Self-Sacrifice in Julius CaesarSometimes goals can be hard to achieve. It is human nature to take the easiest route, but to achieve them you may have to make sacrifices. The amount one person will sacrifice to accomplish a goal is dependent on what one values most. In William Shakespeare’s tragic play Julius Caesar, the protagonist, Brutus’s capacity for self-sacrifice is used to better the city of Rome. Everything Brutus does is for the good of Rome. The character of Cassius has to self-sacrifice several times throughout the play, and it is used for self-betterment as well as helping his friends. As well as a not as key character Lucilius who also makes some sacrifices.
Although all of these character’s sacrifices are for different things they are all giving up something in hopes they will succeed and for something they care about.Self-sacrifice by Brutus in this play is portrayed by him doing everything for the good of Rome. The first sacrifice made was when Brutus sacrificed his morals and loyalty to Caesar in his belief it was good for Rome. He was set up by Cassius in the way that letters from the “citizens” were strategically placed by Cassius. The purpose of this is to make Brutus believe that betraying as well as sacrificing his loyalty and friendship to Caesar is what Rome wants. The Roman citizens, however, have nothing to do with these letters and although a portion of them would like this, there is also a great number that believes Caesar would be a great leader. Brutus is also sacrificing how the citizens of Rome view him as a person and now they are also supposed to view him as a figure of leadership. Brutus does all this without thinking about the possible negatives of sacrificing his morals to do something as controversial as killing the potential leader of your city and expecting the citizens to take it as an ok thing to do.
Brutus also sacrifices his relationship with his wife, Portia as when he tells her of their plan of assassinating Caesar she finds it too much to handle and after they follow through she kills herself by swallowing hot coals. Brutus did not intend to sacrifice his relationship but after it happened he realized it was too late to do anything about it. In this play, Cassius, one of the conspirators and a friend of Brutus, makes sacrifices that benefit him as well as some that benefit Brutus. During an argument with Brutus Cassius talks about how he feels he has lost a friend and that he should not have to make sacrifices to keep their friendship. This is ironic because Brutus realizes that Cassius has been lying to him and therefore makes a sacrifice to keep their friendship by forgiving him. Towards the end of the play, Cassius sacrifices himself figuratively and literally. Cassius sacrifices many men in the war to Brutus, who is nearly taking over Octavius and his army. Even before Cassius sent men to help Brutus with his near success he was already fighting a losing battle.
With fewer men, it leads to them being outnumbered greatly and having no possible backup as Brutus’ men were looting the enemy camps instead of coming to help finish the other half. Later Cassius sends his friend, Titinius, to go check on a camp they saw in the distance. Pindarus, watching Titinius from the top of the hill sees him being dragged off of his horse and hears cheering coming from the camp. Pindarus and Cassius perceive this as it was enemies dragging him off the horse and the cheers being cries of victory. Cassius decides to make the ultimate sacrifice, suicide because he feels he just sent his best friend to his death. Pindarus then stabs Cassius as he was asked and flees.
It was later revealed that it was friendly cheers and he was dragged off of his horse because they were glad he was alive. Now that Titinius sees that Cassius has committed suicide he feels that he shall not live without his friend. This is proved when he kills himself as well.In the final part of the play, Brutus and Lucilius make sacrifices that show how noble of a person they are. Lucilius, a friend of Brutus, pretends to be Brutus in hope that it would fool the enemies into believing they have won.
It worked until the people who held him captive brought him back to Antony. Antony knew very well that this was not Brutus but still praised Lucilius for being such a noble man willing to sacrifice himself in hope that it would give Brutus and Cassius some time. His hopes were that while Antony and Octavius believed they were triumphant Brutus and Cassius would take advantage of it and make some moves. Brutus’ sacrifice, in the end, was the taking of his own life. When the war was looking bad Brutus did what was noble back in the Roman days, commit suicide so the enemies can’t kill you. It is similar to the thought that if you are going to be pushed off a bridge would you rather just jump.
He feels killing himself will benefit not only him but the good of Rome as well as Cassius’ and his armies. Rather than seeing their leader be slain or captured he gave up his life in hopes it would not give Antony the satisfaction of capturing or killing him. It was also in hope that his army would have satisfaction knowing that their leader died a noble death rather than dying at the hands of the enemy. We know this as it is mentioned several times that suicide is a noble death. Antony also gives high praise for Brutus killing himself and calls him, “The most noble Roman” He says this because while all the other conspirators killed Caesar for personal betterment or just because they did not want one man running the city.
Brutus however actually believed that what he was doing is right and for the good of Rome. In conclusion, the tragic play, Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, the amount of sacrifice one character will make is shown by many characters as a main theme. Cassius, Brutus, and Lucilius all show great amounts of self-sacrifice.
Although it may be for different reasons, in the end, they all did it to better something they care about. Brutus sacrifices his loyalty and friendship to Caesar, as well as his morals because that is what he believes is for the best of Rome. Lucilius sacrifices himself as a captive to the enemy army in hopes that his army would take advantage of the time given and try to turn the tides of the war. Cassius sacrifices for self-betterment by manipulating Brutus to help kill Caesar. He also sacrifices for the good of their armies as well as Brutus by sending the help Brutus needs to win his side of the war even though Cassius may need those men more. The way self-sacrifice is used makes it a great way to drive the storyline and without it, there would not be much content.