Posted by enotechris on January 2, 2009.
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College - Sophomore
Educator, Debater, Expert, Dickens, The Bard
Great question - and there isn't a right answer. Antony clearly doesn't think so when he juxtaposes Brutus' actions with his ideals in the funeral speech in which he - with increasing levels of irony - describes Brutus and the conspirators as an honorable man.
Look, in this place ran Cassius' dagger through;
See what a rent the envious Casca made;
Through this the well-beloved Brutus stabb'd;
And as he pluck'd his cursed steel away,
Mark how the blood of Caesar follow'd it...
The huge gulf between Brutus' ideals and his actions is where the problem lies. In his soliloquy he outlines that he has no "personal cause" to attack Caesar, but only the "general: he would be crowned". Yet we've seen Brutus be persuaded by Cassius, who plays absolutely on Brutus' own self-important sense of honour, and even compares Brutus with Caesar, asking "why should that name be sounded more than yours?". Is Brutus only drawn into the conspiracy ("general cause") out of self-regard and arrogance - "a personal cause"?
Perhaps. And, when you compare Brutus' imperative that the conspiracy rises against Caesar's spirit, in which there "is no blood", with the blood that pours out after the assassination itself, you have to conclude that Brutus is somewhat painfully idealistic.
Personally, I don't think he's honorable, but a cynical portrayal of how a self-regarding liberal can bring about absolute disaster. But whichever way you go, he's a political disaster.
Posted by robertwilliam on January 2, 2009.
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High School - 10th Grade
Yes, absolutely, Brutus was most definitely an honorable man. Think about his initial resistance to Cassius' advances: he asks what sort of dangerous path he is being led down. Brutus