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Conflict in Julius Caesar

Conflict Examples in Julius Caesar:

Act III - Scene II

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"For Brutus is an honorable man;(90) So are they all, all honorable men—..."   (Act III - Scene II)

Thus Antony begins to unspool a brilliant line of rhetoric. He punctuates his speech by returning again and again to the idea that “Brutus is an honorable man.” As Antony comes to reveal his true beliefs, the statement of Brutus’s nobility becomes increasingly ironic.

"There is tears for his love, joy for his fortune, honor for his valor, and death for his ambition. Who is here so base that would be a bondman?..."   (Act III - Scene II)

Brutus’s case for his murder of Caesar hinges on two arguments. First, Caesar was ambitious, and ambition is punishable by death. Second, that Caesar was tyrannical, putting the Roman people in the position of bondmen (slaves). Note that Brutus offers no evidence to support these claims. Mark Antony’s ensuing speech is remarkable in the way that he uses evidence to dismantle Brutus’s position here.

"Judge me, you gods! Wrong I mine enemies?(40) And, if not so, how should I wrong a brother?..."   (Act IV - Scene II)

Brutus’s rhetorical question drips with irony. In the wake of Brutus’s murderous treatment of Caesar, whom he had also considered a brother, these words offer no reassurance.

"Hath given me some worthy cause to wish Things done undone;..."   (Act IV - Scene II)

Now in retreat from the Roman public, Brutus appears to express some regret over “things done”—the murder of Caesar. Although Brutus has risen to the position of leader in the assassination, his words here suggest a return to his initial position of doubt about the overthrow.

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