What quotes in Julius Caesar show how Brutus is gullible?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are several quotes where Brutus is depicted as being gullible while speaking to Cassius. Cassius persuades Brutus into joining the conspirators by appealing to his honorable ancestors, discussing Caesar's flaws, and planting fake letters from concerned Roman citizens, which Brutus reads and believes. Not only does Cassius manipulate Brutus into assassinating Julius Caesar, but Mark Antony also exploits Brutus's gullible personality.

Mark Antony convinces Brutus not to harm him and also persuades Brutus into allowing him to speak at Caesar's funeral. In Act Three, Scene 2, Brutus portrays his gullible personality after Mark Antony displays his love for Julius Caesar. Brutus tells Mark Antony,

For your part, To you our swords have leaden points, Mark Antony. Our arms in strength of malice and our hearts Of brothers' temper do receive you in With all kind love, good thoughts, and reverence. (Shakespeare, 3.2.182-187)

Antony then convinces Brutus that he is a friend and asks Brutus if he could speak at Caesar's funeral in the marketplace. After Cassius warns Brutus to not allow Antony to speak, Brutus once again displays his gullible personality by telling Antony,

Mark Antony, here, take you Caesar’s body. You shall not in your funeral speech blame us, But speak all good you can devise of Caesar, And say you do ’t by our permission. Else shall you not have any hand at all About his funeral. And you shall speak In the same pulpit whereto I am going, After my speech is ended. (Shakespeare, 3.2.258-265)

Antony then rejects Brutus's wishes and gives a moving speech that incites the masses against Brutus and the conspiring senators.

Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Because Brutus is an honorable man with no hidden motives, he trusts Cassius and cannot see behind his lies. Cassius, therefore, finds it very easy to manipulate Brutus in several ways. He appeals to Brutus' pride and sense of honor; he casts doubts on Caesar's real intentions as the rules of Rome; he plays upon Brutus' family heritage and sense of responsibility. Finally, Cassius writes phony letters to Brutus that make him believe the Roman people are begging for his help. Shortly before the letters reach Brutus, Cassius makes it clear how gullible he has found Brutus to be:

Three parts of him

Is ours already, and the man entire

Upon the next encounter yields him ours.

Cassius concludes his thinking by making this prediction to Casca about Brutus' gullible nature: 

Let us go,

For it is after midnight, and ere day

We will awake him and be sure of him.

Cassius has a clear understanding of Brutus. At no time does Cassius worry that Brutus will become suspicious of him.

thetall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Cassius is the instigator of the assassination against Caesar. He selects Brutus to lead the assassination because Brutus is an honorable man who is respected by the society. Cassius and Brutus are friends, however, Cassius thinks Brutus is gullible and uses him to achieve his ends which are driven by envy against Caesar. Brutus is made to believe that all the conspirators involved are selfless, and are only committing the assassination because of the danger Caesar’s ambition was posing to the republic.

Several “red flags” are apparent to Brutus but he decided to ignore them, for example, when the conspirators wanted Mark Antony to be assassinated because he was a close friend to Caesar. At this point Brutus should have realized that the other conspirators were more after their own personal gains rather than the well-being of the republic.

Cassius portrays Brutus as gullible by the phrase below, which shows that he has won him over completely regardless of the reasons for the conspiracy.

See Brutus at his house. Three parts of him
Is ours already, and the man entire
Upon the next encounter yields him ours.

Read the study guide:
Julius Caesar

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