Julius Caesar: Politically Correct or Politically Corrupt? Morality: most commonly defined as a set of ideas developed in each individual’s head to decide whether something is wrong or right. On the smallest scale of moral code, being that of each individual, there are great variations. To someone who lives the life of a vegan, it is morally wrong to eat meat, dairy, or be involved with any products what-so-ever derived from an animal. On the other hand, to someone who does eat meat this is all perfectly okay.
While this may not seem like a major moral conflict, it actually is because whether you agree or disagree with either of the two greatly affects your everyday life. If you take moral code to a larger scale, saying that of a whole society, there is a greater common trend of certain ideas. Under good morals: helping others, working hard, sharing, loyalty, and honesty. Under bad morals: stealing, lying, jealousy, hurting others, betrayal and revenge. Since moral ideals can differ from one person to the next, then logically they could change from each generation or time period to the next.
So, how is the loss of morality within the political sphere of Julius Caesar to be judged? By today’s morals, or by those of its time period? Since no writer of today could possibly know what exactly was going through Shakespeare’s head at the time he wrote this play, then no one could possibly fully understand what was considered moral within this play or not. Ultimately, one such writer would be forced to use morals that are based within modern times.
Within the play, Julius Caesar, the goal of the major political figures was deemed honorable by some but not by others thus causing a greater focus on their corrupt reasoning and the loss of morality within the political sphere of this play. Jealousy: the mental instability brought upon oneself by resentment or fear of another’s good fortune leading to unfaithfulness. By this definition, jealousy would be considered morally wrong. Cassius’s contribution to the loss of morality within the politics of this play is shown through his jealousy of Caesar.
Cassius does not see Caesar as other people see him. Many others see Caesar as a great, strong, noble, and god-like leader. Cassius believes Caesar is no greater than him, much weaker, and far less noble and deserving of all the attention andrespectthat is given to him. Seeing Caesar as a man just like the other men of the senate, Cassius believes that more power and influence should be given to the others. He also believes that if Caesar were to become king, they would be stripped of what little power they do have.
Cassius’ jealousy of Caesar’s greater reputation is shown especially when he says this in reference to Caesar, ” Alas, it cried, ‘Give me some drink, Titinius,’ as a sick girl. Ye gods! It doth amaze me a man of such a feeble temper should so get the start of the majestic world and bear the palm alone. ” (Shakespeare, I, ii, 127-130) Cassius also expresses jealousy and resentment towards Caesar when he states, ” Did I the tired Caesar- and this man is now become a god, and Cassius is a wretched creature, and must bend his body if Caesar carelessly but nod on him. (I, ii, 115-118) No political atmosphere can survive when there is such jealousy among its leaders. This morally corrupted mentality of ‘ coveting thy neighbor’ is what leads to Cassius’ aid in planning and seeing through the plan of assassinating Julius Caesar. Disloyalty and betrayal: the violation of allegiance or trust. These are another couple characteristics that are deemed immoral. Through these traits, Brutus aids in the loss of morality within the politics of this play.
Unlike Cassius though, Brutus actually loves Caesar. This fact is blatantly obvious when Cassius questions him and Brutus responds in reference to Caesar, “ I would not, Cassius; yet I love him well. ” (I, ii, 88) Despite this love for his friend, Brutus still agrees to join the other conspirators and assassinate Caesar. What makes this betrayal so much worse, in addition to the fact that Brutus allows himself to be persuaded by others, is that he knows just how very wrong it is and still goes through with the plan.
Right up to the very end there was a great part of Brutus with which this plan did not sit well. His love for Caesar is still evident as he becomes a nervous wreck and very worrisome prior to the assassination. On the night before the ides of March, in response to his wife, Portia, Brutus says,” You are my true and honourable wife, As dear to me as are the ruddy drops that visit my sad heart. ” (II, i, 288-291) It’s obvious that Brutus can tell what he is doing is wrong, yet he still follows through.
As justification to the people of Rome, Brutus states, ” If then that friend demand why Brutus rose against Caesar, this is my answer-not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more. ” (III, ii, 17-19) Even though he gives a ‘ for the greater good’ explanation, this does not make his morals any less corrupt. If the politicians can’t count on each other’s loyalty, then any and every sense of order within a government is going to fall apart. Revenge: to punish another for a wrong doing in a vindictive spirit. Yet another one of the more commonly deemed immoralpersonalitytraits.
It was by this state of mind and his abuse of power that Marc Antony contributed the loss of morality within the political aspects of this play. Being a great admirer and friend of Caesar, Antony sought out revenge upon the conspirators after learning of the assassination. By making his eulogy more emotionally charged and getting the opportunity to speak after Brutus, Antony was able to uproot what his pier said and get the revenge he was seeking. Throughout his speech, Marc Antony described Caesar’s wounds in ways such as, ” Look, in this place ran Cassius’ dagger through.
See what a rent the envious Casca made. Through this the well-beloved Brutus stabb’d. ” (III, ii, 176-178) This inspired grief and anger within the Roman people that was then pointed directly at the conspirators. Until the end of the play, Antony is continuously seeking revenge and he does obtain the ultimate revenge when both of the conspirators, Brutus and Cassius, die. This strong desire for revenge is masked to look like justice for the assassination of a great leader, but is it really? In the end, there is no benefit.
Yes, Caesar’s death has been avenged but all the great political minds that could have taken his place after his assassination have also been killed and the couple left have been even more corrupted after going through this whole ordeal. Now those who are in charge and not accustomed to such a position of power are morally corrupting the political sphere even more. For example, Marc Antony says, ” He shall not live. Look, with a spot I damn him” (IV, i, 7). This is pretty much seen as tyranny which is what was trying to be avoided from the beginning.
The fixation on the corruption of these great men within the plot shows the tragedy of lost morality in the political sphere of this play, Julius Caesar. Each character beginning the story a better person that how they finish. Starting out as a respectable political leader and ending up an exiled trader who eventually dies. Beginning as one of the more beloved friends, only to become a despised enemy that ultimately kills himself. Built up into a strong government then having it crumble into pieces. The only way any one person or system could sue come to such a low level after being so high is by being morally and inwardly corrupt.