Shakespeare Quarterly, Volume 66, Number 3, Fall 2015, pp. 286-307
DOI: 10.1353/shq.2015.0045

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“Continuall Factions”:
Politics, Friendship, and History in Julius Caesar
I L L I A M S H A K E S P E A R E ’ S J U L I U S C A E S A R is set in Rome at the time
of Julius Caesar. Put so directly, this seems obvious, even tautological.
But I suggest that this basic fact has broad implications. By writing a play about
Julius Caesar set in Caesarean Rome, Shakespeare ensured that his audience
would bring with them certain preconceptions and understandings of the situation surrounding the play’s events—preconceptions and understandings he
used in shaping the drama and its effects.
In particular, I suggest, Shakespeare drew on his audience’s understanding of
the political structure of Rome around the time of Caesar. Warped by the
events of the civil wars in the generation before Caesar’s rise to power, the
Roman political structure had turned away from the individualized politics of
the early Republic that Shakespeare would later dramatize in Coriolanus—with
its emphasis on the individual senator and his opinions—toward a kind of
institutionalized factionalism in which the workings of the state were dependent on developed, well-known political associations. The leaders of these factions controlled access to power and authority, although they themselves might
or might not hold major political office at any given time. Political infighting,
which often took the form of actual military combat, was between factions, not
individuals. The interplay of these factions was a major part of the early modern
English understanding of the Roman civil wars, and, as I will show, Julius Caesar
assumes this political situation as the basis for its exploration of Caesar’s Rome.
In particular, I argue that the play identifies Caesar and his allies with a specific
faction ultimately derived from Marius that was opposed to another faction
ultimately derived from Sulla.1 Politics in Julius Caesar is not merely a matter of
individual interactions but of the interplay between the factions with which
individuals are associated. These factions are clearly identified in the play by the
word “friend.” Used primarily in a political sense, “friend” becomes largely
divorced from its affective meaning, which is displaced onto the word “lover.”
This distinction between friends and lovers makes plain the difference between



Lucius Cornelius Sulla was often referred to as “Sylla” or “Silla” in the early modern period;
I will refer to him as Sulla except where quoting from an early modern source.

763–96. and Marcus Brutus.2 Multiple Lives within Plutarch’s text treat the events surrounding Shakespeare’s play: not only the Life of Caesar. his son. Marcus Antonius. Marc Antony. Crassus. B. 75. Pompey and Caesar led armies against 2 Vivian Thomas. Brutus. The consistent emphasis in these accounts on the importance of factions to the period and on their specific composition helps us to identify the ways in which Shakespeare’s play highlights factionalism for its audience. The references for the various Lives within this translation are as follows: Caius Marius. this arrangement fell apart. 2. Marcus Crassus. These factional politics are best understood in conjunction with early modern English accounts of Caesar’s time—both Shakespeare’s direct narrative sources and others circulating in the same literary culture. and the nature of those factions. Pompey. 970–1010. and drove the Marians underground. The primary direct source for Julius Caesar is Thomas North’s translation of Plutarch’s Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romanes. After Crassus’s death in 53 BCE. Among those forced out of Rome at this time was Julius Caesar. R. Narrative and Dramatic Sources of Shakespeare (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. Eventually. Caesar invaded Italy from Gaul with an army.“CONTINUALL FACTIONS” 287 personal connection and political affiliation and provides a clear window into the factional politics of the play. so for the sake of the following discussion I will briefly summarize the sequence of events assumed by the relevant Lives in Plutarch’s work. 3 For the commonalities between these various Lives. esp. trans.3 The chronology of the civil wars themselves is not my focus. dividing Sulla’s faction between them in the 60s. Thomas North (London: Thomas Vatroullier and Iohn VVright. and the allies of Pompey and Caesar began to quarrel openly. 912–37. but also those of Caius Marius. 4 Plutarch. 499–525. 1989). 600–22. including Crassus and Pompey. when applicable. Shakespeare’s Roman Worlds (London: Routledge. 678–718. Together. ed. and Cicero. they tell a consistent story about the events of the Roman civil wars. Crassus. Hereafter cited as “North” with the name of the Life given parenthetically. “Plutarch’s Method of Work in the Roman Lives. During this period. Sulla and his allies. Caesar returned to Rome and ushered in a resurgence of the Marians. 451–79. 1964). Pompey. see C. They killed Marius. of course. 1579). Sulla. were victorious. . Pelling.4 The civil wars began with the feud between Caius Marius and Lucius Cornelius Sulla. Pompey. and Caesar partitioned Rome between their parties in the first triumvirate in 61 BCE. The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romanes. 1055–80. whose factions battled for control of Rome a generation before the events of Julius Caesar. Sylla. By 80 BCE. the importance of faction to those wars. Julius Caesar. 5:4. and many others. Marcus Tullius Cicero.. After Sulla’s death in 78 BCE. famously crossing the Rubicon in 49 BCE. 83. Pompey and Crassus became dominant in Rome. and Geoffrey Bullough.” The Journal of Hellenic Studies 99 (1979): 74–96. and Pompey and the majority of the senators withdrew from Rome.

Metellus. North’s translation of Plutarch strongly emphasizes the factional nature of the wars. 604 (Crassus). 763 (Caesar). His emphasis takes two forms: he focuses on the importance of faction in the period. The best example of this continuity comes from the Life of Caesar. In turn. His lieutenants included “Pompeius. Although some of Crassus’s followers may have joined Caesar. his faction could live on through Caesar. he casts factions as the basic unit of Roman political life by means of which individual moments and lives should be understood. and he fled to Egypt. 972 (Antony). they were actually a new feature of late republican Rome.” and.8 Although these factions proved persistent. in which Sulla responds to his advisors’ recommendation that he spare Julius Caesar by telling them “that they did not consider that there were many Marians in that young boy. 765 (Caesar).”6 Because Caesar was Marius’s nephew. and Seruilius.5 In this way. the which Sylla brought in. 917 (Cicero). 506. later splitting power with Caesar’s Marians. after which Caesar held a triumph in 45 BCE. 685 (Pompey). 519 (Sylla). 6 North. whereby members of the victorious faction were rewarded with the positions and wealth of the defeated. 522 (Sylla). Pompey and Crassus remained in power after Sulla’s death. 501 (Marius). Pompey’s army was defeated in 48 BCE. Cassius and Brutus are identified as members of Pompey’s faction pardoned by Caesar after his victory. 9 North. the continuity remains clear between the SullaPompey and Marius-Caesar factions.”9 This “chaunge” is the institution of the spoils system. which is told with minimal variations in each of the above Lives. His sons fought on in Spain until Caesar and his army arrived to defeat them. These factions are not only important but also continuous. as already noted. 604 (Crassus). even though Marius himself was already dead. extending the factions into the period depicted in Julius Caesar. The Life of Cicero notes the “chaunge and alteracion of gouernment. where he was killed and his head was presented to Caesar.288 SHAKESPEARE QUARTERLY each other in the eastern Mediterranean while Pompey’s sons and Caesar’s allies battled in the western. North uses the term “faction” whenever Plutarch steps back from the details of an individual biography either to examine Rome as a whole or to set the stage for the next part of a Life. he was a potential leader of the Marians and therefore contained “many Marians”. Sulla’s faction likewise persisted after his death. 8 North. . Within that narrative. 1056 (Brutus). the division was simply between Caesar and Pompey. 790 (Caesar). and he describes the continuity of those factions throughout the period. lasting long after their founders’ deaths.7 After Crassus’s death. and the latter were excluded from 5 See North. 7 North. This triumph begins Julius Caesar. Crassus.

