What is the meaning of Jeremy Bentham's quote, "Tyranny and anarchy are never far asunder," and how does it relate to Shakespeare's Julius Caesar?

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teacherscribe eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Interesting quote.  The quote means that tyranny and anarchy are always related.  This applies to the play in a few different ways.  First, it could easily apply to Brutus.  Remember, he only decides to help kill Caesar because he thinks Caesar is starting to become a tyrant.  He believes he is saving Rome from anarchy because he believes when the conspirators seize control they will rule honestly and fairly, thereby, saving Rome from the tyranny of a corrupt Caesar and from the anarchy that would inevitably arise to topple him.  Second, it applies to the fact that Caesar is killed because the conspirators think he might become a tyrant.  Out of their decision to kill him arises anarchy as the conspirators decide who should seize control with Cassuis wanting one thing and Brutus wanting another.  Third, it applies to Cassuis, who longs after the power that Caesar had and who would himself become a tyrant, is instrumental in tricking Brutus to join the plot kill Caesar and throwing Rome into anarchy.  You could also analyze Antony's funeral speech and how he makes the conspirators seem like tyrants to the citizens of Rome and works them up so that they bring anarchy down upon Rome.

gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The English philosopher Jeremy Bentham said that "Tyranny and anarchy are never far asunder." This famous quote can be applied to Shakespeare's Julius Caesar in several ways. Throughout the play, Cassius convinces a faction of senators that Julius Caesar's ambitious nature would result in tyranny. Brutus and others fear that Caesar will become a tyrant and oppress the citizens of Rome. The fear of tyranny results in anarchy when the senators conspire and assassinate the dictator. Shortly after Caesar's death, Antony incites a riot by convincing the masses that Caesar was not ambitious and was unjustly murdered by envious senators. The crowd does not believe that Julius Caesar would have become a tyrant and they begin to terrorize the streets of Rome unscrupulously. The fear of tyranny is what initiates anarchy on the senators' part, and anarchy ensues after Antony defends Julius Caesar, an assumed tyrant. Bentham's quote argues that whenever an oppressive authority (i.e., a tyrant) threatens people, anarchy will soon follow.

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Julius Caesar

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