Betrayal in Shakespeare

Categories: William Shakespeare

Breaking the bond of trust in a relationship, and tricking another person is considered betrayal. In Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, betrayal can be seen as the base of the entire story, and throughout the play between other characters. Due to the anger of Cassius, the entire of the play handles the betrayal of Caesar by Cassius, and there are examples of this prior to and after his death. The first betrayal of Caesar can be looked at in the very start of the play, when Flavius and Marcillus sends the citizens away, and then proceed to take scarves off of the statues commemorating Caesar.

They make the remark, “These growing feathers pluck ‘d from Caesar’s wing will make him fly a normal pitch,” (Act 1, Scene 1). Simply put, the 2 conspirators feel that by sending out away Caesar’s fans will offer Caesar a truth check of sorts, and to bring his ego down a peg. The next example of betrayal can be seen by Cassius working to get Brutus to his side, far from thinking in Caesar.

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He does this by very first sending him a phony letter, and after that proceeds to inform him about why he is so upset, which he feels betrayed by Caesar.

He tells Brutus about a time prior to when they were swimming across the Tiber river and Caesar was practically drowning, calling out, “Assist me, Cassius, or I will sink!” (Act 1, Scene 2).

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He describes how he saved Caesar’s life, then informs Brutus, “and this male is now end up being a god, and Cassius is a sorrowful animal and must bend his body,” (Act 1, Scene 2). This would be describing Cassius bowing down to Caesar as a king, despite the fact that he had conserved his life. The majority of the betrayal in this story is fairly in advance, till Act 3, after Caesar is eliminated.

His pal Mark Anthony acts as though he is betraying Caesar, in order to take his later vengeance. When he initially reaches the murder scene, he shakes hands with all of the conspirators that have killed Caesar, despite the fact that their hands are covered with blood. He then remarks, “Shall it not grieve thee dearer than thy death to see thy Anthony making his piece, shaking the bloody fingers of thy opponents, most worthy! In the existence of thy corpse?” (Act 3, Scene 1). He is really speaking to the spirit of Caesar.

Anthony plays this part of fake betrayal to Caesar, continuing by agreeing to Brutus that he will not say anything bad about him after Brutus gets done speaking at the funeral of Caesar. Yet, the true betrayal happens when Anthony begins to discount everything Brutus has just said to the citizens, and he turns the citizens against Brutus and the other conspirators. The citizens become enraged as they feel that their leader, Caesar has been betrayed by the killers.

The last example of betrayal can be seen as family betrays family. In Act 5, there is a conversation between Lepidus, Octavius, and Mark Anthony. The first family betrayal is when Lepidus consents to have his brother killed along with the other conspirators. Octavius asks Lepidus, “your brother too must die; consent you Lepidus? ” to which Lepidus answers, “I do consent,” (Act 5, Scene 1). The next family betrayal is when Mark Anthony then agrees that his sister’s son, Publius will be killed too.

Anthony replies without hesitation, “He shall not live; look with a spot I damn him,” (Act 5, Scene 1). There are other examples of betrayal in Julius Caesar, but betrayal is a concept that the whole story is based on, interweaving between almost all the characters of the story. From the major storyline of the betrayal of Caesar, to the minor betrayals between characters which cause Caesar’s death, or betrayal that is because of it, this is ultimately the theme of the story itself.

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Betrayal in Shakespeare. (2016, Aug 01). Retrieved from

Betrayal in Shakespeare

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