Lodowick Lloyd. have written this entire section by drawing on the work of just one author.”10 Shakespeare’s Cassius makes a reference to this sort of system when he tries to bribe Antony by giving him a voice “In the disposing of new dignities” (3. The tragicocomedie of Serpents (London. 11 .1. . or on Syllaes. factions began so to multiply in Rome. vnto the last ouerthrow of Mar. 1602). he refers 10 North. 1607). including Plutarch. The practice of policy. we can see the way that the civil wars are viewed in North’s Plutarch as a whole: as a time when factions arose and began to be entrenched in the Roman political structure. and from Pompey to Caesar. It is also worth noting that although Lloyd names the factions by their leaders. from Caesar to Augustus. 35. Lodowick Lloyd. The First part of the Diall of Daies (London. I could. UK: Thomas Nelson and Sons. and Lodowik Lloid. 12 They are Lodovvik Lloid. North’s Plutarch was far from the only early modern English text to treat the theme of factionalism during the Roman civil wars.14 This view is precisely what we would expect from a careful reader of Plutarch and other ancient historians. The consent of time (London. The consent of time. In The Stratagems of Jerusalem. vntill they and their factions were slayn by the sword. The practice of policy (London. Lloid. 1590). The tragicocomedie of Serpents. that likewise it brake out into ciuill warres. and Lloid.12 Lloyd was an avid reader of Roman history. Pompey.“CONTINUALL FACTIONS” 289 office.11 In the Life of Cicero. to the destruction of the whole Empire. some following the fury of Marius. David Daniell. welnigh fourty yeeres. but those that eyther should bee on Marius side. “Sylla had by his ordinaunces deposed [the Marians] from their dignities and offices in Rome. and others. cited parenthetically. that none might dwell in Rome.178). who between 1590 and 1607 published five books that touched on the Roman civil wars and the significance of faction. for instance. which continued from Sillaes time. Of course. in the time of Sylla and Marius. Unless otherwise noted. Arden3 Series (Walton-on-Thames. which appears to have been a recognized part of the system of faction. from Sylla to Caesar. . Carbo: and others followers of Sylla. as it did in Greece. as Sertorius. 1604). he does not see the existence of the factions as dependent on the eponymous leaders. Thus was the Empire deuided by factions. 84. 13 See among many others. 14 Lloyd. ed. 16. Cynna. 1998). The First part of the Diall of Daies. 1590). and Eutropius. 918 (Cicero). Lodowick Lloid. 528. sometime running from Caesar to Pompey. As North puts it. Lloid. The stratagems of Ierusalem (London. as Metellus. Suetonius. as his numerous marginal and in-line citations witness. Lodowike Lloyd.13 His perspective on the period is perhaps best summarized in The Practice of Policy: . all citations from the play are from Julius Caesar. Antonius. and their countrey welnigh destroyed.

trans. Philemon Holland (London: Adam Islip. O2v. B4v. Of the citie of God. sig. 17 Churchyard. 1600). see VV. Cornelivs Tacitvs. 342. trans. L. Snowdon for Matthew Lownes. Churchyards Choise. against Cassius and Brutus. 1571). STC 712. fols. 15. W. (London: Edmund Bollisant for G. Richard Grenewey (London: Arn. G1v. A briefe chronicle. 154. 1584). Livivs [Livy]. (London: George Eld. Observations vpon the five first bookes of Caesars commentaries (London: Peter Short. tvmults. G4v.. O2v. we must see Rome as the early modern English typically understood it: not merely “without Caesar . and E.5. Lownes and G. 1604). STC 23422. STC 16883. 16 . E1r. called Churchyardes choise (London: Edward White. Lvcans first booke. and Gentillet. used the Roman stories for a variety of purposes. 1. trans. Cc3r–v. trans.290 SHAKESPEARE QUARTERLY to “Carbo. 217. sigs. 1602). and couched their commentary in a variety of terms. a kingdome. Hatfield for Bonham and Iohn Norton. the head and chiefe of all Marius faction. Chr[istopher] Marlovv[e] (London: P. Other writers similarly engaged with these topics in translations. An Auncient Historie and exquisite Chronicle of the Romanes warres. Appian. In order to properly appreciate the play and its events. 158. 1600). Peter de la Primavdaye. 1564). B. and Thomas Digges. A1v. Foure Paradoxes (London: H. Lownes for Clement Knight. 1579). Simon Patericke (London: Adam Islip. essays. 123. and Innocent Gentillet. 68. Nicolas Havvard (London: Thomas Marshe. see William Corne-waleys [Cornwallis]. trans. . a city divided. Discovrse. For histories see. For essays. trans. 1606). 154. trans. as they do through North’s translation and Lloyd’s various works: the importance of “faccious dealyng” in the period and the continuity of the wars from “Marius and Silla” to “Pompeius and Caesar” and on through “the Triumvirate of Octavius. 263. 1596). and Avgvstine. The stratagems of Ierusalem. the scene 15 Lloyd. sig. and Massacres of the Romans and Italians (London: VVilliam Ponsonby. commentaries. Suetonius. sig. Antonius. Eutropius. 1600). sig. The annales. . T. Richard Reynoldes. Short and Walter Burre. The French Academie.”17 The political world of Julius Caesar is grounded in this view of the factional divisions of late republican Rome. B. (London: Henrie Bynniman. 1610). An historicall collection of the continvall factions. 1601). Yet two common themes run through them all. trans. 1598). A Chronicle of all the noble Emperours of the Romaines (London: Thomas Marshe. A generall rehearsall of warres. William Fulbecke. I. The historie of tvvelve Caesars. For advice books. Romes Monarchie (London: The Widdow Orwin for Matthew Lawe. we must explore the nature of the factional politics of the play and the characters’ various understandings of this factionalism. and advice books. see T. Auerell. sig. For commentaries.” making it clear that the Marian faction survived Marius’s death.15 Lloyd was merely the most prolific early modern English interpreter and recapitulator of the Roman civil wars and the Caesar story. or other principalitie.16 These books cited (or failed to cite) a variety of sources. sig. trans. In doing so. 53. 36. sig. see Clement Edmvnds. 1248–59. Essayes (London: Edmund Mattes. and Lepidus. 1578). The Romane historie. H. 709. 71. 1600). Thomas Churchyard. the onely enemie of Sylla. Bishop and Ralph Newbery. histories. Philemon Holland (London: H. 1586). and [Lucan].” but a city divided during his life. For translations.5. A discovrse vpon the meanes of vvel governing and maintaining in good peace. A Dyall for dainty Darlings (London: Thomas Hackette.

