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Study Guides 101
Themes (Julius Caesar)


Anne Frank
Julius Caesar

 Julius Caesar Themes
  1. An idealistic person (Brutus) can be manipulated by a clever and perhaps unscrupulous person (Cassius).
    1. 1.2.107-38: Cassius told Brutus that Caesar had drowned and had an epileptic fit, yet he had become so strong.
    2. 1.2.146-49: Cassius tells Brutus, Men at some time are masters of their fates, meaning that he should do something to change the fate of Rome and his life.
    3. 1.2.149-59: Cassius tells Brutus that his name is no less important than Caesars, and that they are both the same and equal.
    4. 3.2.82-266: Antony manipulates the crowd against Brutus and Cassius.
  2. If the rightful ruler is deposed or killed, chaos will result.
    1. 3.1.280-301: Antony prophesied danger and civil strife in Rome.
    2. 3.3: Cinna the poet was killed, even though he was innocent.
    3. 4.1.6-8: Antony and Lepidus kill family members for their cause.
    4. 4.3.168-82: Portia kills herself because she loved and missed Brutus so much, and she was afraid for his life.
    5. 5.3: The second triumvirate avenges Caesars death at the war of Philippi.
    6. 5.3-5: Caesar comes back to avenge his own death by killing the conspirators.
  3. Ordinary people (the crowd) are easily swayed by effective oratory; thus, they can be changed into a dangerous mob. Shakespeare shows us that the crowd is fickle.
    1. 1.2: Cassius sways Brutus into the conspiracy.
    2. 3.2.14-67: Brutus sways the crowd into thinking that the conspiracy was right, and that they had a just cause.
    3. 3.2.82-266: Antony sways the crowd back into thinking that the conspirators were wrong, and that Caesar was not ambitious. He tells them to burn down the conspirators houses.
  4. Ambitions can change a mans character so that he no longer seeks the good for all men, but rather, seeks more power for himself.
    1. 2.1.162-164: Brutus doesnt let Cicero into the conspiracy because he wants all of the honor.
    2. 4.1.6-8: Antony and Lepidus kill family members for their cause.
    3. 4.1.10-11: Antony and Octavius cut people off the will so they can get more money.
    4. 4.1.14-44: Antony wants to use Lepidus as an errand boy so he can get power without working much.
  5. Power tends to corrupt those who hold it.
    1. 2.1.23-28: Lowliness is young ambitions ladder. Caesar had become corrupt; he turned his back on those who had helped him get to his power.
    2. 4.1.6-8: The second triumvirate decided who would live, and who would die.
    3. 4.1.10-11: Antony and Octavius took people out of the will so they could get money for themselves.
    4. 4.3.9-12: Cassius took bribes for positions so that he could get money.
    5. 5.1.17-21: Antony and Octavius fought over battle positions.
  6. People can easily delude themselves into thinking the end justifies any means.
    1. Antony justifies the death of hundreds of people because in the end, Caesars death will be avenged.
    2. Cassius justifies manipulating Brutus because Caesar will be killed.
    3. Brutus justifies killing Caesar because he will save Rome in the long run.
    4. Brutus justifies vetoing Cicero because he will not be a follower to them.
    5. Antony justifies being kind to the conspirators because he will be able to speak at the funeral and sway the crowd.
    6. Antony justifies changing the will because he wanted money.
    7. Antony justifies bossing Lepidus around because he wants the power.
    8. Caesar justifies silencing Marullus and Flavius to keep his power.
    9. Cassius justifies taking bribes because he can make money.

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