In Julius Caesar, why does Cassuis kill his flag bearer?a) cassius believes that the flag bearer is a traitor b) the flag bearer has begun to retreat c) the flag bearer asks cassius to kill him d)...

In Julius Caesar, why does Cassuis kill his flag bearer?

a) cassius believes that the flag bearer is a traitor

b) the flag bearer has begun to retreat

c) the flag bearer asks cassius to kill him

d) cassius hold a grudge against him

Expert Answers
scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Act 5, Scene 3, Cassius and Brutus are in the midst of their battle against Antony and Octavius' forces.  Confusion abounds, and Cassius kills his flag bearer because he thinks that the young man is retreating from battle (Answer B).  The scene opens with these lines from Cassius:

" 'O,  look Titinius, look, the villains fly! / Myself have to mine own turned enemy. / This ensign [flag bearer] of mine was turning back [retreating]. / I slew the coward and did take it [the standard or flag] from him' " (1-4).

Titinius' response to Cassius demonstrates the chaos of the battle because he tells Cassius that Brutus gave the order too quickly for the soldiers to advance.  This shows that while Cassius's men think that they are losing the battle, Brutus thinks that their side is winning, and this miscommunication/misinterpretation of events creates disaster for the conspirators' side.  This might seem like a small incident, but this part of the scene advances Shakespeare's portrayal of Brutus's tragic flaw as poor judgment.  Brutus's poor judgment affects all who are involved with him.

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Julius Caesar

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