“Court Factions in Early Modern England. the tribunes who break up the plebeians’ celebrations for Caesar remind them. esp. 51–52). Yet at the same time. and their countrey welnigh destroyed. For more on the tensions between the policy and practice of factionalism. 35 (see n. factional one: “you now strew flowers in his way. 101. Julius Caesar exists in this fallen. term in early modern England.21 This tension between philosophical distrust of faction and practical experience of it would have primed Elizabethan audiences to look for factional elements in Julius Caesar. asking the crowd. 12 above). . The practice of policy.”18 We must also understand the degree to which this factional division was believed to be intimately tied to the destruction of the Roman Republic.38).” Representations 29 (1990): 145–79.” see Simon Adams. By extolling the memory of Pompey to the plebeians and rejecting.”19 “Faction” was not a positive. “Knew you not Pompey?” (1. Caesar’s celebrations.1. 16 above). 19 Fulbecke. and Lloid. and massacres. 721. An historicall collection (see n. What had been a rugged. 1990). for whom a knowledge of Pompey would indeed be useful. of the civil wars.4 (1992): 721–45. or even a neutral. 211. 146–47.  Clientage and Party  English Politics. something that at its best represented uncivil dissension and at its worst would tear a country apart. / That comes in triumph over Pompey’s blood” (ll. 20 For more on Shakespeare’s contemporaries and the use of “faction. 18 Robert S. particularly as the Roman Republic was seen as the classic example of the dangers of faction. “Emulous Factions and the Collapse of Chivalry: Troilus and Cressida. Even in the first scene. Although addressed to the plebeians.“CONTINUALL FACTIONS” 291 of “the struggle between two warring ‘noble’ factions.” or that Lloyd spoke of the civil wars continuing until “their factions were slayn by the sword. see Eric S. NY: Cornell UP. in Pompey’s name. It was no accident that the title of William Fulbecke’s history of the period yoked together “continuall factions.20 It was something to be avoided. 1983). factional world. Writing from History: The Rhetoric of Exemplarity in Renaissance Literature (Ithaca. “Faction.12 (1982): 33–39. the tribunes immediately recall for us the factional history of Rome and its relevance to the play. Miola. Shakespeare’s Rome (Cambridge: Cambridge UP. Factionalism was known to be a fact of political life in the late Republic.” The Journal of Modern History 64.  1550–1603. individualistic government in the early Republic had decayed into factional decadence and then destroyed itself. it was also “the dominant form of political organization” under Elizabeth I. esp. The tribunes then reject the plebeians’ celebrations as inappropriate because they come as a result not of a foreign victory but of a domestic. Mallin. but it was also believed to be the root of the Republic’s destruction. 21 Robert Shephard. and Timothy Hampton.” History Today 32. tumults. and us. the question might equally apply to the audience.

3. Caesar’s entrance brings the appearance of harmony and triumph.292 SHAKESPEARE QUARTERLY Having brought up this factional history. By the end of the long scene. In response. we see Mark Antony speak to Octavius Caesar’s servant. scene 1. They immediately rehearse the disharmony underlying the state. as we suddenly discover in a few lines the other members of the faction: “Cinna. As if they came from several citizens. We realize that we are not witnessing the beginning of a “conspiracy” but the last stages of its formation. These previously unknown men “are the faction” (2. (1. (ll.2. 121–24) This is news to Caska.314–19) The picture we are left with is one of Cassius urging forcefully to create a conspiracy against Caesar. After only one intervening scene. testing the waters repeatedly. The opposing faction is equally predetermined. 148). Brutus is not the only target of Cassius’s intrigues. 134.118)—that is. Julius Caesar does not allow us to forget it. but his exit leaves Cassius and Brutus onstage.1. Octavius himself arrives in Rome in the next scene. as Brutus says. Cassius has told the audience that he plans to push Brutus even further by delivering letters that continue to direct Brutus toward Cassius’s opinion: I will this night In several hands in at his windows throw. Cassius informs him that the faction already exists: I have moved already Some certain of the noblest-minded Romans To undergo with me an enterprise Of honourable dangerous consequence. Writings all tending to the great opinion That Rome holds of his name—wherein obscurely Caesar’s ambition shall be glanced at. to form a faction. Octavius. through both the content of their conversation and their refusal (like that of the tribunes) to join in the general festivities.” and “Decius Brutus and Trebonius” (ll. Nor does he wait patiently. who begs him to “Be factious for redress of all these griefs” (1. it is also news to the audience who has previously seen Cassius individually recruit only Brutus and Caska. and they are joined together before we even know it.77). 133. It is quickly clear that Cassius is already working against Caesar and awaits Brutus’s participation to continue that work in earnest. We see him bring Caska into the fold. Antony. and the previously unmentioned Lepidus are already . Shortly after Caesar’s death in Act 3.” “Metellus Cimber. Cinna’s entrance confirms Cassius’s statement.

” except in a purely academic sense. and Alexander Leggatt. just as Cassius’s faction is that of Pompey and Sulla.23 The triumvirs can move so swiftly because they are already allies. Shakespeare’s Roman Worlds. 69. Shakespeare’s Political Drama: The History Plays and the Roman Plays (London: Routledge. This meaning was not only current in early modern England but also common.22 Antony is not “the leader of a new rebellion. Contrary to what some critics have held.1) by proscription.126). . personal attachment. Consistently. and they step smoothly into power after Caesar’s death. Some of this sequencing is Shakespeare’s usual compression of time.” while those who are linked only by ties of affection. Shakespeare’s treatment of the words “friend” and “lover” corresponds to the difference between two uses of the term “friend” prevalent in both early modern England and the classical past. but the leader of an already preexisting faction that has sprung into action. Bristol (London: Continuum. 140.” a group whose existence precedes and shapes their association. affective friendship. It is no accident that Antony goes to meet his fellow triumvirs “at Caesar’s house” (3.” as Robert Miola suggests.3. 24 Thomas. esp.” in Shakespeare and Moral Agency. it would be closer to the truth to say they were both “limbs” of something larger that did not die with Caesar. 2010). ed.1.2. However. and History. 1988). it is clear that the fundamental political units of Rome are the two contesting factions. As a generation of recent scholarship has shown. However. but lived on through Antony and his fellow triumvirs. and of Marius before him.164).” no “political vacuum. “Moral Agency and Its Problems in Julius Caesar: Political Power. in this play there can be no “state of uncertainty about the precise nature of the constitutional position in Rome. or what we would traditionally call friendship are referred to as “lovers. especially among males.1. Shakespeare’s Rome.” Two men can be both “lovers” and “friends.” as Cassius and Brutus or Caesar and Antony are. the two words represent distinct relationships. Michael D. Choice.1.24 It is from them that the “fierce civil strife” (3. but some of it also reflects that these three men are clearly all “members of Caesar’s party. 102. was “an almost ubiquitous presence” in early 22 Hugh Grady. Brutus spared Antony because he believed him “but a limb of Caesar” (2. Their presence is palpable throughout the play. 23 Miola.“CONTINUALL FACTIONS” 293 selecting who in Rome “shall die” (4. This distinction is made by all of the characters in the play except Caesar—a point to which I will later return.263) that Antony predicts will emerge. 21. 15–28. The first is the standard meaning that “friend” still has in the modern world: a person to whom someone feels tied by bonds of love and loyalty. those who share a faction are referred to as “friends.254) any more than that the conspirators await Cassius “In Pompey’s Porch” (1. This is the faction of Caesar. This division is felt in the play’s language as well as in its action.

