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Essay on the Protagonist in 'Julius Caesar'

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All actions have consequences is something that has been drilled into every person’s mind since the minute they first got into trouble. However, people seem to forget about this idea until after the deed is done and the consequences start to arrive. But, what a lot of people seem to forget is that consequences can be both good and bad. In the play Julius Caesar, the author shows that this idea does not only apply in the modern world but has been a key factor all through history. Throughout the play main protagonist, the Roman senator, Brutus, consistently demonstrates this idea in his actions that lead up to and following the assassination of the Roman political leader, Julius Caesar. In Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar, he is able to use Brutus to portray the theme, all actions have their consequences, whether they are good or bad, through Brutus telling Portia about the conspirator’s plans, Brutus killing Caesar, and Brutus ignoring Cassius about killing Antony.

One example of how all actions have their consequences, whether they are good or bad, is when Brutus tells Portia about the conspirator’s plan to kill Caesar. As Portia is describing how she deserves to hear what is bothering Brutus, he responds, “All my engagements I will construe to thee” (Shakespeare 37). When he says this, Brutus is implying that he plans to tell Portia about everything that is pestering him. When he says, “All my engagements…” Brutus is signaling that he also means to tell Portia about the conspirator’s plan against Caesar. However, doing this ends up having both good and bad consequences. The good consequence is that Brutus is able to provide Portia with what she wanted, and was able to make her happy. By telling her something as important as a plan to kill a political leader, Brutus successfully shows Portia how much he loves and cares for her. On the other hand, the negative effect is that Portia ends up killing herself due to the information that Brutus confessed to her. On the ides of March, Shakespeare describes Portia as very agitated due to the fact that she didn’t know where in the plan the conspirators were, and if the plan was going smoothly. In Act 4, Brutus is notified that Portia killed herself as a result of not knowing if Brutus was safe or not, and her fear of the power and support that Octavius and Antony became too much for her to bear. Even though Brutus was able to make his wife happy at the current moment, the information that Portia acquired ended up being her death of her, in the long run.

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Another example of how Shakespeare used Brutus to portray that all actions have their consequences, is when Brutus killed Caesar. Right after he decided to join the conspirators, Brutus says to himself, “It must be by his death, and, for my part, /I know no personal cause to spurn at him, /But for the general” (Shakespeare 29). What Brutus means is that he is not killing Caesar because of personal reasons but because he wants to save the republic. When Brutus says, “But for the general” he is saying that the only reason he is doing this is for the general good and that includes saving the republic. When the conspirators decided to act on their plan to kill Caesar they came out with a good consequence, but in the long run, they ended with a bad consequence. By killing Caesar, Brutus and the conspirators were able to accomplish their overall goal of stopping Caesar from gaining complete power, which was a positive consequence. However, in the long run, many of the conspirators, such as Brutus and Cassius, ended up dying in a battle against Octavius Caesar and Antony or in the events leading up to it. Even though they were able to stop Caesar’s power from growing, Brutus and the conspirators ended up losing their lives all because they went through with their plan of killing Caesar.

Brutus ignored Cassius when he suggested many times to also kill Antony is a third example of how all actions have their consequences. When Antony asks Brutus if he can speak at Caesar’s funeral, Cassius warns, “Do not consent/ that Antony speaks in his funeral./ Know you how much the people may be moved” (Shakespeare 51). What Cassius is trying to warn Brutus is that he should not allow Antony to speak because of how persuasive Antony can be. When Cassius says, “Know you how much the people may be moved” he is implying that if Antony is given the chance, then he will try to sway the crowd against Brutus and the conspirators. However, Brutus decides to ignore Cassius’s suspicions against Antony and allowed him to speak at the funeral. Even though doing this allows Brutus to conserve his image and make him honorable, it ends up causing the consequence that makes the most damage. In his speech, Antony ended up doing exactly what Cassius said he would, and was able to sway the crowd over to his side and plant the idea of mutiny in their heads. This ends up causing a battle between the conspirators and the alliance of Antony and Caesar’s nephew, Octavius. During the battle, the tide turns against the conspirators, and Brutus, Cassius, and Cassius’s close friend, Titinius, end up killing themselves. In the end, Brutus’s decision to ignore Cassius and allow Antony to speak ended up being one of the biggest mistakes that Brutus makes throughout the whole play.

Brutus telling Portia about the conspirator’s plan, Brutus ignoring Cassius and his warnings not to let Antony speak at the funeral, and Brutus killing Caesar are just three ways how William Shakespeare uses Brutus to portray the theme that all actions have their consequences, whether good or bad, in his play, Julius Caesar. Even though many of Brutus’s actions had good intentions behind them, he never stopped to think about how those actions might affect other people and how they might affect him. Not only does this idea apply to the characters in Julius Caesar, but it also applies to the people before the Roman Republic and all the people after. If one can stop and think about how an action might affect someone else or even the world, and whether that effect is good or bad, then the story of our world and the parts of the story to come could be drastically different.

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Essay on the Protagonist in ‘Julius Caesar’. (2023, April 21). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 24, 2023, from
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