Julius Caesar

by: William Shakespeare

Act III, scenes ii–iii

In the ensuing riot, the killing of Cinna the Poet exemplifies the irrationality of the brutality that has been unleashed; since Caesar’s murder, Rome has become so anarchic that even a poet finds himself in grave danger. This murder of the wrong man parallels the conspirators’ more metaphoric murder of the wrong man: although Brutus and Cassius believe that they have brought an end to Caesar’s charisma and authority, they have merely brought an end to the mortal body that he inhabited. While the body may lie dead, the true Caesar, the leader of the people, lives on in their hearts—as he does in the anxious minds of the conspirators: Brutus will soon encounter Caesar’s ghost near the battlefield. The populace will now seek a man who can serve as their “Caesar”—the word has now become a synonym for “ruler”—in his place; Caesar has instilled in the Romans a desire to replace the old republic with a monarchy.

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