In the play Julius Caesar, several people compete to be the leader of Rome. Cassius and other conspirators are jealous of Caesar, and they want to kill him for revenge. Brutus doesn’t want to be part of the conspiracy, but is tricked into becoming a head member, due to his strong leadership qualities of honor, trustworthiness, and patriotism. Brutus loves the republic, but is tricked into believing Caesar would hurt the republic. Brutus would be an effective leader because he exhibits honor, trustworthiness, and patriotism. Brutus believes nothing should be done without honor, which he illustrates by killing Caesar publicly. Some would say killing for political reasons, is more honorable than killing someone for pure revenge. He even believes an oath is dishonorable: “No! Not an oath if not the face of men!” (Shakespeare 2.1.125).
He believes an oath would undermine the purpose of his honorable assassination. He believes that if the conspirators have to go so low as to take an oath, one of them might want to quit or have second-thoughts. After the killing, he makes sure that the conspirators will proclaim they killed Caesar by telling them, “Let no man abide this deed but [us], the doers.” (3.1.103-104). Brutus is so sure that killing Caesar is right, that he believes the conspirators won’t be arrested by running down the streets yelling that they killed Caesar and “tyranny is dead!” (3.1.87-88). Also, when he is running away from Antony’s victorious army, he feels it is more honorable to, “leap in ourselves than tarry ‘till they push us.” (5.5.28-29). He is so dedicated to honor that he would rather kill himself than be taken by Antony. Brutus can sway the judgment of the conspirators because they know that he can see through the assassination plan, and any faults in it, so they trust him.
A good leader is trusted by his subjects and considered very wise. When Brutus says to “think not of him,” and “Let’s not break with him,” the fellow conspirators listen to him because they know his feelings (2.1.194 & 2.1.162 respectively). They also believe that none of them will be arrested during the plot because they trust Brutus and the worth of his cause. Cicero is brought up as a valuable addition to their cause, and all the conspirators agree to include him, “Let us not leave him out by any means”, they say (2.1.154). However, Brutus knows “Cicero will never follow anything other men begin.” (2.1.163-164). They reject Cicero immediately after Brutus makes this point, everyone else trust his judgment, and say “Then leave him out” (2.1.165). Even after the assassination plan, Brutus still makes decisions that sway judgment, “I will [go] myself [to] the pulpit first” is an example of his planning ahead to influence others (3.1.261). Brutus’s inspiration of trust is a key strategy for a leader. Brutus’s patriotism enables him to be a strong leader because his desire for a strong republic is based on his devotion to the Roman citizens and not selfishness, like Caesar was.
His debate of whether or not to kill Caesar is the chief example of his patriotism. He argues “There’s no personal cause to spurn at him, but if he was crowned: how that might change his nature, there’s the question.” (2.1.11-12). This argument means that Brutus sees how Caesar will change the government to something other than a republic, and he wants to stop it. He doesn’t care that it would be against their friendship, only that it will save the government. Brutus describes Caesar as a “serpent’s egg” to show that Caesar is “calm at the moment, but could [hatch] and wreak havoc on Rome” (2.1.32). He also states that “He has a sting in him that at his will he may do anger with.” (2.1.16-18). In this statement he compares him to a hornet or scorpion with a stinger, and that he has his own weapon that could hurt the government.
These comparisons of Caesar to dangerous animals describe Caesar’s potential political danger, and fire up Brutus’s patriotic enthusiasm. Some might say Brutus is stubborn, but in reality, he just ignores distractions and focuses on his goal. Despite what others think about Brutus, his actions are that of a true leader. Although his actions ultimately result in murder, he had the right priorities and morals. The act of murder itself isn’t right, but in his mind, he did it for the right reasons. His examples of honor, trustworthiness, and patriotism clearly show his leadership through the foul conspiracy.