In Act I, Scene ii of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, the Roman citizens gather in the arena to celebrate the Feast of the Lupercal. In addition, Caesar, honored by Antony, offers him the crown to become the emperor of Rome.
Cassius notices that Brutus does not go into the celebration but stands off to the side pondering the situation. When he goes to Brutus, Cassius tells him that he has been ignoring his friends. Brutus apologizes and tells Cassius that he has been at war with himself.
Seizing the moment, Cassius hopes that he can convince Brutus to join the conspiracy to assassinate Caesar. What arguments does Cassius use to persuade him?
Caesar is no different than the Cassius or Brutus. They have fed the same as Caesar. He was born in the same fashion.
Caesar is weak. One day, Caesar challenged Cassius to swim across the river to a certain point. Cassius agreed to the dare. Jumping into the river with their armor, both began the swim. About halfway across, Caesar cries out for Cassius to save him from drowning.
And I, as Aeneas our great ancestor
Did from the flames of Troy upon his shoulder
The old Anchises bears, so from the waves of Tiber,
Did I the tired Caesar.
Disgusted by Caesar’s weakness, Cassius saves him. He indicts the Roman citizens for honoring Caesar who comes back to Rome in triumph as though he is a god. Cassius cannot understand how the Roman citizens love this man.
Cassius was with Caesar during the battle in Spain. Caesar became ill with a fever. He has an epileptic seizure. Epilepsy was considered a disease that tainted the person who had it. No one would really admit that he had it, particularly if he is a celebrity.
When he was sick, Caesar shook and his lips lost their color. This man who the people worship shakes uncontrollably.
Caesar begs for water to soothe his fever. He moans and groans and begs Cassius to bring him water.
Cassius cannot believe that this man who is so feeble and weak will become the ruler of the modern world of 44 B. C.
Brutus listens carefully to Cassius and his arguments about the character of Caesar. He tells Cassius that he will think about what he has said and determine what action he will take. After a month of consideration, Brutus does decide to join the conspiracy but for different reasons than Cassius gave him.