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How could someone extremely noble to Caesar, such as Brutus, join the conspiracy? Those questions really only have one definite answer, but not many people seem to know what it is. William Shakespeare, however, is not one of those people. He would tell you that Gaius Cassius Longinus (Cassius for short) and his quality of manipulation are the reason why the conspiracy was formed, and why noble people such as Brutus became a part of it. In Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar, Cassius is very manipulative, and is very good at convincing others to do what he wants. He is able to use Brutus’s qualities of honor and nobility in order to convince him to go along with his plan. Shakespeare shows Cassius as a manipulative character in order to show that manipulation can change even the most loyal and noble people.
Throughout the play, Brutus is the character that Cassius manipulates most. Cassius takes no time getting away at manipulating Brutus. The beginning of manipulating Brutus to join the conspiracy starts after Cassius gives the readers a sense of how Brutus’s character will change. He established that sense when he said the lines “I will this night, in several hands / in at his windows throw / as if they came from several citizens, writings all tending to the great opinion that Rome holds of his name” (JC 1.2.315-318). After Cassius had planted the seed of manipulation, he began to water it with many fake letters claiming to be from Roman Citizens about how horrible and tyrannic Caesar is, and because Brutus was a very honorable man, he was manipulated by those letters because of his love for Rome. Cassius even further manipulates Brutus to join the conspiracy when he attempted to flatter Brutus. The attempt began after Cassius said, “Brutus and Caesar—what should be in that ‘Caesar’ / Why should that name be sounded more than yours? / Write them together, yours is as fair a name” (JC 1.2.145-148) Cassius knew that everyone enjoys compliments, so he flattered Brutus with the idea of being just as powerful as Caesar. Although Brutus was very noble and loyal to Caesar, he still had some flaws in that quality of nobility. Those flaws were exploited when he began to fall for the idea of Caesar not being in power. Cassius had begun his long process of manipulation of the noble Brutus, and it was working very well. He was able to get him to join the conspiracy.
Cassius realized that he must continue his manipulation to further ensure that Brutus follows him rather than Caesar. When Cassius says, “I am glad that my weak words have struck but thus much show of fire from Brutus” (JC 1.2.177) He uses humility to get Brutus on his side. Brutus’ honorable and noble ways have left him extremely vulnerable to manipulation by Cassius. The use of the word weak made Cassius come across just someone who was venting their inner thoughts, but in reality he was controlling Brutus’s mind with an abundance of negativity. The negativity had a huge effect on Brutus, making Brutus feel like he has not done enough for Cassius. Cassius was absolutely the cause for Brutus’s transformation. Brutus shows readers this when he says, “Since Cassius first did whet me against Caesar / I have not slept.” (JC 2.1.65-66) After saying that, it becomes clear that Brutus knows he is turning into someone else, and he has no clue how to stop it, and it frustrated him. However, that was not going to be the final stage of getting Brutus to join the conspiracy, Cassius would still have to do a little more. He knows that in order to gain power over Rome, he has to gain complete power over Brutus. He had to get him to kill Caesar.
After some time, Cassius was finally able to get Brutus to do his first act after his transformation. Brutus was going in for the kill to stab his best friend Caesar. This emotionally destroyed Brutus. Brutus explains the killing when he says, “Grant that, and then is death a benefit. / So are we Caesar’s friends that have abridged his time of fearing death”
(JC 3.1.113-114). He claims that he did Caesar a favor by killing him because Caesar wouldn’t have to worry about dying anymore, which was more or less a cover up of his regrets about killing Caesar. The act of killing one’s best friend is bound to send the person into an emotional downward spiral. In Brutus’s case, this is exactly what happened. Brutus made a very bold statement when he said, “But I do find it cowardly and vile, for fear of what might fall, / (So to prevent the time of life), / Arming myself with patience to stay the providence / Of some high powers that govern us below” (JC 5.1.105-108). He said that he knews that it is cowardly to kill yourself when you know something terrible is impending. He admitted that he would not like to go back to being someone’s underling, but if he has to then it is what he deserves. This part is extremely significant because at the end of the play Brutus actually did kill himself. The event that Brutus killed himself right after he said he wouldn’t means that whatever honorable was left in Brutus was manipulated out of him by Cassius. Brutus’ life ending was symbolic of who he used to be ending, and that the Brutus who was manipulated by Cassius took over.
In conclusion, manipulation can change even the most loyal and noble people. In Julius Caesar, William Shakespeare describes Gaius Cassius Longinus as a manipulative character. He is very manipulative, and is very good at convincing others to do what he wants. He is able to use others’ qualities in order to convince him to go along with his plans and to do his bidding. The theme of manipulation that Cassius delivers is still very important even today. The theme is important in the present-day because leaders around the world like Kim Jong-un of North Korea may use manipulation in order to convince the people to stay in their country to do work for them, and it is a very big problem.
1.Shakespeare, William. Julius Caesar. Prestwick, 2005