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Sean Whiteman
Mr. Brankston
ENG2DG
May 31st 2016
Loyalty within Julius Caesar
Loyalty and betrayal are both extremely influential and prevalent
forces throughout Julius Caesar. These ideas influence the outcomes and
results of many crucial points throughout the play. The public especially is
fickle with loyalty and is swayed multiple times throughout and shatters
loyalties and forms new ones. The public within Julius Caesar motivates many
changes within the play and its loyalty comes with immense power. Loyalty
is also extremely apparent within Marcus Brutus intense idealism and
patriotism. With Brutus loyalty infirmed with his ideals his performance in
the senate, conspiracy and aftermath are intertwined closely with his ideals.
Also Brutus intense loyalty to his ideals and national pride leaves him open
for manipulation and betrayal. With his immense idealism leading to Brutus
downfall and short sighted decisions which propel the play. Therefore the
interactions and effects of loyalty, lack of loyalty and betrayal influences the
play dramatically.
Within Julius Caesar are many instances in which loyalties shift within
the public according to manipulation and circumstance.

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O you hard hearts, you cruel men of Rome,


Knew you not Pompey? Many a time and oft
Have you climbd up to walls and battlements,
To towers and windows, yea, to chimney-tops,
Your infants in your arms, and there have sat
The livelong day, with patient expectation,
To see great Pompey pass the streets of Rome;
This highlights the first instance in which the public has changed loyalties,
from Pompey to Caesar, and how they have betrayed the memory of
Pompey. It is also apparent that Pompey was loved by the public as Marullus
explains the excitement of Pompeys presence and the love that they had for
him. This is also apparent through the celebration of a holiday dedicated to
Julius Caesar without any apparent past loyalties to Pompey or Pompeys
sons all of which fell to Caesar. The publics fickle loyalties are also obvious
following Caesars assassination and Brutus speech to the crowd. This is
highlighted in the citizens encouragements,Live, Brutus! Live! Live!, Let
him be Caesar, Caesars better parts shall be crownd in Brutus. While
preceding the assassination the public loved, respected and were loyal to
Caesar and were fully willing to give him absolute control of Rome, after
Caesar is dead and can no longer fulfill the publics desires their past
loyalties disappear. Now focusing on one who can serve them presently and

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well, they become fully willing to follow Brutus and crown him as their leader.
The public has severed all loyalties to Caesar and now listens exclusively to
Brutus, as he can serve them best. The last major shift in the publics
loyalties comes during and after Mark Antonys funeral oration where he
reads from Caesars will, To every Roman citizen he gives, To every several
man, seventy-five drachmas, O royal Caesar!, Most noble Caesar! Well
revenge his death.. This monetary grant sways the public to follow Antony
as he has proven to serve them well and to avenge Caesar to appease Mark
Antony as he is the one to serve them. With this it is definite that the publics
loyalties are held only by how well a public figure can serve them and how
they serve their ideals.
Brutus throughout the play has conflicting loyalties which are a prime
example of how loyalty and betrayal interact in Julius Caesar.
It must be by his death: and, for my part,
I know no personal cause to spurn at him,
But for the general. He would be crownd:
How that might change his nature, theres the question:
In this scene, where Brutus addresses the conspirators his decision to betray
Caesar to preserve his ideals is obvious. This is clearly evident through
Brutus claim that he has no personal quarrel with Caesar but that with his
crowning, Brutus ideals are threatened. With Brutus loyalty gone to Caesar

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the moment he threatens Brutus ideals it becomes apparent that above all,
Brutus is loyal to his beliefs and will defend them by any means.
Not that I loved Caesar less, but that i loved
Rome more. Had you rather Caesar were living,
And die all slaves, than that Caesar were dead, to
Live all free men? As Caesar loved me, I weep for
Him; as he was fortunate, I rejoiced at it; as he was
Valiant, I honour him; but, as he was ambitious,
I slew him.
As well, in Brutus speech addressing the people of Rome, he explains why
Caesar was assassinated. The speech allows for Brutus to relate his motives
to the people and to play to their ideals through his explanation of the
circumstances. As this speech briefly satisfies the public, the apparent
protection of the public's ideals in this speech is effective. Brutus also relates
to the public by explaining that his betrayal was to protect his ideals which
benefit the public.
I prithee, Strato, stay thou by thy lord:
Thou art a fellow of a good respect;
Thy life hath had some smatch of honour in it.

