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How Betrayal Led to Downfall in Julius Caesar

In the play, The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, William Shakespeare shows how friends often betray each other. Julius Caesar is about to be crowned king of Rome, when some well-known Romans decide that it is not a good idea for this to happen. They form a conspiracy and kill Caesar. Brutus, an honorable Roman and a very good friend of Caesar s, betrays Caesar by killing him for the good of Rome. Antony, Caesar s best friend and another honorable Roman, betrays Brutus by turning against the conspirators. Cassius, a respected Roman, and Brutus betray each other by arguing and destroying their friendship. All this betraying lead to many deaths in the play.

When Brutus betrayed Caesar for the good of Rome by killing him, he had no idea that he would regret it later on in his life. Brutus wanted to kill Caesar because he thought that if Caesar became king, he would forget who his real friends are and he would not pay attention to them. He also thought that Caesar would become too powerful and therefore did not want him to be king. This is shown when Portia says, Brutus hath a suit / that Caesar will not grant (2.4.41-42). Although Brutus had a clear conscience, the people of Rome did not. This eventually led to Brutus being driven out of Rome by the citizens. Not being associated with Rome anymore made Brutus life worse and he eventually took his own life as the only way to solve the problem.

Antony, Caesar s best friend, was not supposed to put down the conspiracy in any way, yet he indirectly found a way to get the people to oppose the conspirators. In his soliloquy, Antony praised Caesar s great personality but at the same time, he would keep saying positive things about Brutus. An example is when he says, He was my friend, faithful and just to me; / But Brutus says he was ambitious, / And Brutus is an honorable man. (3.2.85-87). The way in which he spoke and by telling the citizens the context of Caesar s will, turned the mob against Brutus and the rest of the conspirators. The anger possessed by the countrymen can be shown when a plebeian says, Most noble Caesar! We ll revenge his death! (2.2.244). This betrayal by Antony caused Brutus to break off their friendship.

Cassius was also driven out of Rome with Brutus and instead of working together to win back their reputation, they began arguing with each other and destroyed their friendship. Temporarily they argued about how they would attempt to put together an army, they argued about military strategy, and they argued about other common things that should not interfere between two friends. By not cooperating with each other when they needed to, they could not succeed in making a comeback and they both committed suicides.

All these instances of betrayal could have been avoided and therefore would not have led to the downfalls of certain characters. Had Caesar lived, maybe everybody would have gotten along and Rome could have become bigger and better. If Antony did not turn the Romans against Brutus, the conspiracy could have become stronger and might have destroyed Rome completely. If Cassius and Brutus would have worked together, they might have been able to defeat Antony at Phillipi.

One should not turn to betrayal to solve one s problems, for it may lead to one s downfall.


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