As humans, none of us are entirely good or entirely evil. It is the same with the characters in the play Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare. While many are portrayed as good or evil, none really are. This can be more easily explained through the characters Brutus, Marc Antony and Julius Caesar.
From the very first mention of Brutus the audience is told that he is the most honorable man in Rome. This would persuade us to believe that he is a good character. From the beginning this is true, but not too far into the play, after some coaxing by Cassius, Brutus’ more evil side is revealed. He contributes to the plot of killing Caesar and says in Act II scene 1 line 10 “It must be by his death…” This alone is totally the opposite of what an honorable man would do. Nevertheless, he tries to redeem himself by adding in Act II scene 1 line 11-12 “I know no personal cause to spurn at him, but for the general.” So we are led to believe that “sacrificing” Caesar is and honorable thing being done for the Roman people not just a well organized murder. This is one example of how no one is entirely good.
Next is Caesar’s right hand man, Marc Antony. He loved Caesar very much and was deeply saddened when Caesar was murdered. After this event, he persuades Brutus to let him speak at Caesar’s funeral as a friend. Act III scene 1 line 227-230 “And am moreover suitor that I may produce his body to the market place; and in the pulpit, as becomes a friend, speak in the order of his funeral” The real reason why Antony wanted to speak at the funeral was to let the people know that Brutus murdered Caesar for no good reason. He expresses his success in Act III scene 2 line 270-271 “Belike they has some notice of the people, how I had moved them.” Marc Antony never forgives Brutus and the other conspirators for murdering Caesar and even goes to war with them because of it. Antony fighting for his friend’s death shows that he is good. But he tricks the others which show’s some bad in him.
The last case is a little different than the others. This last example exactly isn’t of complete good or evil. It just shows how no one is perfect. Caesar was to be the ruler of the Roman Empire. Everyone thought that he was the best person for the job. He was thought of as a god. Gods are perfect and Caesar was far from it. In Act I scene 2 lines 111 Cassius tells Brutus stories of how weak Caesar is. “Caesar cried ‘help me, Cassius, or I sink.'” He continues by adding in lines 127-128 “Alas it cried, ‘give me some drink, Titinius,’ as a sick girl.” This shows how Caesar was not like any god even though that is what the people believed.
The whole point of this essay was to show how even in plays that it is impossible to have someone who is entirely good or evil. It’s just too unrealistic. As humans, we all possess good and bad characteristics. They may not be balanced but there isn’t anyone who is totally good or evil.
Courtney from Study Moose
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