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Hold then my sword, and turn away thy face,


While I do run upon it. Wilt thou, Strato?
This quotation reveals Brutus extreme loyalty to his ideals as he dies for
them. As Brutus is undoubtedly loyal to his cause he is now shown to be
willing to die for his cause, the ultimate act of loyalty. Present are also more
examples of loyalty and betrayal as Strato holds the sword for Brutus due to
his loyalty to Brutus wishes while Claudius and Volumnius refuse because
they are loyal to Brutus life and wellbeing while betraying his wishes. This
further accentuates the roles of loyalty and betrayal.
Brutus intense loyalty and idealism results in multiple betrayals
affecting him directly and negatively.
Thats all I seek;
And am moreover suitor that I may
Produce his body to the market-place,
And in the pulpit, as becomes a friend,
Speak in the order of his funeral.
With this request, Mark Antony plans to cause war and turn the public
against Brutus and the conspirators. Brutus naively believes that Mark
Antony shares his idealism and the naivety leads to his downfall. This tragic
flaw of Brutus allows for Brutus to ignore Cassius plea not to listen to Antony

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and lose the loyalty of the public. As well another betrayal surfaced to
Brutus, the betrayal of the public. Following Antonys speech there is a public
outcry towards the conspiracy, O traitors! Villians!, We will be revenged.,
Revenge!-- About! -- Seek! -- Burn!-- Fire! -- Kill! -- Slay! Let not a traitor
live.. The publics immediate switch of loyalties following financial
compensation and a new figurehead betrays Brutus as preceding the speech
the public wished only well and respect upon Brutus. Although now they seek
only death and revenge. With this betrayal the entire power struggle of Rome
sways in favour of Caesars supporters changing the entire course of power
in Rome. Another betrayal of Brutus ideals occurs earlier as he is
manipulated by Cassius.
Well, Brutus, thou art noble; yet, I see,
Thy honourable mettle may be wrought
From that it is disposd: therefore tis meet
That noble minds keep ever with their likes;
For who so firm that cannot be seducd?
Caesar doth bear me hard; but he loves Brutus.
If I were Brutus now, and he were Cassius,
He should not humour me. I will this night,
In several hands, in at his windows throw,

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As if they came from several citizens,


Cassius intent is completely revealed in this quotation and his means of
manipulation as well. Brutus is deceived into believing that others in the
conspiracy share his ideals and motives. While Brutus wishes for the
wellbeing of Rome, the manipulation of the conspirators gradually allows for
Brutus to become convinced that Caesar is a threat to his ideals although the
rest of the conspiracy is jealous of his power and has no such loyalty to
Brutus ideal Rome.
Within the play, Julius Caesar, loyalty and betrayal are driving forces
and deciding factors in core events throughout. Such an example includes,
Brutus intense idealism, patriotism and loyalty leading to his downfall due to
short sighted decisions which change the course of Rome entirely. Also, the
publics extremely fickle loyalties and frequent betrayals to the memories of
previous rulers and respected figureheads drives the core of the plays
political standpoint for Rome. Lastly, Brutus motivation throughout the play
to continue to fulfill his ideals rests on his immense loyalty to Rome and his
ideals for Rome. Therefore, loyalty and betrayal throughout Julius Caesar are
extremely prevalent and important.

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Shakespeare, William. Julius Caesar. Ed. Roma Gill. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1986. Print.

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