TOPIC : “Role of Brutus in Julius caesar.”
NAME : Italiya kinjal.B
ROLL NO: 02
SEM -1: M.A. PART-1
SUBMITTED TO: Mr. Jay Mehta.
Department of English, Bhavnagar University.
(1) Role of Brutus in Julius Caesar.
There is no doubt at all that Brutus in Shakespeare's play appears to be more of an idealist than a practical man. An idealist is generally out of touch with the practical realities of life. An idealist lives in a world of ideas without being able to understand the actual workings of the human mind. An idealist takes too high a view of human nature, with the result that he misjudges human beings in the course of his dealings with them and therefore has to face disappointment and failure. An idealist is by definition a high minded and noble-minded man who thinks others to be also high-minded and noble-minded. An idealist takes people at their face value, without realizing that most people in this world are hypocrites and are governed by selfishness. An idealist tends to believe what other people tell him, and he trusts them implicitly. Brutus certainly belongs to the category of idealistic persons; and that is the reason why he meets a tragic end in the play. His very joining the conspiracy is a mistake from the practical point of view because he does not even pause to think how he would cope with the problems of the government after Caesar has been assassinated. It never occurs to him consider who would take Caesar's place as the ruler of the country. Perhaps subconsciously he imagines that he would himself take the reins of power in his own hands; but he does not anywhere make this opinion or view of himself explicit because he has not considered it consciously or deliberately.
Brutus's Errors of Policy before the Assassination of Caesar
In the course of the discussion with Cassius and others, Brutus rejects some very sound suggestions which Cassius makes. Brutus's rejection of these proposals shows clearly the idealistic bent of his mind and his incapacity to understand the realities of human life and human nature. Cassius suggests that they should swear their resolve to murder Caesar; but Brutus says that an oath is not necessary; and he then goes on to make a long idealistic speech to prove that the hard conditions of life under Caesar are in themselves enough to force them to kill Caesar without the need of any oath. Brutus shows his idealism also in saying that every Roman is an honorable man, and that not a single Roman, who is the legitimate offspring of his parents, can ever behave in a dishonorable manner or ever break a promise. To hold such a view of all the Romans shows a sad want of common sense in Brutus. Then, by China, and by Metallic Climber; and yet Brutus rejects Cassius suggests that Cicero should also be invited to join the conspiracy, and Cassius's proposal is supported by Casco this proposal also. Saying that Cicero would not follow anything which other men have begun. This attitude is a great blunder on Brutus's part because Cicero would have proved very useful to the conspirators as an orator to sway the minds of the mob. But Brutus's greatest blunder at this time is to reject Cassius suggestion that Antony should also be killed along with Caesar. Cassius is a practical man who knows Antony's potentialities for mischief; but Brutus says that killing Antony, in addition to killing Caesar, would make them appear to be too bloody. Killing Antony in addition to killing Caesar would mean cutting the head off and then cutting the limbs also, says Brutus. Brutus further says that Antony is merely to be butchers and not sacrifices. Here again Brutus makes an idealistic speech to prove that the murder of Antony would be wrong. If Antony had been murdered, there would probably have been no civil war in the country. It is Antony who afterwards creates turmoil in Rome by inciting the mob against the conspirators.
His Errors after the Assassination of Caesar
After Caesar’s assassination, Brutus commits other blunders. He quickly accepts Antony’s offer of friendship, and readily discusses with him the terms of an agreement between him and the conspirators. Here Brutus shows himself to be too conciliatory. Here he is on the defensive instead of asserting his own view with regard to the murder of Caesar. He not only agrees to give Antony the reasons for the murder of Caesar but goes so far as to permit Antony to address the mob; and he does so against the express advice of Cassius. After himself addressing the mob, Brutus departs, leaving the field clear for Antony. This is another error of judgment. Antony then proceeds to exploit the situation and being a good orator, he is able to instigate the mob against the conspirators. Of coerce, Brutus’s greatest blunder was not to have agreed to the killing of Antony; but the next greatest blunder of his public life is to allow Antony to address the mob after Caesar has been assassinated.
His Errors an Army Commander
Then follow other blunders. Brutus is, from the practical point of view, certainly wrong in taking action against the military officer who has been taking bribes from the Sardines. Morally Brutus is right; but, as Cassius points out to him, every small offence should not be punished during the time of war. Brutus also goes too far in bringing a charge of corruption against Cassius himself. Then he commits a blunder in not heeding Cassius’s advice that they should wait at Sardis and let the enemy launch an attack upon them. Brutus insists that they should march to Philippi, and should themselves take the initiative in attacking the enemy. This proves to be wrong strategy, as Cassius had anticipated. There would have been some possibility of a victory for the conspirators if they had waited at Sardis and allowed the enemy to launch an attack upon them. Later, in the coerce of the battle, Brutus at one point gives an order to his troops to begin an attack; and this order proves to be premature. After his troops have gained some advantage over Octavos, his troops begin to plunder the property of the local people, thus creating confusion for Cassius’s troops. Brutus fails as a military commander in the same way as he had previously failed as a political leader.
His Idealism and His Philosophic Temperament, Behind His Errors
It is no exaggeration to say that the public career of Brutus is a series of errors and blunder. His errors as a political leader are a direct consequence of his idealistic attitude to life and his lack of understanding of human nature; and his failure as a military commander is due to the fact that he is by nature more of a thinker and a philosopher than a man of action or a strategist.