Julius Caesar's Life According To William Shakespeare
In William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, to initiate the plot against Caesar, the conspirators utilize the excuse of anger by putting Caesar in a difficult situation and asking him for a delicate favor. Caesar’s response gave the conspirators justification for their future actions and led their plan to success. Caesar’s characteristics, such as his consistency and inflexibility, shown in his response angered the conspirators even more because it made them feel powerless, reassuring the conspirators’ belief of Caesar’s ambition.
Caesar’s references to powerful, persistent objects in his responses convince the conspirators of his aspiration and abundance in power as an obstacle to their own greed for power. For instance, when the conspirators tried to convince him by begging and flattering, he claimed, “But I am constant as the northern star.” (Act III, scene i, ln 32). The northern star, out of all stars, is one of the few that does not move; it always stays in the north. Caesar compares himself to it, implying that no amount of convincing will persuade him into changing his mind about Cimber’s brother banishment. Furthermore, after constant imploring, Caesar yells, “Wilt thou lift up Olympus?” (Act III, scene i, ln 47). Once again, Caesar mentions the almighty Olympus, home of the gods, placing himself there with the gods. He clarifies that his level of power and consistency is that alike of the gods in Olympus; once their decision is made, it is never undone. Caesar views himself as a very relentless and constant ruler, not allowing anyone, even his close friend, to convince him otherwise and ultimately dying partially for his persistence.
Caesar builds himself an image of reason, justice, and consistency, irritating the conspirators and and standing firm for his own beliefs and character. Moreover, when the conspirators begged for the favor, Caesar established, “Know, Caesar doth not wrong, nor without cause / Will he be satisfied. “ (Act III, act i, ln 18-19). Regardless of their status or friendship, Caesar did not even consider their proposal, just to illustrate to them his unchanging personality. Just like everyone else, Caesar claims he will only act with reason, treating Cimber as citizen, not friend. Additionally, after making his decision, Caesar explains, “Let me a little show it, even in this; / That I was constant Cimber should be banish’d, / And constant do remain to keep him so.” (Act III, act i, ln 43-45). To emphasize his consistency, Caesar uses this as an example to prove to the people how unchanging he can be, even to his fellow friends. He confirms the fact that once he chooses to do something, he will go all the way through with his decision. Caesar’s honorable viewpoint angers the conspirators, inducing them to stab him for his uncompromising behavior, when in reality, they want the power for themselves.
To cover up for the greed of the conspirators, they use a small argument to suffice for their excuse of killing Julius Caesar. Although it may have seemed like Caesar contributed to his own death, the conspirators were only trying to give the illusion that Caesar had given them no choice but to kill him. If Julius Caesar had given in to the repeal of Cimber’s brother, the conspirators still would have found a way to kill him and make it look like it was for the city of Rome.
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