Julius Caesar Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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What was Brutus's inner conflict in act 2, scene 1 of Julius Caesar?

In act 2, scene 1 of Julius Caesar, Brutus is stuck in a moral dilemma, as Cassius is trying to draw him into the conspiracy to assassinate Caesar. While Brutus counts Caesar as a personal friend, he also genuinely fears that Caesar poses a potential threat to Roman liberty. Thus, his personal friendship with Caesar is in conflict with what he perceives as his civic responsibility to defend the Republic.

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As act 2 of Julius Caesar begins, the audience finds Brutus torn between two conflicting loyalties. One concerns his personal feelings versus his civic duty. The other involves his vision of Rome as a republic.

A group of conspirators is trying to recruit him to kill Julius Caesar by using the arguments that Caesar’s growing power is dangerous for Rome and that assassination is the only way to stop his tyrannical ascent. Brutus is not entirely convinced, because he knows Caesar well. While he thinks it unwise for Rome to “stand under one man’s awe,” Brutus is uncertain about the extremity of the conspirators’ proposal. Because he knows and loves Caesar, he does not want him to die, much less to partake in killing him.

Brutus muses on the likely effects of increased power on Caesar if he is crowned as king. He worries that the higher position will turn his friend into a different person.

He would be crown'd:

How that might change his nature, there's the question.

Using the analogy of a...

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