic - Cassius is has poor sight, both biologically, and in the context of the play as he doesn't truly understand the conspiracy, its consequences and his role in it.
Looking at Brutus in comparison, you will want to examine his motivation for joining the conspiracy (very different from the motivation of Cassius), his devotion to Roman republicanism, and his role as a tragic hero. Brutus attempts to moderate the conspiracy, by saying "Let us be sacrificers, but not butchers" and states his reason for killing Caesar as being "Not that I lov'd Caesar less, but that I lov'd Rome more", and states that Caesar was killed because of his ambition. Some have suggested that Brutus too, like Cassius, is blind, but in his inability to separate his political idealism from his own personal motivation. Lastly, Brutus attacks prematurely, showing his poor military skills, but rather than face the dishonour of being taken to Rome, kills himself.