How does Cassius persuade Brutus against Caesar in Julius Caesar?

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In Julius Caesar, Cassius persuades Brutus against Caesar by appealing to his sense of honor, painting Caesar as ambitious and hungry for absolute power. Cassius also makes remarks on Caesar's health, implying that he is not physically fit to rule. Finally, Cassius ensures that Brutus will find a series of forged letters, supposedly from citizens, calling for Brutus's aid and intervention.

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Cassius successfully persuades Brutus into joining the conspirators by appealing to his honorable character and portraying Julius Caesar as an ambitious, undeserving politician, who will eventually disband the Senate and rule Rome as a ruthless tyrant. In act 1, scene 2, Cassius recognizes that Brutus is concerned about Caesar's growing popularity and calls attention to his feelings. Cassius then mentions that many Romans wish that Brutus would intervene in government issues and recognize the threat of impending tyranny. Cassius then shifts Brutus's attention to Caesar's flaws and tells a story about the time he saved Caesar from drowning in the Tiber River. He proclaims that Caesar is a flawed mortal like everyone else and recalls a time when Caesar suffered an epileptic seizure. After Cassius focuses on Caesar's obvious flaws, he proceeds to describe Caesar's confident, arrogant personality by telling Brutus,

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. Men at some time are masters of their fates. The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars But in ourselves, that we are underlings (Shakespeare, 1.2.136–143).

Cassius's words are moving and depict Caesar as a domineering, arrogant man, who believes he is inherently superior. He also depicts Rome as full of passive, cowardly men, who are afraid to challenge Caesar and will not rise up against the future tyrant. Cassius then reminds Brutus of his noble, valiant ancestor by saying,

Now is it Rome indeed, and room enough, When there is in it but one only man. Oh, you and I have heard our fathers say, There was a Brutus once that would have brooked Th' eternal devil to keep his state in Rome As easily as a king (Shakespeare, 1.2.157–163).

After Cassius's moving words, Brutus responds by promising to think about his valid argument and entertains the idea of joining the conspirators. Brutus proceeds to tell Cassius,

Brutus had rather be a villager Than to repute himself a son of Rome Under these hard conditions as this time Is like to lay upon us (Shakespeare, 1.2.173–176).

In addition to portraying Caesar as an ambitious tyrant and calling attention to his obvious flaws, Cassius also forges letters from concerned citizens encouraging Brutus to intervene and preserve the Republic.

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Cassius persuades Brutus against Caesar because he convinces Brutus of Caesar's tyrannical characteristics and his desire for absolute power.

When Caesar returns to Rome, having already defeated Pompey, he moves before the crowds, who want to crown him. He is offered a laurel three times, and is loath to refuse it. At this time, Cassius tells Brutus that many of the most respected Romans, "groaning under this age's yoke" (1.2.63) (the tyranny of Caesar), wish that he "had his eyes" (1.2.64); that is, they perceive better what is occurring.

Then, as Brutus hears the crowd cheering, he says that he fears Caesar has been made king by the people. Cassius replies to him that if this is what he fears, "then must I think you would not have it so" (1.2.84). Brutus replies that he loves honor more than he fears death and would like to know what Cassius has to tell him. Hearing this, Cassius takes advantage of Brutus's great love of honor, saying that "honor is the subject of my story" (1.2.94).

Cassius then launches into a soliloquy in which he describes the "feeble temper," or weak physical condition of Caesar, and he asks Brutus if such a man should become the sole leader of "the majestic world" (1.2.158) when this has not been the intention before (Rome has had triumvirates). To add emphasis, Brutus describes Caesar as a Colossus who stands over the Romans. He then reminds Brutus of his own ancestor of the same name who would not have permitted a sole king to rule:

Oh, you and I have heard our fathers say,
There was a Brutus once that would have brooked
Th' eternal devil to keep his state in Rome
As easily as a king.(1.2.160-164)
Finally, to further convince Brutus, Cassius forges letters, supposedly from different nobles, that indicate that Caesar must be assassinated; these letters are placed where Brutus will surely find them.
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Cassius told Brutus that Caesar was too ambitious to be allowed to remain in control of Rome.

Cassius approached Brutus to make sure that he was concerned about Caesar.  He then convinced him that Caesar was dangerous, and that it was their responsibility to stop him.  He was very convincing, because he appealed to Brutus’s idealism.


I know that virtue to be in you, Brutus,
As well as I do know your outward favour.
Well, honour is the subject of my story. (Act 1, Scene 2)

One of Cassius’s arguments was that he knew Caesar’s nature.  He explained to Brutus that Caesar considered himself better than everyone else in Rome, telling Brutus that Rome’s fate is in their hands.  Caesar considers himself better than everyone else.  From Cassius's perspective, Caesar's ambition will doom Rome if they let it.


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 dishonourable graves.
Men at some time are masters of their fates:
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings. (Act 1, Scene 2)

This is an argument that appeals to Brutus.  He sees the people of Rome as enslaved to Caesar.  Caesar will make himself king, and by that time there will be nothing they can do to stop him.  If they are going to stop him, they need to do it soon.

