Despite the word ‘honor’ being used frequently in the play, there is little evidence of it actually being demonstrated in the play. Do you agree? In Shakespearean’ Julius Caesar the idea of honor was a central element to the play. By definition honor involves a sense of self-sacrifice and the quality of knowing and doing something morally right; although this definition was challenged by characters trying to balance personal honor and national honor. Many circumstances in the play occurred due to the characters attempting to be honorable and others acting in spite of it.
Although the word honor was mentioned numerous times there was little evidence of characters actually displaying this trait. This essay will explore characters that didn’t show honor and had negative traits but also cover the little honor that was shown, by characters such as Brutes. Honor was spoken about more than it was shown but there is still some evidence of honor displayed in this play. Many characters in the play, Julius Caesar, did not show honor towards others in many different situations.
There was a large use of the word honor, especially in the scene here Antonym was addressing the audience, but the word was overused and sarcastic. “For Brutes is an honorable man, So are they all, all honorable men” (3. 2. 74) Antonym stated that all the conspirators were honorable and by this he was trying to persuade the audience to disagree with this statement. This speech mentioned honor numerous times but there was no sincerity about it being displayed. All the conspirators apparently killed Caesar for all of Rome but we know that especially with Cassias and Case, that they did it not only for Rome but for themselves. L was born free as Caesar; so were you; We both have fed as well, and e can both; Endure the winter’s cold as well as he” (1. 2. 97) Cassias was Jealous of Career’s power and therefore the killing of Caesar from the view of Cassias and Case was dishonorable. Also Decides convinced and lied to Caesar about coming to the senate and played on Caesar weaknesses which was dishonorable. To honor someone in this play sometimes meant that it would be dishonorable to others. This was displayed a lot in the play as characters struggled to choose between personal and national honor.
What was right for the city was wrong for Caesar, which is what al the conspirators positions. They had to choose, especially Brutes, to honor their friend or their city. With the influences of Cassias for Brutes the choice was made and it was an honorable act in the eyes of some but obviously the murder of a friend was quite the opposite. This was also a problem with Antonym; “Career’s spirit, ranging for revenge, With Ate by his side, come hot from hell” (3. 1. 270) Antonym needed to honor the memory of his close friend by killing the conspirators.
This could be seen as an honorable act because he needed to stand by his friend but it as also a savage act of proclaiming war with many causing numerous deaths, such as Brutes, Tinnitus, Case and many more. Therefore the act of being honorable was diminished as it wasn’t an honorable act to all. Honor was a trait spoken about more than displayed but there was some displays of honorable and righteous actions. Brutes was a very honorable character throughout the whole play and was the only character who stuck by his values. Set honor in one eye and death I’ the rather die than be dishonorable and throughout the play he displays this many mimes. “Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more. ” (3. 2. 22) He talks about honoring Rome over honoring his friend Caesar. Some may say this is dishonorable but Brutes never had bad intentions and Just wanted what was best for everyone. In Brute’s speech he wanted to tell the audience what happened honestly and he made an effort with Antonym also, although that didn’t end up being a wise decision. Even at the end, when Brutes committed suicide, it was about honor.
He did not want to be captured and paraded through his fellow Romans so he had Strata, “a fellow of a good respect”, to assist him to kill himself and to calm the ghost of Caesar. From studying many characters in Julius Caesar, it is obvious that honor is a central concept in the play. Although this is the case, having examined the characters and their actions honorable actions are not shown in most situations. While this is the case with the majority of characters, there is the exception of Brutes and some characters who attempt to have good intentions and act honorably. Overall honor is spoken about a lot more then it is displayed.
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