Throughout The Tragedy of Julius Caesar the audience sees how Brutus and Cassius compare and contrast in many ways. Brutus us a noble character while Cassius is dishonest and conniving. Brutus is also more na " ive. He tends to dominate the other characters of the play. In contrast to Brutus, Cassius is more realistic.
Brutus and Cassius display different character traits especially in the areas of their reasons for killing Caesar, their decisions throughout the assassination, and their morality. Cassius and Brutus both want Caesar dead, but their reasons for killing him are completely different. Brutus wants Caesar dead for the good of Rome; the audience can see this when Brutus carefully and thoughtfully weighs his decision to join the conspiracy (Brutus Character Sketch 1). Once Brutus decides to join the conspiracy, he does not view the assassination as a murder, but a sacrifice (Ker mode 92). Brutus states, " It must be by his death. And, for my part / I know no personal cause to spurn at him, / But for the general" (II.
i. 10 - 12). Also Brutus says, "And therefore think of him as a serpents egg / which, hatched, would, as his king grow mischievous/ and kill him in his shell" (II. i. 32 - 34). Because he feels that he must destroy Caesar before it is too late.
Cassius' reasons for killing Caesar are not completely noble. He is extremely jealous of Caesar; Cassius holds grudges against him because of his power (McDonnell, Miller, and Hogan 497). Even though their reasons for assassinating Caesar are different, both Brutus and Cassius want him dead for one main reason, which is fear. Throughout the conspiracy, Brutus and Cassius make many more important decisions besides murdering Caesar. Between the two, Cassius, unlike Brutus, has a more realistic outlook on the world.
In the decision to allow Mark Antony to speak at Caesar's funeral, Cassius realizes that this is not a good idea and Cassius says to Brutus, "You know not what you do. Do not consent / That Antony speak in his funeral / Know you how much the people may be moved / by that which he will utter?" (III. i. 234 - 237). In contrast to Cassius' quick, decisive nature, the audience sees that Brutus carefully weighs and agonizes over his decisions before he makes them. Although Brutus' decisions might not be the wisest, they are definitely the most carefully considered.
Brutus' weighing of his decisions is apparent when he is debating whether he should join the conspiracy (II. i. ll 10 - 30). Finally, just like Brutus and Cassius have different reasons for killing Caesar, they have different moral standards. Brutus, unlike Cassius, is noble. The characters of Julius Caesar have enormous respect for him.
Cassius and Antony comment on how noble Brutus is. Cassius says, "Well Brutus, thou art noble" (I. ii. 320); when Antony sees Brutus' dead body he proclaims, "This was the noblest Roman of all... / His life was gentle and the elements / So mixed that nature might stand up / And say to all the world 'This was a man.' " (V. v.
74, 79-81). The audience sees Brutus' nobility when he is willing to die for Rome (III. ii. 47-49).
Cassius, on the other hand, cannot be trusted. He is the one who originally starts the conspiracy against Caesar. Another reason why he cannot be trusted is because after he complements Brutus on being noble he talks about tricking him into joining the conspiracy. He tricks Brutus into joining the conspiracy by writing false letters, and then throwing them through the windows into his house ("Brutus vs. Cassius" 1). Even though Brutus and Cassius work together, it is obvious that they both have different morals.
In conclusion, Brutus and Cassius have different reasons for killing Caesar, different decisions through the assassination, and their morals are quite different. The reasoning that led Brutus to assassinate Caesar is his love for Rome; Cassius, on the other hand, murdered Caesar out of jealousy. While they both helped murder Caesar, the audience can clearly determine who murders Caesar for the right reasons and not out of jealousy. Brutus, the more dominate character, makes all the important decisions; Cassius, in contrast, is the more submissive and manipulative character. Brutus' domination of Cassius led to many wise and poor decisions throughout the play.
The one major contrasting factor of the play is Brutus' and Cassius' morals; Brutus is noble and patriotic while Cassius loves no one but himself. While these two characters have different reasons for killing Caesar, decisions, and morals, they both help create a unique story that has been told for many centuries.