Discourses On Livy In Shakespeare's Julius Caesar

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In the early 1500s, Italy was in turmoil, divided into many separate factions and independent kingdoms that perpetually fought amongst themselves. It was incapable of being unified under a single ruler. From this tumultuous environment, Machiavelli- a statesman and political philosopher at the time, read about the power and grandeur of the Ancient Roman Republic and Roman Empire. Upon reading of the former glory of Italy he became consumed with deciphering the secrets that would make Italy great once again. He compiled his findings in several books. In one of his most prominent books, Discourses on Livy, he discusses and promotes a republican style of government. In it he “...argued for a revival of civic life in which public-spirited citizens…show more content…
After agonizing about the decision for a while, he finally received sufficient evidence that Caesar had become a threat to the Roman Republic that needed to be eliminated. Brutus states, “It must be by his death: and, for my part, I know no personal cause to spurn at him, but for the general. He would be crowned..”. He recognized that the general populace wanted Caesar to be their king- they even offered Caesar the crown three times in one day. Each time Caesar seemed to have a harder and harder time refusing the crown. Brutus realized that eventually Caesar would give in to the people and his pride and accept the crown. It was because of this that Brutus knew that he would have to eliminate Caesar. He took no pleasure in the idea of Caesar’s death, but recognized the necessity of it. In his statement, he says he has no personal reason to “spurn” or despise Caesar but that “for the general” or for his nation he must be a part of the plot to kill Caesar. By rejecting his own personal feelings for his friend Caesar and instead acting on behalf of the Roman Republic because of a sense of civic duty he embodies the concepts and core foundations of a civic humanist…show more content…
Nevertheless, he represented a threat to state and Brutus felt a sense of duty to his country to put aside his opinions and beliefs in order to protect his country. An unflinching sense of duty to benefit the state rather than serve the individual is a prime characteristic of civic humanism and is clearly epitomized by Brutus’ words and actions. Through pervading classical republican actions, Shakespeare can express his ideological
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