Why is Cassius the instigator of the conspiracy plot?Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
In his tragedy of Othello, Iago cautions Othello,
Beware, my lord, of jealousy;
It is the green-ey'd monster, which doth mock
The meat it feeds on (3.3.165-171)
Cassius of Julius Caesar, is possessed by this "green-ey'd monster." Even Caesar himself notices the leanness of this young man whose envy feeds upon himself
Let me have men about me that are fat,
Sleek-headed men, and such as sleep a-nights.
Yond Cassius has a lean and huntry look;
He thinks too much: such men are dangerous (1.2.192-195)
This envy of Cassius is the impetus to the conspiracy plot. For, with his persuasive powers and his chicanery, it is Cassius who seduces Brutus with his perception that Caesar will become a tyrant with both his argument--
Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
Like a Colossus, and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs and peep about
To find ourselves dishonorable graves--(1.2.141-144)
and his forged letters that he sends to Brutus purportedly from senators. Knowing that he cannot rise to power on his own, Cassius, in his cupidity, exploits the noble nature of Brutus and leads him to believe that it is for the best interests of the republic that Caesar be removed from his leadership. Cassius also realizes that Brutus, as such a noble Roman, is admired by the patricians and pleblians alike.