The Relevance of Loyalty in “Julius Caesar”
The Relevance of Loyalty in Julius Caesar In the Shakespearean play Julius Caesar, loyalty is relevant to each person. In the eyes of Marc Antony, Marcus Brutus, and Cassius, the term “loyalty” means something entirely different to each man. In a sense, each of the three characters is only loyal to what he thinks is good and right but in some cases, his morals also fluctuate with his desires.
Marc Antony plays the specific role of a son-like figure to Caesar.
He takes no part in the conspiracy which eventually leads to the demise of Caesar although when Caesar does die, Antony baits Marcus Brutus with flattery to ensure his relative favor with Caesar’s murderers. Nonetheless, Marc Antony is loyal to Caesar as well as the memory of Caesar. He uses his “favor” with Brutus and the conspirators to gain permission to speak at Caesar’s burial ceremony, subtly inciting rebellion in the citizens of Rome. As previously stated, Antony is loyal to Caesar in life as well as in death.
Marcus Brutus’ loyalties, on the other hand, lie with Rome. As one of Caesar’s most trusted friends, Brutus respects and admires Caesar but when decisions concern the entire Roman Empire, Brutus weighs Rome more important than his friend. Because of this loyalty to Rome, Brutus is swayed by one of the conspirators and becomes a conspirator himself. He doesn’t side with Caesar’s enemies because of envy or jealousy but because he believes it is the right thing to do in Rome’s best interest.
During the play, Brutus is in constant war with himself, wondering if what he did was the right thing. His loyalty to Rome and his friendship with Caesar battle with each other throughout the piece. Cassius, however, is consumed with a lust for power and Caesar is obviously in his way. It seems he plots to kill Caesar for his own personal gain. Cassius uses Brutus as a “puppet”, thinking Brutus will do whatever he requests. He is abruptly proven wrong when Brutus confronts Cassius of his crooked demands.
Cassius is enraged but is placated soon after. He is loyal only to himself, using the excuse of preserving democracy to rationalize his actions. Marc Antony was loyal to Caesar, Marcus Brutus was loyal to Rome, and Cassius was loyal to himself. Three men fought for three different causes, two noble and one ignoble. Though Brutus and Cassius both wanted Caesar’s death, they wanted it for two very different reasons. In Julius Caesar, loyalty is consistent with men’s beliefs. Each man made his choices based on the foundation of his loyalties.