not a sentiment based on congeniality. it retains a kernel of truth. see Brunt. “purely political connections have their place” in the understanding of “friend. 1949). The Fall of the Roman Republic and Related Essays (Oxford: Clarendon Press.”28 While this politically totalizing interpretation of classical friendship is now largely discredited. 116. derive his definition of “friendship” from these much later sources. gen. 2007). 351–81. Friendship in the Classical World (Cambridge: Cambridge UP. 5. Based on the Oxford Edition. ed. 122–48. Roman Republic. But there was always another side to friendship. 53. friendship” and that “amicitia was a weapon of politics. 2010). 1988). Unlike Julius Caesar. 443–502. 12. in The Norton Shakespeare.” in Friendship in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Age: Explorations of a Fundamental Ethical Discourse. 214. the time depicted in Julius Caesar.26 In centering friendship on personal affective connections. view that classical friendship meant only political alliance: that “the old Roman substitute for party is amicitia.” that extolled the importance of close personal friendship. ed. and Ronald Syme. “stripped of its affective component. Sovereign Amity: Figures of Friendship in Shakespearean Contexts (Chicago: U of Chicago P.9. The Roman Revolution (Oxford: Oxford UP. especially in the first scene in which both Bassianus and Marcus Andronicus signify political followers through “friends” as well as “faction. and David Konstan. 1. however. even for the early modern English. Albrecht Classen and Marilyn Sandidge (Berlin: De Gruyter. Norton. A. . Shakespeare does not. Male Friendship in Shakespeare and His Contemporaries (Cambridge: Cambridge UP.”30 25 Stella Achilleos. “Friendship and Good Counsel: The Discourses of Friendship and Parrhesia in Francis Bacon’s The Essayes or Counsels. 381.” the term “simply refers to allies and supporters.1. 27 MacFaul. though now generally rejected. ed. even in Cicero. 26 Andrew Hadfield. Titus Andronicus also uses “friend” in its more affective meaning. 648. the early modern English saw themselves as imitating the Romans of Cicero’s time.”27 From this denotation of “friend” comes the long-standing. and Tom MacFaul. 1.”29 Shakespeare himself employs this meaning in his earlier Roman play Titus Andronicus. Male Friendship. 7. Laurie Shannon. 2005). 28 Lily Ross Taylor. then. of course. Katharine Eisaman Maus. Brunt. For analysis of why amicitia must have a broader meaning. 1997). 29 P. esp.”25 This emphasis was largely derived from early modern readings of Cicero’s De Amicitia (Of Friendship). 1939). 2002). 170. Stephen Greenblatt (New York: W. Civill and Morall. This is what Tom MacFaul calls the “specialized meaning in a political context” of the word “friend” in which. W. 1997). 643–74. “a key plank in the intellectual culture of sixteenth-century Europe. but rather reacts in a similar manner to certain strains in the classical sources. 30 Titus Andronicus. Shakespeare and Republicanism (Cambridge: Cambridge UP.294 SHAKESPEARE QUARTERLY modern England. 18. Party Politics in the Age of Caesar (Berkeley: U of California P. where it was raised to “doctrinal status” and considered “the most important thing in the world.

3. Ciceronian—and early modern—friendship is not absent from the play. 220) and then by asking to speak “as becomes a friend” (l. who has never appeared before in the play.2.3. He will not benefit politically from Caesar’s survival. disperse yourselves” (l.1. The bond of affection signified by “love” and its attendant terms also appears frequently in the play. Shakespeare displaces the affective content of “friend” onto “lover” in order to free “friend” for the other.26). amor: love.43–44).1. In signing his letter “Thy lover” rather than “Thy friend. by “making friends. A brief examination of the language of association in the play reveals these overlapping but distinct uses of “love” or “lover” and “friend” or “friendship. “Will you be pricked in number of our friends” (l.1.1. this makes . and Cassius plainly asks Antony. When he. When they seek to woo Antony to their side after the assassination.312) and that Antony has an “ingrafted love” (2.” The conspirators are all friends: Cassius tells Caska that Cinna is “a friend” (1. Friendship and alliance are synonymous.133) in order to identify him as a member of their faction. 216). it is simply called by another name. This manner of speaking extends down to the foot soldiers in their army.” The root of amicitia is. 229)—purposely leaving it ambiguous as to whether he would do so as their friend or as Caesar’s.82). Brutus confidently claims. “I know that we shall have him well to friend” (3. although he would not have Caesar become king. This soldier.“CONTINUALL FACTIONS” 295 I believe it is precisely because the exclusively political resonance of “friend” is so important to Julius Caesar—and so rare in the period—that the play makes such liberal use of “love” and “lover. Antony’s quick adoption of this terminology may be related to his own faction’s use of it.183) for Caesar.9). Octavius. Brutus. 221). 12). insists “yet I love him well” (1. Even their departure is couched in friendship: “friends. occurring both between and within factions. for he is not of Caesar’s faction. friend” (5. after all. thinking him to be Brutus. Indeed. Antony calls him “friend” not because they are close but because they share a side in the factional civil war.” the triumvirs mean rallying their faction to the cause. narrower use and to distinguish between the two types of relationship. / Our best friends made” (4. they agree to “let our alliance be combined. When trying to warn Caesar about the conspirators.170). and during their meeting they are all “gentle friends” (2. Antony assures the man that “This is not Brutus.2. When one of his troops presents Antony with Lucilius. and Lepidus join to attack the conspirators after Caesar’s death. Artemidorus writes to him as “Thy lover” (2.143).4. Antony appropriates this theme and convinces the conspirators to let him speak at the funeral first by pretending that “Friends am I with you all” (l. does not even have a name.” Artemidorus signals that his action derives from admiration of Caesar’s “virtue” (l. Cassius knows that Caesar “loves Brutus” (1.

The key differences between the two speeches occur in their respective first lines. he wishes them to be his “lovers. not the political. 74). calling the people his “friends” before he has convinced them to be so.” situating himself and the crowd relative to Rome just as Brutus has.13). Antony’s speech. Instead. Brutus’s speech is intended to calm the crowd and to explain the conspirators’ actions by claiming that they acted in order to preserve and restore Rome. soon after Artemidorus’s attempted intervention. Thus. then calls them his countrymen (identifying himself as Roman too). by contrast. he identifies his audience as Romans first. only Brutus’s request that he be allowed to “depart alone” (l. 2) because he believed that they were on his side. acting in the best interests of Rome. is intended to convince the crowd to act on his side against Brutus and the conspirators. His introduction could be said to summarize his speech. the crowd has already taken Brutus’s side. Romans. he no longer speaks to their political leanings. but Antony co-opts the crowd more effectively. countrymen” (l. He will sway them to his side in large part by treating them as if they were already there. 56) and that they listen to Antony has stopped the crowd from “bring[ing] him to his house with shouts and clamours” (l. and finally expresses his desired relation to them as a “lover. But when it comes time to address them formally. Both Brutus and Antony deploy the languages of love and friendship to work the crowd.” But it is a calculated risk.” When Brutus first entered the square. In all of these cases. countrymen and lovers” (3. These lines differ in two ways: the change from “lovers” to “Friends” and the reordering of the terms. These changes produce speeches that point to drastically different ends. 53). turning it into a mob that aligns with his faction and goes out to destroy his political opponents. it is the affective relationship that Shakespeare emphasizes. This secondary move empowers the irony of his later praise . Only after he has claimed them as “Friends” does Antony go on to “Romans. At this point. while Antony instead opens with “Friends. He has no future plans to mobilize the people politically as friends. he called the people “friends” (l.296 SHAKESPEARE QUARTERLY Artemidorus’s failed effort to save Caesar’s life all the more tragic. countrymen.2.” that is to think well of him and to wish him well. Brutus begins “Romans. It is therefore a risk for Antony to open by terming the people “friends. he wants the people to excuse Caesar’s murder and love him (and the rest of the conspirators) because of their identity as Romans and their belief that he too is a Roman. Shakespeare underscores the significance of the distinction between friendship and love in the contrasting speeches that Brutus and Antony deliver at the funeral. He cunningly begins by assuming success. In the immediate wake of Caesar’s death. The lover bears the beloved in his heart but does not express a political position by admitting love.

