Evaluating Motifs in The Tragedy of Julius Caesar In his play, The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, Shakespeare shows many dramatic scenes where a character must make a complicated decision. However, in most cases, Shakespeare does not provide the characters sufficient motivation to make the choice they made. Nearly each of the characters face an inner-conflict where, which ever decision he or she makes, it will literally destroy him or her. The characters that encounter the toughest and most complex decisions are Brutus, Caesar, and Cassius. Each of their own careless decisions led to their death. Brutus jumped to conclusions and never really took the time out to consider and reason each of his possible choices; instead he instinctively joined the conspiracy and killed his best friend.
For example, after reading the forged letter from the people of Rome, he immediately concluded that murdering Caesar was for the good of Rome: "The genius and the mortal instruments / Are then in council, and the state of a man, / Like to a little kingdom suffers then / The nature of an insurrection." (Shakespeare II, i, 66-69) Even if killing Caesar would have solved his so called "problem", how did it justify betraying your best friend and how sure was he that someone else was going to revolt and carry out whatever Caesar had not done yet and worse? No matter how wrong and evil Caesar was, killing him was not the solution; two wrongs don't make a right. He should have spoken to more people to acquire a better understanding of how they perceived Caesar. In addition, at Caesar's funeral, he justified his acts by saying, .".. as he was valiant, I honor him; but, as / he was ambitious, I slew him." (III, ii, 26-27) If Brutus would have at least used common sense and recalled all the times Caesar was actually ambitious, he would not have dug himself into a hole so deep that he could not get himself out of.
Caesar declined the crown thrice; this alone shows how humble Caesar was and that he wasn't power hungry. Further more, Brutus did not discuss his plans with his wife, Portia, to at least get her insight and opinion on this matter. If he would have, she probably would have given him good advice by discouraging him and helping reconsider. Portia represents Brutus' private self and true feelings; by ignoring her request and plead for him to confide his problems in her, he disregards his private emotions and intuitions. In all cases, there is plenty of evidence that Brutus should have recalled, and that would have discouraged him from joining the conspiracy. After all the premonitions that Caesar received, he still went to the senate that day without even taking any precautions.
For example, the soothsayer twice tried to warn him, at the feast of Lupercal he said, "Beware of the Ides of March." (I, ii, 18); and Artimidorus wrote up a letter clearly stating what would happen, however, he disregarded all three attempts to save his life. If Caesar realized what the soothsayer had to say on the Ides of March, he should have at least sat him down before he went to the senate and clearly understood what the soothsayer was talking about. How long would have reading Artimidorus' letter taken and isn't he a voice from the people? In addition, the dreams Calpurnia saw prior to Caesar's departure to the senate were dreadfully frightening; a lioness giving birth in the street, dead people walking the streets, and Caesar's statue with blood gushing out of it and noble Romans bathe their hands in it; after all of this he insists on going. Like Portia, Caesar's wife, Calpurnia, portrays his inner most feelings. Like Brutus, he disregards his private feelings and emotions, and intuitions acting as if he is all brave and courageous. These are just a few of the premonitions Caesar received, however, after all the sightings and fortune telling, he willingly listens to his so-called "friends." Decius comes to Caesar's house to take him to the capitol to meet with the senate; Caesar first tells him to go to the senate and tell them that Caesar cannot come and then tells him about Calpurnia's dream, Decius then says that she misinterpreted them and that the true meaning is that it ."..
Signifies that from you great Rome shall suck / reviving blood, and that great men shall press / for tinctures, stains, relics, and cognizance." (II, ii, 87-89) Here he doesn't believe his wife, however, he believes his "friend." Caesar suffers from a classic case of peer pressure; he feels that if he doesn't go to the senate, it will make him look weak and shame him for listening to a woman. Caesar should have taken all the premonitions as a life-threatening warning; if he did, he would have been crowned Caesar of Rome. At war with Antony, Cassius receives news that causes him to take his own life; like Brutus, he jumped to conclusions. For example, while Pinadarus is sitting on top of a knoll, he reports, "Titinius is enclosed round about / With horsemen that make to him on the spur; / Yet he spurs on. Now they are almost on him. / Now, Titinius! Now some light.
O, he lights too! / He's ta " en! And, hark! They shout for joy." (V, iii, 27-31) Here he concludes that a man from Brutus' army has been captured and killed and that it was going to happen to Brutus when in fact he has just met his friends and they all are rejoicing. Cassius should have gone on top of the knoll taken a look as to what was going on for himself, or he could have waited for a second source. He also could have exiled himself from Rome and flee to another country. In addition, Cassius claimed he felt responsible for Brutus' death. By the way Cassius' character had been established in the beginning of the play, Cassius was probably more afraid for his life. Besides, if he really cared about Brutus, then why did he drag him into this whole mess anyways? Cassius, also, knew that if he did not take his own life, Antony would have hunted him down.
This shows that he truly knew that what he did was wrong. He should have exiled himself from Rome and then come back and apologize for his acts when Antony was not so vengeful. Like Brutus, Cassius' death was the result of jumping to conclusions; however, all in all Cassius deserves what he got. In conclusion, Shakespeare could have added a little more details to support the characters' acts.
The details may have seemed useless and pointless in the beginning, but would have turned out to be crucial and important when it came time to a character's decision making. In the play, he shows the characters as very gullible individuals, which he should not have done, that lack the ability to reason, to draw conclusions based on evidence, and to use one's common sense.