Explain the reasons that Brutus gives for murdering Caesar.    

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carol-davis eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Marc Antony stands over the body of Marcus Brutus and states: Only Brutus killed Caesar for the good or Rome.  He is the only one who stayed true to himself.  This was a man. In William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Brutus was approached by Cassius in Act 1 to join the conspiracy to kill Caesar.  Brutus told him that he would need to think it over.

In Act II, Brutus has not slept since his talk with Cassius.  In his soliloquy, he  is thinking over his reasoning for joining the  conspiracy;  however, the time is here and he must decide. In his speech, Brutus uses three analogies to explain his logical conclusion for joining the assassination plan.

Immediately, the audience knows that Brutus has decided to kill Caesar. He begins with the statement:  “It must be by his death…” Brutus admits that he does not agree with Cassius in his personal hatred toward Caesar. Brutus has never seen Caesar act with ill will toward anyone.   For the general good of Rome is the reason that Brutus says that he will assassinate Caesar. 

1st analogy

If Caesar were crowned the Emperor, how would that impact Rome? If a person sees a poisonous snake like an adder, he needs to avoid the serpent.  What if Caesar was made king, how would that impact him? Like the adder, it might put a sting in him that would impact those around him?

The abuse of greatness is when it disjoins 
Remorse from power, and, to speak truth of Caesar, 
I have not known when his affections sway'd
More than his reason.

2nd analogy

The ladder of success is the next argument that Brutus uses.  When a person works his way up the ladder, he needs people along the way to help him move from one step to the next.  The person hoping for success keeps his eye on the goal.  When he gets to the top, sometimes he forgets the people that have helped him.  When his fortunes have been increased, then he will no longer need the supporters.

3rd analogy

Caesar is like a snake in its egg.  As long as it is in the egg, it is not problem for anyone.  However, when it comes out of the shell, then it is dangerous.  If it hatched, it could strike a person; therefore, kill the snake in the egg.  It will never get the chance to kill someone. Let the assassins do the same thing.  Kill Caesar before he has a chance to abuse his power.

When the conspirators meet with Brutus, the plans are in place to assassinate Caesar. 

mimikyo | Student

When Brutus killed stabbed Ceasar, Ceasar said "Et tu, Brute" which literally means "You too, Brutus" in Latin. Ceasar was surprised when he saw Brutus, his closest friend and who he love dearly among the conspirator stabbed him.He was the last to stabbed Ceasar and this shows that Ceasar would not die without Brutus's stab.His last words express his shock and hurt at this betrayal, and a sense that he is now willing to die ("Then fall, Caesar.")

Read the study guide:
Julius Caesar

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