Murder of Julius Caesar

In the play "Julius Caesar" by William Shakespeare the playwright juxtaposes the character of Brutus and Anthony, to demonstrate that prudence in a politically unstable realm is better than mere power. The two characters have been situated at extreme ends in the play with the character of Caesar somewhere in between.

Antony is introduced in the play as a loyal servant who has mastered the art of rhetoric. His responses are calculated and he remembers to include interjections that demonstrate his allegiance to Caesar. In Act I Caesar asks Antony to make sure he touches Calpurnia, because tradition has it that of he does so, Calpurnia would be healed of her infertility. Antony responds by asserting that he shall remember and adds that Caesar's word must be honored. Anthony knew that Caesar was a powerful leader, and to get closer to Caesar he had to assure Caesar of his loyalty. Towards the end of the play Antony makes sure that he gives a praising epitaph to Brutus, so that he can win favor with the now polarized citizens of Rome. Eventually Antony manages to win the favor of the citizens of Rome.

On the other hand Brutus is erratic and power hungry, and is often portrayed as sulking because he has not been able to get what he wants. The cunning Cassius senses the vacuum within Brutus and uses the opportunity to brainwash him with ideas of assassinating Caesar. Brutus had the power but he lacked in prudence. When Cassius confronts Brutus with the idea, Brutus is initially confused but the hunger for more power that Cassius promises drives him to consider the matter. Eventually Brutus dies a dishonorable death and seems like Cassius had wanted to eliminate both Brutus and Caesar by targeting at the gullible Brutus.

The play is about power plays and politics, and the various types of characteristic evident emerging. By killing Brutus, Shakespeare intended to show that power without prudence is nothing and will only lead to political downfall. The author puts the characters of Brutus and Antony in the play, to demonstrate that prudence is better than power. Antony does not have power but he knows how to act in various situations to earn favor. He earns favor and trust from Caesar because he is loyal and respectful of Caesar. In the end of the play, he earns favor with the masses by playing innocent in the political games between Caesar and Brutus.