Antony has crammed two distinct messages into a single line. ed. exists in degrees. Antony’s first lines are a microcosm of the whole. but that I loved Rome more” (ll. and claims to participate in. since he kills Caesar for it.” In this moment. 262. representing factional affiliation. But his only reference to friendship emphasizes that he is not Caesar’s friend: “If there be any in this assembly.”31 But as we have seen.’” 257. By initially positioning himself like Brutus. for his ambition” (ll. that Brutus’ love to Caesar was no less than his” (ll. Brutus speaks freely of. one man is or is not another’s friend. 17–19). Love. and by this measure the force of Brutus’s love for Rome cannot be denied.” introducing an affective term alongside the political “friend. Nussbaum.] and death. can call Caesar “friend. to him I say. . . as distinguished from friendship in this play. and Lovers. . for his love [ . but that I loved Rome more.” Brutus’s “love” cannot participate in the political sense of friendship. “‘Romans. Martha Nussbaum claims that in this speech Brutus is “suspicious of any particularistic attachment” and speaks only of “a rather abstract love of country and hatred of oppression. of Brutus’s own emotional state. Here Brutus envisions someone who is connected to Caesar in multiple senses—a “dear friend. and Richard Strier (Chicago: U of Chicago P. They are both love. He promises “tears. Countrymen. friendship.“CONTINUALL FACTIONS” 297 of Brutus and the conspirators. any dear friend of Caesar’s. but the same feeling. 32 He certainly feels it concretely. Brutus’s love of Rome is not an “abstract emotion. one particular and one abstract. including the famous line “not that I loved Caesar less. But only that man. Brutus emphasizes an aspect of love that makes it fundamentally distinct from friendship: its comparability. In conveying this love of Rome. By contrast. Brutus speaks of his “love to Caesar” (l. As with Brutus’s speech. 32 Nussbaum. Indeed. Bradin Cormack. it is crucial for him that they are not different feelings. esp. and Lovers:’ Political Love and the Rule of Law in Julius Caesar.” unless all love is. and not Brutus. Love. The speeches that follow these first lines make heavy use of the distinction between friendship and love. 19). Yet unlike Brutus. 256. Martha C. is a question of affect. not only cannot 31 Martha C.” in Shakespeare and the Law: A Conversation among Disciplines and Professions. “‘Romans. Countrymen.” He speaks to that man of his love for Caesar and imagines him sharing his experience of that love. 27–28). Political friendship is binary. however. Brutus tells his hypothetical dear friend of Caesar’s that “Brutus’ love to Caesar was no less than his” and justifies himself by explaining “not that I loved Caesar less. the ability to compare loves turns into the necessity of ranking them because loves inevitably come into conflict. Nussbaum. 21–22). both love of Caesar and love of country. or else he would not have murdered Caesar. 256–81. 2013). Antony occupies ground from which he can later pass judgment on Brutus.

He structures his own relation to the people around friendship. conditioning his audience to think of themselves in that way. like his first use of “friends. 226) before switching to “friends” and proceeding to read the will. not love. the people loved Caesar. 228). Brutus’s love for Caesar. sweet friends. Friendship would have brought Caesar safety from Brutus. . By carefully connecting 33 Thomas Betteridge. UK: U of Hertfordshire P.” and “friends” (ll. He bids the audience to “hear me. The second use appears in the context of Caesar’s will when Antony refuses to read it and calls the people “gentle friends.” The fourth example combines both of these approaches. We have already examined the first line in which he employs “friends” proleptically. He repeatedly invokes love.” “Good friends.” The third instance occurs after he shows them Caesar’s wounds. Antony. 103) and telling them that “Caesar thus deserved your loves” (l.” the word is yoked with a reference to the people as “countrymen. 212). 174) made in Caesar’s breast. faithful and just to me” (l. as Caesar has “deserved your loves” by making “every Roman citizen” (l. Through this process. while “no less” than that of the dearest of friends.” Antony will echo this thought when he shows the people the hole that “the well-beloved Brutus” (l. reminding the people that “You all did love him once” (l. Like Brutus.” He asks them to “Stay. Antony connects his friendship with the plebeians to two powerful emotional triggers: their Roman identities and their love of Caesar. 229). 141. countrymen” (l. 200) before calling them “Good friends. in both cases joining his affective connection to Caesar with his political one. but also need not be compared because one’s friends are also friends with each other due to the nature of faction. 2005). They are brought into his faction. He says that Caesar “was my friend. sweet friends. 234) his heir. Shakespearean Fantasy and Politics (Hatfield. 86) and calls himself one “That love[s] my friend” (l. 203. made not “bondsmen to Antony’s political tyranny”33 but partners in his political future. The will itself brings these two triggers together. but only love for Caesar. and the crowd that Antony wants them to have in mind: that their love for Caesar should motivate them to be Antony’s friends. The repeated word stresses the relation between Caesar.298 SHAKESPEARE QUARTERLY be compared because it is either present or absent. but unlike Brutus he combines that love with an emphasis on political friendship that quickly becomes his primary focus. love brings only “tears”—and “death. countrymen” (l. The other three occasions are equally meaningful and work together to bring the plebeians to the fever pitch of riot they reach at the end of Antony’s speech. is an insufficient guard for Caesar’s life because it must compete with Brutus’s love for Rome. but they will be Antony’s “gentle friends. and. Antony refers to the plebeians as “friends” four times in his speech. Antony underscores his love of Caesar. 119.

