In the play, "Julius Caesar" by William Shakespeare, the themes of friendship between men, jealousy, betrayal, and death are ever-present. In Act 1, Brutus is feeling betrayed by Caesar's success. Although he loves Caesar, he wants to get supporters, conspire against him, and eventually kill him. He speaks to Cassius and the other Senators to convince them to feel the same way. By Act 2, others have learned of Brutus' plan, and Caesar's true friends try to warn him in order to save his life. However, being a loyal and trusting friend, Caesar does not listen to the warnings. He does not believe that one of his closest friends would ever go against him. Once Caesar is dead (Act 3) the conspirators feel some relief. They believe his death was necessary and don't try to hide their actions. Later in the play, the Senators start to feel some remorse. Cassius now understands that Brutus manipulated him, and feels bad for not "bearing his friend's infirmities". By the end of the play, those who have killed Caesar feel the repercussions of their actions. They are burdened by guilt and have no choice but to kill themselves.
First, in Act 1, Brutus is feeling betrayed by his good friend Caesar. Caesar had great success, and even though he and Brutus were very similar, Brutus did not. Although he was happy for his friend, he had some feelings of jealousy. In his mind, he questions why Caesar was destined for greatness over him. Was he a better person? Brutus becomes very unhappy, and the fact that Caesar did not notice his frustration makes Brutus doubt their friendship even further. There are no answers to his questions, so he chooses a negative approach- conspire against Caesar and kill him. He believes this is completely rational, and approaches Cassius and the other Senators:
"I would not Cassius, yet I love him well.
But wherefore do you hold me here so long?
What is it that you would impart to me?
If it aught toward the general good,
Set honor on one eye and death i' the other,
And I will look on both indifferently;
For let the gods so speed me as I love
The name of honor more than I fear death."
(1:2 - 82-89 Brutus)
However, Caesar is not betrayed by all. Artimidorus, as well as his wife, Calpurnia try to prevent him from going to the Capital on the ides of March:
"Caesar, beware or Brutus; take heed of Cassius; come not near Casca; have an eye on Cinna; trust not Trebonius; mark well Metellus Cimber; Decius Brutus loves thee not; thou has wronged Caius Ligarius. There is but one mind in all these men, and it is bent against Caesar. If thou beest not immortal, look about you. Security gives way to conspiracy. The mighty gods defend thee!"
(2:3 - 1-5 Artimidorus)
Caesar ignores the numerous warnings and does in fact go to the Senate on March 15th. There, he is greeted by what he thought was his friends. He was secure in their friendship and could not fathom that they would ever betray him. If he had reason to suspect Brutus or Cassius, he might have been more perceptive to the warning signs, despite the friendly faces that greeted him. As in most of Shakespeare's works, there is a vast difference between appearance and reality. This difference will cause Caesar's death.
Subsequently, the conspirators try to rationalize Caesar's murder. After the jealousy and hate subside following the attack, the Senators want to convince themselves that what they did was 'the right thing to do'. They proceed to second-guess their actions, while speaking of what a horrible person Caesar was--ambitious and greedy.
"Grant that, and then death is a benefit
So are we Caesar's friends that have abridged
His time of fearing death. Stoop, Romans, stoop.
And let us bathe our hands in Caesar's blood
Up to the elbows, and besmear our swords.
Then walk we forth, even to the market place,
And waving our red weapons o'er our heads,
Let's all cry "peace, freedom, and liberty!""
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