Cady and Brutus
Cady and Brutus
Brutus and Cady emerge as the most complex characters in Julius Caesar and Mean Girls respectively. They are each stories tragic heroes. In each of their soliloquies, the audience gains insight into the complexities of their motives. Brutus is a powerful public figure, but he appears also as a husband, a master to his servants, a dignified military leader, and a loving friend. Cady starts off as virtually nothing, but eventually becomes a direct parallel in terms of Brutus’s power. The conflicting value systems that battle with each other in the play as a whole are enacted on incredibly small level in Brutus’s mind.
Even after Brutus has committed the assassination with the other members of the conspiracy, questions remain as to whether, in light of his friendship with Caesar, the murder was a noble, decidedly selfless act or proof of a truly evil callousness, a gross indifference to the ties of friendship and a failure to be moved by the power of a truly great man.
Brutus’s rigid idealism is both his greatest virtue and his most deadly flaw. In the world of the play, where self-serving ambition seems to dominate all other motivations, Brutus lives up to Antony’s elegiac description of him as “the noblest of Romans.” However, his commitment to principle repeatedly leads him to make mistakes that cost him much: wanting to curtail violence, he ignores Cassius’s suggestion that the conspirators kill Antony as well as Caesar. In another moment of rampant idealism, he again ignores Cassius’s advice and allows Antony to speak a funeral oration over Caesar’s body.
As a result, Brutus forfeits the authority of having the last word on the murder and thus allows Antony to incite the shocked Roman crowd to riot against Brutus and the other conspirators. This is similar to when Regina George incites the entire school into chaos using the “burn book.” Brutus later endangers his good relationship with Cassius by self-righteously condemning what he sees as dishonorable fund-raising tactics on Cassius’s part. This is similar to how Cady views Regina, with respect and with friendship, but also with contempt. In all of these episodes, Brutus acts out of a desire to limit the self-serving aspects of his actions; ironically, however, in each incident he dooms the very cause that he seeks to promote, thus serving no one at all.
The changes that shape Brutus and Cady are very interesting because they correlate so well. These changes occur because of the spurring of other characters. In Julius Caesar, Brutus is spurred on by Cassius and his conspirator band. In Mean Girls, Cady is spurred on by Janice (who is Cassius’s parallel). This spurring directly influences the characters actions and thoughts. Brutus probably wouldn’t ever have acted on this plot if it wasn’t for Cassius’s flattering comments. Cady wouldn’t have followed her path if she didn’t befriend or follow Janice’s ideas. Brutus and Cady develop along the same line in their respective stories, which is to be expected as they are the same character in similar settings.