He is careful not to speak of friendship. Antony’s faction is Caesar’s faction. like friends. Caesar is “strenuously engaged in the creation of the legendary figure” that he wishes to be. and seek by killing him to restore Rome—though they do not all agree on exactly how the assassination will restore Rome. He can call all men friends.“CONTINUALL FACTIONS” 299 their friendship with him to both their Roman identity and their love of Caesar. / And we. can remake men’s allegiances linguistically. we must consider further the nature of the Rome in which that speech is made. speaks of his “dear. despite the fact that they were not his friends but those of Pompey and Cassius. will straightway go together” (ll. This is the Ciceronian ideal. and make them friends. that this is the only time when “friend” is applied to someone clearly of the other party without irony or falsehood on the speaker’s part. Brutus jokes that the conspirators have become “Caesar’s friends” by having “abridged / His time of fearing death” (3. For Ernest Schanzer.” the conspirators must naturally be his allies. and taste some wine with me. . Caesar believes that he has transcended factions and brought peace to the civil wars. includes them all in his vision of friendship: “Good friends. go in. fear that his victory has broken the factional order that had existed previously. I suggest. on the other hand. 104). 125) from Caesar’s side. the side that considers himself as beyond his fellow men. Caesar.104–5) after the murder. but only in an aside admitting that Caesar’s “best friends shall wish I had been further” (l. and he alone. Antony is able to ensure that when the plebeians finally erupt into violence they do so not only as Caesar’s avengers but also as Antony’s partisans. we see him claiming to be beyond the merely factional use of the term by his fellows. not his enemies. in luring Caesar to the Senate. that there is no distinction between those who are his friends and those who love him. is much commented on. Decius Brutus. having done Caesar a good turn by shortening “His time of fearing death. because he has transcended faction. but it is a miscalculation within the far from ideal political world of the play. but Caesar himself threatens the factional order in two different but related ways. dear love” (2. He.1. Before we turn to the civil war that follows Antony’s speech. I take this latter use to be saying (with intentional irony) that.2. 126–27). The conspirators. There is strong dramatic irony in these lines no matter how we take the word “friend. I think. or what Rome it will restore.34 In Caesar’s misapplication of the term.102) for Caesar and tells him in his explanation of Calphurnia’s dream that “reason to my love is liable” (l. while Michael Platt reads him as 34 We have already seen Antony’s self-preserving lies to the conspirators. confusing the two categories and opening himself up to the conspiracy. Trebonius does invoke friendship in the same scene. however.” But it is crucial. This side of Caesar. Caesar is the only character in the play who refers to his lovers as his friends.

Cassius and Brutus express dismay at the idea of Caesar as king. and Decius Brutus.2. 197. It is Cassius’s personal ambition that Caesar distrusts. In North’s Plutarch. and the beginning of something new and dreadful. the dissolution of faction becomes the dissolution of the Republic itself. and Decius Brutus tells Caesar that the Senate will crown him. Ultimately. His opponents believe it too. Caesar is not the only one who thinks that his rise to power has overturned the factional order. 199). Until after Caesar’s death.193) and the thought that “Such men as he be never at heart’s ease / Whiles they behold a greater than themselves” (ll. and Michael Platt. Rome and Romans According to Shakespeare (Salzburg. Caesar wrongly believes he has transcended faction as well as humanity.: Institut Für Englische Sprache und Literatur. Caesar’s conviction that he is above faction does not mean that he is completely insensible to political danger. 29.”35 I build on these readings by seeing this will to immortality manifesting itself not only in Caesar’s image of himself as a god but also in his practical relation to the politics of the play.300 SHAKESPEARE QUARTERLY “a man who knows he will be immortal. Caska reports that Antony offered Caesar a crown and worries that the Senate means to appoint him king. Caesar has no thought that Cassius might be part of a larger faction against him. not his presence in an opposing faction. For them. he downplays even that threat because of his belief in his own transcendence: “I rather tell thee what is to be feared / Than what I fear: for always I am Caesar” (ll. the only characters who speak of Caesar’s potential kingship are conspirators: Brutus. It is only after Caesar’s death that anyone else mentions kingship. he is merely an individual. Shakespeare creates this effect here by significantly altering his sources. The Problem Plays of Shakespeare (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. 1976). They figure this threat in terms of a change in the political structure of the state: the threat of Caesar as king. . He points Cassius out to Antony for special attention as a potential threat. Cassius. not factional: Cassius’s “lean and hungry look” (1. 1963).97–98). Believing himself to be beyond the factional infighting from which his power emerged.2. lesser men might need. Antony confirms a version of Caska’s story: “I thrice presented him a kingly crown. They see in Caesar the end of the political order they are used to inhabiting. But his reasons for distrusting Cassius are personal. but unlike him they fear it. 210–11). / Which he did thrice refuse” (3. 207–8). At. All of the other references in the play to kingship are in the mouths of the conspirators. “the man I should avoid” (l. Caska. This is the same overconfidence in the strength of his position that we witness in his refusal to read Artemidorus’s letter. Caesar no longer takes the precautions other. the “couetous desire he had to be called king” is Caesar’s pri- 35 Ernest Schanzer.

He does not incorporate the incident with the greetings from Alba. Shakespeare sets up a strange situation in which our only knowledge of Caesar’s desire for kingship comes from Caska. A natural skepticism about the accuracy of this account of Caesar’s motivations sets in when Cassius makes sure that Brutus will “pluck Caska by the sleeve” (l.”39 Shakespeare also includes the presentation of the crown. He was met by emissaries from the city of Alba who “called him king. 229. and the presentation of the crown takes place entirely offstage. Cassius later says.” to which he responded that “he was not called king. “hauing made this proofe. 37 . the audience hears of the events from Caska only afterward.” sent the crown to be placed on the statue of Jupiter in the Capitol. “They shouted thrice” (l. Only the cheers that accompany Caesar’s refusal of the crown are audible in the appropriate scene. but Shakespeare’s Plutarchan source has only two shouts. Shakespeare positions his audience to see that desire only through the lens of the conspirators’ ill will. It would seem that there is simply a shout missing from the stage directions.97). 792.36 Plutarch’s Caesar had a series of events staged to test the waters around his potential kingship. Brower. The stage directions for the shouts occur only twice. 132–33). 1971). His Caesar calls himself Caesar incessantly. 36 North. 40 There is some confusion in the text about how many shouts there are. In Julius Caesar. Shakespeare makes his audience learn of it secondhand and after-the-fact. as in the stage directions. and Antony later confirms that he offered the crown “thrice” (3. 178). merely taking Caesar’s odd verbal tic from that exchange. 39 Platt. 38 North.2.”37 He then had Antony offer him “a Diadeame wreathed about with laurell. and found that the people did not like of it.“CONTINUALL FACTIONS” 301 mary vice. However.” “speaks of himself in the third person habitually. Grady. “Moral Agency. 225). But in both cases Shakespeare makes a crucial change: he obscures any direct connection between Caesar himself and kingship. the reason why the plebeians turn against him. after line 78 and in the middle of line 131. Caesar’s desire for kingship is less a reality and more a rhetorical position. Hero and Saint: Shakespeare and the Graeco-Roman Heroic Tradition (New York: Oxford UP.” and “talks like the statue in Don Giovanni.2. almost to the point of self-parody: “Caesar constantly insists: he is Caesar. Where Plutarch presents an explicit account of Caesar’s desire to be king. and they are misinterpreted: Brutus “fear[s] the people / Choose Caesar for their king” (1. 791. and instead placing the story of the crown in Caska’s mouth.38 Shakespeare retains elements of both these episodes. and no one else. and then. as I have mentioned. 791.79–80) and “do[es] believe that these applauses are / For some new honours that are heaped on Caesar” (ll. By refusing to show this moment. Rome and Romans.40 Like Brutus. but Caesar.” which he twice (not thrice) refused. North.” 22. and Reuben A. 203. to learn what has happened.

