Julius Caesar Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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Why did Julius Caesar refuse the crown thrice in Julius Caesar?

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Julius Caesar refused the crown because he did not want the people to think he was a king.

During the Feast of Lupercal, Brutus and Cassius are told by Casca that the cheering they overheard was caused by Caesar pandering to the people.  Casca sneeringly describes the scene, how Mark Antony, Caesar’s deputy, offered Caesar a crown, and Caesar refused it, and "the people fell a-shouting." 

Brutus accuses Caesar of ambition, but according to Casca, he refused the crown that Mark Antony offered him a total of three times!

CASSIUS

They shouted thrice: what was the last cry for?

CASCA

Why, for that too.

BRUTUS

Was the crown offered him thrice?

CASCA

Ay, marry, was't, and he put it by thrice, every
time gentler than other, and at every putting-by
mine honest neighbours shouted. (Act 1, Scene 2)

 If Caesar wanted to be king so badly, why refuse a crown?  Actually, Caesar did not want to be a king.  He had the title of dictator, which he is never called by Brutus and his minions (or Shakespeare) and actually got very angry when the people called him king.  Being a dictator sounds worse than being a king, but it was a legal title given by the senate.  It was usually temporary, and it was intended to help him ensure the rule of law.

 Cassius uses this incident to get Brutus on his side.

        BRUTUS

What means this shouting? I do fear, the people
Choose Caesar for their king.

CASSIUS

Ay, do you fear it?
Then must I think you would not have it so. (Act 1, Scene 2)

When you are looking for people to get on your side for a conspiracy, it can be a bit tricky.  How do you know who to trust?  This is especially true when the person you are feeling out is an aristocrat known to be close to the person you are trying to betray. 

Cassius had to be very careful before trying to turn Brutus.  He had to make sure Brutus really was questioning Caesar’s ambition.  Brutus confirms that he is worried that Caesar wants too much power.  Cassius knows then that he can safely talk to...

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