Cassius does not rely on only his speeches. He makes sure that Brutus finds letters, supposedly from citizens, urging him against Caesar. These are planted, of course.  Cassius wants to make sure that he has Brutus on his side.  They need him for his name and his reputation.  Cassius appeals to this reputation, saying that Caesar’s name is no better than Brutus’s.

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How does Brutus say Caesar should be killed in Julius Caesar?

In act two, scene one, Cassius, Casca, Cinna, Decius, Metellus Cimber, and Trebonius visit Brutus's home around three in the morning to organize their plot to assassinate Julius Caesar at the Capitol. Brutus takes charge of the meeting by addressing the senators and telling them that it will not be necessary to swear an oath because their motivation to prevent tyranny is enough to spur them to action. Brutus then convinces the senators that they will not need Cicero's help, and Cassius suggests that they also murder Mark Antony. Cassius believes that Antony is a "shrewd contriver" and recognizes that he could cause them significant anguish if allowed to live. Brutus responds by telling Cassius that they will "seem too bloody" if they take Antony's life and compares him to "a limb of Caesar." Brutus then outlines how they should go about murdering Julius Caesar by saying,

"Let us be sacrificers but not butchers, Caius. We all stand up against the spirit of Caesar, And in the spirit of men there is no blood. Oh, that we then could come by Caesar’s spirit And not dismember Caesar! But, alas, Caesar must bleed for it. And, gentle friends, Let’s kill him boldly but not wrathfully. Let’s carve him as a dish fit for the gods, Not hew him as a carcass fit for hounds. And let our hearts, as subtle masters do, Stir up their servants to an act of rage And after seem to chide 'em. This shall make Our purpose necessary and not envious, Which so appearing to the common eyes, We shall be called purgers, not murderers." (Shakespeare, 2.1.173-187).

Brutus is very much concerned about public opinion and desires the masses to view them as "purgers" and not murderers. He instructs the senators to "carve him [Caesar] as a dish fit for the gods" and commit the murder without wrath or malice. Brutus's words and actions are contradictory and the senators proceed to brutally assassinate Julius Caesar, stabbing him twenty-three times and bathing their hands in his blood. The violent, cruel nature of Caesar's assassination is something Mark Antony emphasizes during his passionate funeral oration, which incites the masses to riot and sways public opinion against the conspirators.

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In Julius Caesar, how does Cassius finally convince Brutus that Caesar should be killed?

Firstly, and mainly, he does it by persuasion. Have a look at Act 1, Scene 2, and look at the speeches Cassius makes to Brutus: he makes arguments against Caesar, based on Caesar's ambition, the fact that Rome is supposed to be more powerful than any individual, based on Caesar's own girlishness and weakness.

Moreover, Cassius is excellent at playing on Brutus' own sense of arrogance and self-belief. Look at thsi extract from Act 1, Scene 2:

The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.
Brutus, and Caesar: what should be in that Caesar?
Why should that name be sounded more than yours?
Write them together, yours is as fair a name;
Sound them, it doth become the mouth as well;
Weigh them, it is as heavy; conjure with 'em,
Brutus will start a spirit as soon as Caesar.

It poses as an abstract example, but of course it isn't. It tries to say "Why is Caesar's name so much more powerful than anyone else's?', but subtly it is saying 'Brutus, why is Caesar's name worth more than YOURS'. Brutus' ambition and arrogance is played on: and, that, I am quite sure, is a key factor in why he actually gives in.

Cassius also isn't above resorting to underhand tactics:

Good Cinna, take this paper,
And look you lay it in the praetor's chair,
Where Brutus may but find it; and throw this
In at his window; set this up with wax
Upon old Brutus' statue.

We see Brutus receive one of these letters in Act 2, Scene 1, and it certaintly works on him. 'Brutus, thou sleep'st, awake', it says, and Brutus seems to agree.

Hope it helps!

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How does Cassius persuade Brutus into helping kill Caesar?

Cassius's argument is that Caesar has made himself into a god and is therefore a danger to the Roman state and the Roman tradition of equality among patricians (the Roman upper class). He recalls those instances of having rescued Caesar from drowning and of Caesar nearly dying with fever so that he cried out "as a sick girl." But now, Cassius says, Caesar has the effrontery to make himself the master of all Rome and to "bestride the world like a Colossus."

Brutus is a member of a long-standing patrician family and thus, in Cassius's view, should resent Caesar's pretensions to power. Cassius's appeal to Brutus is both personal and political. Not only is Caesar unfit to be the man in charge, but his dictatorial stance will lead to the destruction of the Republic, the system by which Rome has been governed since the dissolution of the Kingdom.

By extension, in my view, Shakespeare is at least implicitly analogizing the threat of Caesar to Roman freedoms with those threats to English liberty which existed in the past and were dealt with. Since England, like Rome 1500 years earlier, had had its own internal disorders before the stability of Queen Elizabeth's reign, English audiences of Shakespeare's time could easily relate to the arguments used by Cassius to persuade Brutus to act against what was seen as the tyrannical rule of Caesar.

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