But Shakespeare’s alterations to the circumstances surrounding that desire suggest that Caesar’s ambition to be king is less of a publicly acknowledged fact in Julius Caesar than it is in Plutarch. Brutus. which implies in turn that concern about Caesar’s ambition separates the conspirators from the plebeians they claim to represent. or desiring to become. Significantly.12).1. rather than uniting them as it does in Plutarch’s narrative. Brutus interprets kingship and its consequences differently from his allies. It is only because he sees Caesar as a single man standing above the whole of Rome that he can miss or ignore the idea that Antony will lead Caesar’s faction after his death. however. He takes the ambiguous paper that Cassius has thrown into his window. Cassius suggests killing Antony because We shall find of him A shrewd contriver. And you know his means If he improve them may well stretch so far As to annoy us all. This fear results from both Cassius’s understanding of the factional politics in which he operates and his awareness that while destroying Caesar may eliminate Caesar’s potential kingship. For Antony to be “but a limb of Caesar. Brutus imagines himself delivering a single unified Rome from the threat of Caesar. For Cassius and the other conspirators. and he did have Antony offer him the crown. We can see this in their treatment of Antony after Caesar’s murder. He then apostrophizes Rome in his answer: “O Rome. he does not see this in terms of the factional system but in general terms relative to Rome as a whole. 25–27). et cetera’” (l. which says “‘Shall Rome. Like Cassius. “He then unto the ladder turns his back. It seems reasonable.156–59) Cassius here imagines exactly what does in fact occur after Caesar’s death: Antony taking over Caesar’s faction and destroying the conspirators.302 SHAKESPEARE QUARTERLY This does not mean that Shakespeare’s Caesar does not desire to be king. 47).” who “can do no more than Caesar’s arm / When Caesar’s head .1. views kingship as a different matter from factionalism entirely. scorning the base degrees / By which he did ascend” (ll. (2. He thinks of himself as acting for “the general good” (1. then. I make thee promise” (l. We have already seen his own belief that he stands above the factions. king. it will not eliminate his faction. But unlike Cassius. Caesar’s potential kingship must be destroyed so that the factional system can continue. and reads it as “Shall Rome stand under one man’s awe” (l. 56). 52). not a factionally divided one. to investigate what the conspirators mean when they worry about Caesar becoming. / Looks in the clouds.2.85) and “for the general” (2. he sees kingship as separating the king from all men below him—having climbed the ladder of ambition. This difference in imagination feeds Brutus’s refusal to kill Antony.

“CONTINUALL FACTIONS” 303 is off ” (ll. Here Shakespeare again modifies his sources to heighten the effect. 243). this took three days and substantial negotiation. After the conspirators have attempted to subvert Antony to their side. and is replaced in the space of a single. This belief can be held only by someone. even fighting a battle against each other. Brutus’s failure to engage properly with the factional structure of Rome is the Achilles’ heel of the conspiracy.1–6). We have seen how this belief leads him to veto the murder of Antony. 241) will “advantage more than do us wrong” (l.1. We have also seen how his speech to the people after the assassination fails to engage effectively with factional difference and is outshone by Antony’s more compelling use of the rhetoric of friendship. Cassius predicted this outcome earlier in the play. Brutus overrules him. because he believes that giving Caesar “all true rites and lawful ceremonies” (l. in Shakespeare it does not last ten lines (4. 1067. That destruction is hastened by the swift action of the other faction. but all Cassius can do is grumble that “I know not what may fall. Brutus must imagine him not as a member of a faction but as a toady to a king. From a factional perspective. North. Cassius begs Brutus. 181–82).1. In Plutarch’s version of the story. 978. I like it not” (l. 242).41 This altercation is eliminated from Shakespeare’s version of the story. thus allowing a dangerous enemy to survive. Cassius and Antony both understand that the factional division of the city is too explosive for this course of action to be safe for the conspirators. fast-paced act. like Brutus. Brutus makes the same mistake Sulla’s advisors made: there are many Caesareans in that Antony. In Octavius’s first scene. and exposes the conspirators to destruction. separated from the funeral only by the murder of Cinna the poet. One effect of reading Julius Caesar in the light of faction is that we come to understand the degree to 41 42 North. who imagines a Rome unified against Caesar’s spirit.42 That does not mean that the moment is not important to Shakespeare’s version of the story. we observe the triumvirate already proscribing those in Rome they have condemned to die. there was a short period after the death of Caesar in which Octavius and Antony were enemies. It is worth noting too that Antony has the opportunity to make that speech only because of Brutus’s rejection of factional difference.232–33). 977–78. Rather. . “Do not consent / That Antony speak in his funeral” (3. In Plutarch. is mourned. Caesar dies. the swiftness of the proscriptions joins with the elimination of the dissension between Antony and Octavius to depict a Caesarean faction that has not merely survived the loss of its leader but emerged fully functional and ready to act. Brutus’s inability to see that the factional divisions are still present and important blinds him to the danger Antony’s speech poses.

that loves you” (1. the terms for the two mix together. if not familiarly. Cassius reveals that he is willing to deceive Brutus for political ends. Cassius’s correct political instincts must give way. a hot friend cooled is still a friend. Cassius and Brutus have a falling out. Cassius was not merely a “friend. one which seems caused partially by the expectations of their alliance and partially by the expectations of their love. In this moment. because of his need. as he tells Brutus. to Brutus’s incorrect ones. As early as their first scene together. but nothing more: “not with such familiar instances / Nor with such free and friendly conference / As he hath used of old” (ll.36)—to work upon him. he cannot live with him. . attaching an affective meaning to “friendly” by associating it with “familiar” and “free. disregarding Cassius’s warnings. that is. After the assassination. who causes the assassination to fall short of its political goals. This possibility becomes explicit in the following scene when Cassius and Brutus confront each other. 187. Lucilius tells Brutus that Cassius received him “With courtesy and with respect enough” (4. Brutus shows the difficulty of keeping two bonds with the same man separate.” a man tied to Brutus by both the bond of friendship and the heat of love.2. cooling” (l. In this reading. and Cassius still used Lucilius respectfully.” Brutus’s response combines the two discourses even more explicitly. He mingles the expectations of affection and faction. Their quarrel stems from different expectations of 43 Platt. “Cassius needs Brutus more than Brutus needs Cassius. both politically aligned and personally close. Indeed. but friends may do so for political ends. with the proper political forms of friendship. the tension between the bonds of friendship and love develops further.2. it is Brutus. 20). 19) and warns Lucilius of what happens “When love begins to sicken and decay” (l.”43 but even as he cannot live without him. This need is personal as well as political. 16–18). we see one of the two bonds between them come before the other: lovers do not lie to lovers.15). But changes in one relationship imply the possibility of changes in the other. “your friend. But their relationship demonstrates the difficulty of keeping both of those bonds tight at once.” He plays upon Brutus’s knowledge that they are both friends and lovers—that he is. Cassius is a tragic figure. if not a lover. Cassius and Brutus are the prime examples in the play of characters who are both friends and lovers.304 SHAKESPEARE QUARTERLY which Cassius truly understands Rome.” but a “hot friend. 308–9). The two relationships are still distinct. He knows how the factional politics will play out. Rome and Romans. in order that Brutus’s “honourable mettle may be wrought / From that it is disposed” (ll. he calls Cassius “A hot friend. writing “in several hands” in order to pretend his messages come “from several citizens.

