Julius Caesar: Powers Corruption Essay

This essay has a total of 931 words and 4 pages.

Julius Caesar: Powers Corruption

Brutus, Cassius, Caesar, and the other Senators held the power to do things others could
not. With this authority came their ability to use poor judgement. In William
Shakespeare's tragic play Julius Caesar the theme Power Corrupts is arrayed thoroughly.
Murder, treason, and ethical/moral corruption were three prevalent themes that proved the
overall topic of Power Corrupts.

In Julius Caesar corruption led to dangerous outcomes, such as death. "Et tu, Brute? Then
fall Caesar!" (Shakespeare 3.1.77). The last words of noble Caesar could be heard, as
Brutus, the last of the conspirators, took a plunge at Caesar with his knife. Caesar
laying there on the senate floor, illustrated the murderous intentions of the senators.
"Liberty! Freedom! Tyranny is dead!/Run hence, proclaim, cry it about the streets"
(Shakespeare 3.1. 78-79). The sounds of the pompous conspirators could be heard about the
streets. Caesar was dead and they were proud of it. Would this have taken place if the
conspirators were not of high rank, such as senators? Probably not. Simple townspeople did
not have the power, and could not even bare to think of murdering someone as noble as
Caesar. Cassius and the other Senators had the power to, and did commit murder. Brutus
though, did not think of it as murder. "People and senators, be affrighted./ Fly not;
standstill' ambition's debt has been paid" (Shakespeare 3.1.82-83). Brutus announces this
so he could convince the people as well as himself that what he had done was not murder,
but justice for Rome. Brutus had pure intentions and whether the other senators did or not
does not make a difference. Power was abused, murder was committed, and corruption had
taken place.

There were many forms of corruption caused by power in this play, one of which was
treason. If even a single whisper of assassinating someone with a high rank was heard, you
were thrown in jail. An example of this would be when Cassius and the other conspirators
discussed their plan to kill Caesar and Mark Antony:

Decius, well urged. I think it is not meet,
Mark Antony, so well beloved of Caesar,
Should outlive Caesar: we shall find of him
A shrewd contriver; and you know, his means,
If he improve them, may well stretch so far
As to annoy us all; which to prevent,
Let Antony and Caesar fall together. (Shakespeare 2.1.155-161)

In this situation Cassius had a conversation about killing Mark Antony as well as Caesar.
This was a form of Treason. Cassius would never have said such things if he did not have
the power to. Being a senator he felt he had the right to decide what was good for Rome.
He not only said this for Rome, but for himself as well. If Caesar had become King, he
would have been able to get ride of Cassius. This thought did not please Cassius. "Casca,
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