Contrasting Friendships: “Julius Caesar” William Shakespeare

Throughout the entire play, Julius Caesar, William Shakespeare repeatedly shows a theme of friendship. Living in Rome during 44 B.C., Brutus, an honorable man who starts out friends with both Cassius and Caesar, ends up joining along with Cassius to betray Caesar with assassination.

After the assassination, a civil war develops between the traitors and the triumvirate of Antony, Lepidus, and Octavius. Because of some confusion, Cassius ends up committing suicide and again Brutus follows his lead. In the end, the conspirators lose the war. The friendships of Brutus with Caesar and Cassius contrast sharply in that Caesar loves with truth while Cassius betrays with lies.

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In the beginning, Brutus and Caesar have a good friendship full of trust and deep respect for one another. On more than one occasion, Caesar openly shows his love for Brutus. As they are celebrating in the streets, a soothsayer shouts a warning to Caesar, but he is ignored with Caesar’s comment “He is a dreamer. Let us leave him-pass” (Act 1 Sc 2 L 24).

In this Caesar displays his trust for those he loves; those who in turn betray him. Cassius states that “Caesar doth bear me hard, but he loves Brutus” (Act 1 Sc 2 L 293), but Brutus’ stoic beliefs overtake his love for Caesar and cause him to murder his friend for the benefit of Rome. As a result of Brutus’ betrayal to Caesar, Brutus proves to be loyal to Rome even at the cost of his friend’s death.

The friendship between Brutus and Cassius appears to be a true friendship outwardly while in reality, Cassius uses his manipulation powers to persuade Brutus to kill Caesar. Their personalities differ greatly and each makes up for what the other lacks. Cassius uses faulty persuasive techniques such as pointing out Caesar’s physical ailments. “He fell down in the market place and foamed at mouth and was speechless” ( Act 1 Sc 2 L 243). By showing these physical ailments, Cassius convinces Brutus to join him. Also, Cassius uses lies to persuade by planting fake letters on Brutus’ doorstep. Although Cassius is not perfect, he still loves Brutus and their friendship withstands through it all.

Forever, and forever farewell, Brutus! If we do meet again, we’ll smile indeed; If not, tis true this parting was well made (Act 5 Sc2 L 120-123). They never see eachother again, but this shows that they really do have a true friendship.

In conclusion, Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, portrays how sharply friendships contrast. Because of Brutus’ lack of faith in Caesar, their friendship ends the moment Brutus gives him “the most unkindest cut of all” ( Act 3 Sc 2 L 171). Caesar knows only love for Brutus while Cassius manipulates him into murdering Caesar because of the envied position he holds.

Unfortunately for Brutus, the lack of faith in Caesar begins to develop and Brutus so easily falls into step behind Cassius. Twentieth century friendships suffer from the same problems of envy and lack of faith. The Bible states that “-the greatest love is shown when a person lays down his life for his friends.” Brutus took his friend’s life instead of laying down his own for him.

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Contrasting Friendships: “Julius Caesar” William Shakespeare. (2019, Jan 26). Retrieved from