/ But Brutus makes mine greater than they are” (ll. refuses to kill Cassius and steps back from the brink of the quarrel. Brutus treats this not as a political decision but as a personal one: “was that done like Cassius? / Should I have answered Caius Cassius so?” (ll. Cassius denies the charge. According to Brutus. thou lov’dst him better / Than ever thou lov’dst Cassius” (ll. because Brutus and Cassius are speaking of love and not merely friendship. . Caesar is again the subject. 118). Brutus believes that it functions internally within himself. of course. Ciceronian sense. possibly because of the reminder Cassius has just provided that both halves of the relationship are necessary. Cassius thinks that love functions in the interaction between the lovers and will allow him to convince Brutus by his letters.] / [. 95–96). . The quarrel that follows stems directly from this disagreement about the boundaries between the political and the personal. Notably. and in the process breaks down the last barrier between “friend” and “lover. In this moment. Cassius refused to give Brutus money to pay his soldiers. and Cassius feels that Brutus’s personal restraint is insufficient. and the Poet . the issue of degrees of love inevitably arises. / When thou didst hate him worst. Here we see the comparability of love raise its head again. the resolution of the spat comes with the reassertion of the separation of the two terms. Cassius offers to let Brutus kill him: “Strike as thou didst at Caesar: for I know. praying on his side / Because I knew the man. / And chastisement doth therefore hide his head” (ll. Brutus is surprised that Cassius would try to write to change his mind. Cassius here subsumes the political meaning of “friend” into the more general. 15–16).] all his faults observed” (ll. But in making this comparison. he remonstrates with Brutus about the case of Lucius Pella: “Wherein my letters. they are each disappointed. as a restraint against his chastisement of Cassius. Cassius and Brutus swear their “love” (l. He then accuses him directly and personally: “You love me not” (l.4–5). “A friend should bear his friend’s infirmities. But Brutus considers that he has already expressed his love by restraining himself from attacking Cassius directly for the fault: “The name of Cassius honours this corruption. Cassius sidesteps the obvious point that Caesar was not Brutus’s friend and that it was this lack of friendship that brought Brutus to kill him. 85–86). but they cannot agree on how. but they are not the only parties present to the end of the argument. 88).3. 104–6). Each works from the premise that love and political alliance interact. 77–78). 89) and that he himself is “Hated by one he loves [. Brutus. . . Because they have different expectations.“CONTINUALL FACTIONS” 305 how their love and their political alliance should interact. Cassius hopes Brutus’s love will soften his attitude toward Cassius’s officers. Just as inevitably. was slighted off ” (4. He believes that “A friendly eye could never see such faults” (l.” He says. Their lieutenants and a Poet break in on them.

137–38). after all. Neither one of them believes that the world they now live in is that world. By demonstrating what happens when Brutus and Cassius blur the line between these two types of bonds. 115) neither Brutus nor Cassius can refrain from collapsing the distinction between their friendship and their love. a supreme political actor who is highly sensitive to faction. 71–72).306 SHAKESPEARE QUARTERLY admonishes “you generals” (l. 114. But each of them is sufficiently attracted to the idea of personal. upon Rome. But . It shows the difficulty of holding separate two distinct bonds with a single person. Antony sees that “All the conspirators save only he / Did that they did in envy of great Caesar” (ll. 128) to both “Love and be friends” (l. They then proceed to discuss the approach of Octavius and Antony and their response to it. Antony and the two Caesars. but they cannot be the same.5. It may be attractive to unite them. but this interruption takes them from discussing their love alone to directing troop movements: “Lucilius and Titinius. 69–70)—all of the other conspirators wished to bring down the man who had destroyed their faction. but it is also dangerous. 212–14). / Our legions are brimful. Brutus and Cassius do not directly acknowledge this dual demand. It is clear in the world of the play that it is dangerous to make politics too personal—to confuse one’s friends and one’s lovers. 129). While both Brutus and Cassius participate in this fantasy. factionless politics that they seek to live out something of that fantasy in their own relationship. have no such problems. admires the opposite political instincts in Brutus. they are back to distinguishing between love and politics. / The enemy increaseth every day” (ll. the two relationships must remain distinct.68) after his death. they cannot afford to take each other’s political decisions personally. In the aftermath of their confrontation. and I suggest that these scenes confirm that Cassius does too. our cause is ripe. Antony. Shakespeare gives over the majority of Acts 4 and 5 to the interplay between Brutus and Cassius in order to emphasize the shadow that the early Republic has cast upon the conspirators and. by extension. and in the process use the term “friend” once more in a completely political sense: “we have tried the utmost of our friends. But we have already seen that Brutus still yearns for the earlier world. it is Brutus’s more explicit adherence to that sort of belief that allows Antony to call Brutus “the noblest Roman of them all” (5. Shakespeare shows us how the two ought to be kept separate if one wants to function in this political world. even when they apply to the same person. Yet for their partnership to function properly. The personal and political—the lover and the friend—may overlap. Brutus instead killed Caesar “in a general honest thought / And common good to all” (ll. When they are both “ill-tempered” (ll. bid the commanders / Prepare to lodge their companies tonight” (ll. even as their attempt results in the disharmony that we witness between them. But the earlier breakdown of that distinction is important.

North. tells his soldiers to “Keep this man safe. / Give him all kindness. Antony. Antony (and Octavius) seem to mirror somewhat Caesar’s reaction to the dead Pompey. when he took Pompey’s head “and beholding it. By mirroring Caesar’s magnanimity. 786. 51. not for his action. as many early modern English writers were. a note that is only audible when we listen with an ear to the play’s factional political world. But with the factional prehistory of the play in mind.“CONTINUALL FACTIONS” 307 it is a wholly personal admiration.46 This altered timeline integrates the change of allegiance with the events of the play in a way that Plutarch’s does not. it would be hard not to conclude that even the most seemingly harmless factional alignments lead to disastrous consequences. Messala and Lucilius enter with their new masters before they have even found Brutus’s body. an admiration for “His life” (l. In this.”44 Indeed. Strato. I had rather have / Such men my friends than enemies” (5. We have seen that Caesar “curteously vsed all Pompeys friends . These changes of allegiance also occur in Plutarch’s Lives. the victors adopt their enemy’s followers and attempt to make friends of them. Antony and Octavius take on the attendants of their enemy. 1079–80.”45 In a similar manner. it is difficult not to see in this an image of the future conflict that will arise. North. and wanne them all to be at his commaundement.” and particularly preferred “Cassius and Brutus. I believe we see Antony not only taking Lucilius into his service (as will become apparent in their next entrance together) but also preparing for a future in which there is no Brutus faction and Lucilius can truly be Antony’s “friend. and Octavius as well. Likewise. rush headlong into forgiveness and acceptance. It is on this alarming certainty that Julius Caesar ends. Plutarch placed the change of allegiance well after the battle. / That did the latest service to my master” (5. . 73). Yet in Shakespeare. 786. As Caesar did.1 sd). Plutarch’s Antony and Octavius take time to judge their new companions.5. .4. the end of Julius Caesar has much in common with the aftermath of Caesar’s defeat of Pompey. wept.” Something similar is happening with Messala. If we are inclined to draw lessons from this. Shakespeare’s audience could not help but know that Octavius would become the emperor Augustus and that his war with Antony would once again tear the Roman world along factional lines. Shakespeare’s.27–29). . like Caesar. 790. on finding Lucilius mistaken for Brutus. Like Caesar. 44 45 46 North.66–67). and Strato is preferred to Octavius immediately (l. but Shakespeare compresses the action. Messala (himself formerly one of Brutus’s men) commends Strato to Octavius: “take him to follow thee. Antony and Octavius might seem to be attempting to usher in a new period of calm and peace.