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Was Marcus Brutus A Violent Betrayer?

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With everyone’s mind and opinions being different, it is impossible to come to a clear answer to the question at hand. However, there are multiple points in Julius Caesar that lead me to the obvious conclusion that Marcus Brutus was, in fact, a betrayer. Some that read this play may see that Brutus would never do anything that he thought would harm the people of Rome. Others argue that the killing of Julius Caesar was necessary to put an end to the suffering he caused and point to the fact that Rome would not be in the state it’s in today if not for the assassination of Caesar. While all of these claims hold truth, they do not change the moral decision of taking someone’s life to ‘improve’ civilization. Looking back in real life history, there is usually always a better route. However, even if there was no better route to this particular case, Marcus Brutus failed to exhaust all other routes. He was so easily persuaded and manipulated by Cassius to kill his best friend that it makes one wonder how great of a person Brutus truly was. History would be different, yes.

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There is no way to know for sure what might’ve happened if Caesar was not killed by the conspirators. However, it is safe to assume that Rome most likely would still have turned out similarly to the Rome we know today if another, less violent route was taken. Without the death of Julius Caesar, history would be slightly less stained red. Brutus was doing what he thought was personally right, there’s no doubt about this. However, there is also no way to know exactly what his thought process was. On the ‘Ides of March’, Julius Caesar was stabbed 23 times by people whom he considered to be friends, if not brothers. They claimed that it was ultimately for the betterment of Rome, and the improvement of civilian’s lives. Even so, many lives were lost in the Battle of Philippi, and most common folk strongly disagreed with what Brutus and the other conspirators had done.

One more thing to ponder is the question of morality. If this situation were to be played out in a modern setting, it would never have been able to progress past a mere attempt. For example, people that have disagreed with United States presidents in the past to such an extreme degree as to turn to violence and attempt to assassinate them are highly frowned upon in our modern age. Take the shooting of JFK for example. This event caused most of the country to mourn for him at that point in time onwards to modern day America. While this play is a work of fiction, in order to determine the deeper theme behind it, one must put themselves into the shoes of a bystander and attempt to truly understand what it would have been like to be there in that very moment. Take into consideration hearing a man you had trusted to be close friends with your ruler, come out soaked in blood and say, “it’s not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more.”

There is absolutely no way that a sane person would look at someone that has done something as horrible as murdering their best friend in the name of their country and call them a hero. On the whole, Brutus was never a patriot. He consciously betrayed the trust and love of his best friend for the sake of his own opinion on how things should be run, along with the gentle manipulation of his peers. Take for example, this line by Julius Caesar himself from act three, scene one; “Et tu, Bruté?—Then fall, Caesar.” This powerful line translates to, “And you too, Brutus? In that case, die, Caesar.” Muttered before his death, Caesar is making his shock clear to Brutus. He cannot believe, of all people, Marcus Brutus would be the one to betray him. In the second part of this line, he states the obvious; he’s fallen as the ruler of Rome. However, he’s also stating that he’s fallen as a man.

What more does one have to live for after one of the few people you trust betrays you in such a way as gruesome as a public murder? After all of these events played out including the fallout, the public despising him, war on the horizon, until his own death, even Brutus himself thought what he did was right, with only brief traces left of guilt and remorse. It is obvious that when looked at with the cold hard facts laid out for you, he was nothing but a violent betrayer.

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