Free Brutus. I Would Not, Cassius; Yet I Love Him Well’ Essay Example
‘BRUTUS. What means this shouting? I do fear the people Choose Caesar for their king.
CASSIUS. Ay, do you fear it? Then must I think you would not have it so.
This would be an example of civil principality where Machiavelli speaks of becoming a prince yet not using force or wickedness. Stating ‘what you need to become a civil prince is just una astuzia fortunata = a fortunate or happy or lucky cleverness or astuteness.’ Caesar has the support of the people to become the ruler. Caesar conveys the idea that ‘a prince can’t satisfy the nobles without acting wrongly and harming others, because what the nobles want is to oppress the people; whereas he can satisfy the people without harming anyone, because their desires are more honourable than those of the nobles—all the people want is not to be oppressed. Also, a prince can’t secure himself against a hostile people, because there are too many of them, whereas he can secure himself from the nobles because there aren’t many of them.’
‘ARTEMIDORUS. O Caesar, read mine first; for mine's a suit That touches Caesar nearer: read it, great Caesar.
CAESAR. What touches us ourself shall be last served.
ARTEMIDORUS. Delay not, Caesar; read it instantly.
CAESAR. What, is the fellow mad?’
At first glance it appears that Artemidorus is attempting to shower Choose Caesar with flattery, Caesar has become adept at shrugging off such attempts and so rebuffs the perceived attempt with a short and sharp reply, but when there is insistence for Caesar to pay attention to the note passed to him Caesar only sees a man who may have lost his sanity. He has the belief that those around him are trust worthy, that he has chosen honest and true men.
‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings. "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; Sound them, it doth become the mouth as well; Weigh them, it is as heavy; conjure with them, "Brutus" will start a spirit as soon as "Caesar." Now, in the names of all the gods at once, Upon what meat doth this our Caesar feed That he is grown so great? Age, thou art shamed! Rome, thou hast lost the breed of noble bloods!’
Cassius speaks here trying to draw Brutus in to a coup, as Machiavelli points out such a thing can not be carried out by one person. Cassius has been careful to select Brutus to reveal his plans to, Brutus does turn down the conspiracy put forward but does not reveal the conversation to Caesar. Stating that there is little more than fear, jealousy and the terrifying prospect of punishment on the conspirators side cassius must have been relived to find he had such a great friend in Brutus.
Brutus seems to often favor the side he is in the presence of his loyalty seems often easily swayed, he speaks of finding sleep hard to come by after Cassius has ‘Whet him against Caesar’. Cassius however appears driven by wanting to remove Caesar from power yet does not seem to want to rule in his place, rather seeming to want to have the ear of the ruler but not the responsibilities of ruling.
Machiavelli asserted that ‘Everyone knows that it is a fine thing for a prince to keep his word and to live with integrity rather than with cunning.’ Caesar demonstrates this when his approached by Metellus ‘Most high, most mighty, and most puissant Caesar, Metellus Cimber throws before thy seat An humble heart.’ Kneeling before Caesar. Caesar appears to react with anger that his resolve would be questioned ‘.Thy brother by decree is banished: If thou dost bend, and pray, and fawn for him, I spurn thee like a cur out of my way’ by this point Caesar has been drawn in to the web of deception woven by those around him so far that he does not see what is to come. He stands up for his principles ‘I could be well moved, if I were as you; If I could pray to move, prayers would move me: But I am constant as the northern star’ staying resolved and immovable, true to the word he has given. ‘Casca stabs Caesar in the neck. Caesar catches hold of his arm. He is then stabbed by several other Conspirators, and at last by Marcus Brutus.’ As he dies his last words spoken ‘Et tu, Brute?’ translating as ‘you to brute?’ right up to the last breath he has believed Brutus his friend and is surprised by the betrayal. Caesar believed he surrounded himself with the right men, and maybe he did, Brutus was easily swayed by others around him, ‘any prince who conveys an impression of intelligence owes this not to his own ability but to the good advisers that he has around him; but this is certainly wrong. Here is an infallible rule: a prince who isn’t wise himself can’t take good advice’ Artemidorus had tried to warn him.
MACHIAVELLI, Niccolò. The Prince. edited and translated by Peter Constantine (Modern Library, 2007) 2010 print
SHAKESPEAR, Wiliiam. Julius Caesar. 1599. Web http://www.literaturepage.com/read/shakespeare_juliuscaesar.html
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