Theme in Shakepeare’s Julius Caesar

Zoisha Noorani


William Shakespeare’s tragedy Julius Caesar attempts to show the reader betrayal through the use of the literary elements of conflict and point of view. The first quote that shows betrayal is “Well, Brutus, thou art noble; yet I see Thy honorable mettle may be wrought From that it is disposed; therefore it is meet That noble minds keep ever with their likes; For who so firm that cannot be seduced? Caesar doth bear me hard, but he loves Brutus. If I were Brutus now and he were Cassius. He should not humor me. 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; wherein obscurely Caesar’s ambition shall be glanced at. And after this, let Caesar seat him sure; for we will shake him, or worse days endure.” (Act 1) Cassius is talking to himself about the nature of Brutus and a part of his plans to overthrow Caesar. Cassius realizes that Brutus is very close with Caesar and in order for his plan to work he needs Brutus to turn against him. Cassius also realizes that Caesar has a grudge against him so he must be careful. Cassius is planning to give letters to Brutus claiming that he should take over the throne from Caesar. Cassius truly believes that Caesar will be a terrible leader, even though he is supposed to be one of Caesar’s friends. This quote is related to the topic of betrayal because Cassius is supposed to be one of the people that Caesar can trust, yet he is going behind his back to overthrow him. Cassius is also planning to turn Caesar’s best friend, Brutus, against him. This is an act of betrayal. This is also a point of view of Brutus, because it is he who has the last decision of killing Caesar or not. He is the one who sees killing Caesar as helping Rome, and that is one of the literary elements that Shakespeare used in his play.

Another quote that shows betrayal is “Et tu, Brute?” This quote is said by Caesar when Brutus is about to stab him. Caesar is heartbroken that his loyal companion has betrayed him. Brutus later felt guilty and kept looking at his hands. When Caesar saw that Brutus had a knife, Caesar said that he is willing to die now because his most loyal companion has decided to kill him too. This is a significant act of betrayal by Brutus. This quote also has conflict, because now Brutus is feeling guilty of killing Caesar and it foreshadows for some type of conflict between the two main characters in the play.