Julius Caesar

by: William Shakespeare

Loyalty

1

Romans, countrymen, and lovers! Hear me for my cause, and be silent that you may hear. Believe me for mine honor. . . If then that friend demand why Brutus rose against Caesar, this is my answer: not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more. (3.2.14-28)

Here, Brutus addresses the people of Rome directly following the killing of Caesar in Act III. Other than Cassius’s strong words against Caesar, the people of Rome have not directly witnessed Caesar as a tyrant. Therefore, this speech by Brutus is essential to the future of the conspirators in Rome. As Brutus speaks, he swears his loyalty to Rome and explains his honorable reasons for killing Caesar as he declares he “loved Caesar, but. . . loved Rome more.”

2

—Countrymen, My heart doth joy that yet in all my life I found no man but he was true to me. I shall have glory by this losing day.(5.5.38-40)

Moments before killing himself, Brutus speaks to the unwavering loyalty his men have shown him every day. He tells his countrymen that their loyalty brings him more joy than anyone will feel winning the battle. This sentiment verifies Brutus’s honorable reasons for rising up against Caesar. Even though his method may not have been the best choice and has ultimately lead to his own death, he sees himself as victorious because he had this loyalty from the Roman people.

3

What villain touched his body, that did stab, And not for justice? What, shall one of us That struck the foremost man of all this world But for supporting robbers, shall we now Contaminate our fingers with base bribes, And sell the mighty space of our large honors For so much trash as may be graspèd thus? I had rather be a dog and bay the moon Than such a Roman.(4.3.20-28)

In this scene in Act IV, Brutus and Cassius both accuse each other of wrongdoing. Here, Brutus argues with Cassius regarding their original goal and why they killed Caesar. Brutus accuses Cassius of accepting bribes and bringing disgrace to their reasons for killing Caesar. Brutus is starting to question whether he was misled by Cassius from the beginning. Brutus’s words hint that he is concerned that Cassius may not be as honorable as he thought. Therefore, Brutus is ultimately questioning Cassius’s loyalty to Rome while also reaffirming why he agreed to killing Caesar and his steadfast loyalty to Rome.


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