William Shakespeare wrote The Tragedy of Julius Caesar in 1599. The play is set in ancient Rome in the year 44 B. C. when the Roman general Julius Caesar, ruler of almost the entire world, is at the height of his career.
The title of the play is slightly misleading because the play mostly focuses on Marcus Brutus, Caesar's best friend and another Roman general, as opposed to Caesar, who is assassinated midway through the play. The play is about the internal conflict in Brutus over whether he should kill Caesar, his best friend, for the good of the Roman republic. This essay will attempt to illustrate, through examples drawn from the play, that Caesar's assassination was illogical and that he did not deserve to die. It will show that Brutus' actions were far too much influenced by Caius Cassius, a Roman general who seemingly had some personal problems with Caesar. Act I, Scene 1 starts off with the Feast of Lupercal, a parade in honor of the great Caesar who has defeated all his enemies in battle. Two workingmen are interrupted and scolded by Marullus and Flavius, two tribunes who still remember Pompey, who was a Roman general whom Caesar had defeated.
While Caesar is parading through the streets, a soothsayer warns him, "Beware the Ides of March." The soothsayer does not elaborate, but this is a preliminary foreshadowing of Caesar's downfall. Meanwhile, Marc Antony, another good friend of Caesar and himself a general, offers Caesar a coronet. Caesar refuses to accept this nomination. He refuses it three times to the applause of the people. This refusal to accept the coronet shows that Caesar's intentions are not maligned at all.
In Act I, Scene 2, Cassius approaches Brutus extremely cautiously and prods him to learn about his feelings toward Caesar's rise. They agree to meet later and discuss the matter further. On the night of March 14, almost a month after Cassius had first approached Brutus, a terrible storm hits Rome. Cassius believes that these signs mean that Caesar must be stopped. There is absolutely no evidence that Caesar, if he became King, would be a bad monarch. Cassius is being extremely superstitious and basing his judgment purely on omens he perceives.
At this point, Cassius is joined by two other Romans, Casc a and C inna. They agree that Caesar must not be allowed to continue to rule, and they plot to convince Brutus to join their conspiracy. In Act II, Scene 1, shortly before dawn on March 15 (the ides of March), Brutus is seen pacing through his garden, brooding over the decision he must make. He receives an anonymous letter from Cassius urging him to act on the behalf of the people of Rome. Brutus is being deceived by the extremely clever Cassius.
There is still no evidence that Caesar would make a bad ruler. Caesar does not deserve to die based on such faulty reasoning and cunning deception on the part of Cassius. It can be said that Cassius has a certain degree of personal grudge against Caesar because Caesar is so great a general that Cassius just cannot stand him. A mind like Cassius' just cannot accept the fact that a power greater than him could flourish. Indeed, Caesar himself says in Act I, Scene 2, that if he could fear someone, it would be someone like Cassius because of the nature of his mind. Neither Cassius nor anyone of the conspirators ever had any concrete facts that would foreshadow Caesar's behavior as a King.
They did, however, know that Caesar would be benevolent since Caesar had had power for quite a while and he had always been benevolent. Cassius convinced Brutus and the rest of the conspirators to support him, especially Brutus, because he was the one whom all of the Roman people trusted. He was the one who lent him credibility. Caesar was killed because Cassius could not bear him due to the aforementioned reasons and so Cassius convinced Brutus that Caesar would become a tyrannical King. Caesar died based on faulty reasoning and cunning deception on the part of Cassius.
He certainly did not deserve his death.