How Does Julius Caesar Change According To Plutarch

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The play is titled Julius Caesar, but the content of the play implies the title should be Marcus Brutus. After all, the main character of the play is Brutus, and much of the dramatic tension comes from his moral and physical struggles. Shakespeare, as an avid reader of history, draws much of this play from Plutarch’s Life of Julius Caesar and Life of Marcus Brutus. What is fascinating is how much the main character of the play, Brutus, differs from his historical counterpart according to Plutarch. While both versions of the character experience the same events, they react in contradictory ways. Shakespeare changes the character of Brutus in order to take the audience’s sympathies away from the conspirators who plot to kill Caesar and move those sympathies onto Caesar and other characters who support dictatorial rule. He does this by changing Brutus from a steadfast believer in the cause of …show more content…

In Plutarch, Brutus acts as the conspirators’ active leader, in addition to being their moral compass as noted before. Plutarch writes, “when Cassius felt his friends, and did stir them up against Caesar: they all agreed, and promised to take part with him, so Brutus were the chief of their conspiracy” (Plutarch 7). Brutus leads the conspiracy the moment he joins, as seen later in Plutarch when he is shown as the main director and casting agent, recruiting Ligarius, Labeo, and Brutus Albinus (Plutarch 7). In fact, Albinus only joins after “Brutus had told him he was the chief ringleader of all this conspiracy” (7). Brutus is a strong commander, a director running a successful group of actors, whose very name can bring others to the cause. There is no doubt that Brutus holds legitimate power over the conspirators, and this, combined with his loyalty to the republic of Rome, gives credence to the idea that the populace can generate and legitimize capable

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