The Nobility of Marcus Brutus

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In William Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar”, Marcus Brutus has a strong relationship with Julius Caesar, but an even stronger relationship with Rome and its citizens. His love for Rome is what drove him to assassinate Julius Caesar, because despite being such an intimate friend of Caesar, he felt his growing power would threaten the welfare of Rome. The honorable intentions of Brutus are what make him the noblest of all the Romans. Marcus Brutus felt that allowing Julius Caesar to accumulate power would put Rome and its citizens in danger. In his speech to the Roman citizens at Caesar’s funeral, he asks them: “Had you rather Caesar were living and die all slaves, than that Caesar were dead, to live all free men?” (Act III, sc. II, line 22) which exposes that he strongly opposed tyranny and absolute power and believed in the democratic government that Caesar was threatening to destroy. In Act III, sc. II, line 21 of the play, Brutus explains to the Romans his reasoning for assassinating Caesar: “Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more”. Brutus publically confesses his love for Rome, and by doing so, he reveals that he holds the welfare of the people over his own desires because he knew that assassinating Caesar would make him lose everything. Altruism is the rejection of one’s own desires for selfless concern of the well-being of others. The intentions of Brutus were purely altruistic, and altruism is the highest form of nobility. In Act III, sc. I, line 77 of the play, Brutus delivers Caesars deathblow at which point Caesar exclaimed: “Et the Brute! (You too Brutus!) Then fall, Caesar!”. The significance of Caesar’s final words is that he only capitulates when Brutus stabs him because he trusted Brutus and knew that he was honorable; Caesar realized that for his most intimate friend Brutus to assassinate him, he had to have had a noble reason. In
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