In William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, the virtue of honor can be interpreted in many ways. The protagonist of the play, Marcus Brutus supports this thought shown through his idealistic view of the world and by showing his patriotism towards Rome. Mark Antony perfectly fits the description of an honorable man as he remains loyal to Caesar and avenges the death of his friend. Cassius, on the other hand, is seen as a character who lacks integrity and honor for his actions are accomplished through his personal beliefs and out of jealousy, ignoring the general good. Marcus Brutus, Mark Antony, and Cassius are significant characters that are portrayed in this play to show how their different definitions of honor can change their behavior and influence some momentous decisions.
Love of country, of liberty, and of honor is Brutus' guiding principles as this character treasures his country above all else. Brutus maintains integrity at all times and it is because of this quality that he is respected by all of Rome. The name of being an honorable man means so much to Brutus that he claims that if he was faced with a situation where he had to decide between honor and his death, he would choose honor because he loves the name of honor more than he fears death. If it aught toward the general good, set honor in one eye and death i' th' other, an I will look on both indifferently. (II.ii.23-24) Brutus is willing to die if his death was necessary for the general good or if the people wanted him to die. As the play progresses, Brutus is faced with a decision between his friend, Caesar and the Roman citizens. Since Brutus valued this virtue of honor, he chose his country over his friendship and this reveals him to be patriotic and noble. Brutus states, It must be by his death; and, for my part, I know no personal cause to spurn at him. (II.i.10-12)
[...] Even after the death of Caesar, Antony remains true to his relationship with Caesar, as he believes that Caesar should not have been murdered and plans to avenge his death or seek justice for a friend. He is known to keep his promises as he makes a deal with the conspirators in order to set up his plan to do what is right, which was to avenge his friend's death. At Caesar's funeral, Antony proves to be honorable from what he said in his speech. [...]
[...] heart is in the coffin there with Caesar, And I must pause till it comes back to (III.ii.108-109) These few lines show how much Antony loved Caesar and this value of friendship that Antony keeps at high respect shows him to be an honorable man. Antony's definition of honor focuses on trust and friendship as he shows that he is noble and loyal to his dearest friend and patron, Caesar. Cassius is an example put in the play to show the consequences of one who lacks the virtue of honor. Cassius can be viewed as a man of many faces, in other words, duplicitous. [...]
[...] As the play progresses, Brutus is faced with a decision between his friend, Caesar and the Roman citizens. Since Brutus valued this virtue of honor, he chose his country over his friendship and this reveals him to be patriotic and noble. Brutus states, must be by his death; and, for my part, I know no personal cause to spurn at him.” (II.i.10-12) This shows Brutus' innocence as he knows he has made a big decision that will have an impact and consequence followed, but he assures himself repeatedly that he is only going to kill Caesar for he may become an ambitious tyrant who might misuse his power and cause destruction to Rome. [...]
[...] Clearly, Cassius shows his pride that he is greater than Caesar and this character trait shows Brutus to be dishonorable as he thinks of others as people who cannot be compared to his strength and mind. These various character traits reveals Cassius as a dishonorable character but also a unique, important role that aids the progression of the play. Honor is considered to be a virtue that Mark Antony and Brutus respect, but at the same time, characters like Cassius forget this virtue, which is shown through a person's personality and decisions. Marcus Brutus views honor as being patriotic to the country and to forget your needs and feelings for world peace and others. [...]
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