Duplicity Inside the Senate
By Jamie Nanni

    Although Brutus was recently defeated by the people of Rome and proved to be a vicious killer, it seems as though many citizens still cannot accept that their darling, honorable hero was actually a complete fraud.  The reality is, no one truly knew Brutus, judging from the fact that everyone was shocked by his actions.  It is time to bring Brutus into the light and to reveal the man behind the honorable façade.
    Recent interrogations of the remaining conspirators by officials revealed that Cassius was in fact the ringleader of the plan to massacre Caesar.  Of course, the public immediately grabbed onto this tidbit of information, declaring that Brutus was most likely an innocent participant, manipulated and deceived by Cassius’s cunning wit.  Yet, upon further questioning, many of the conspirators revealed that Brutus was in fact a co-leader, who often overrode Cassius’s decisions.  “We cannot conclude that Cassius was to blame for Brutus’s corruption, since we do not know what Brutus’s private thoughts on Caesar were,” said one of the interrogators.  We do know that Brutus’s servant, Lucius, overheard Brutus saying of Caesar, “I have not known when his affections swayed more than his reason,” (Julius Caesar, by William Shakespeare, Act 2, Scene 1, 21-22).  However, he also said, “And therefore think of him as a serpent’s egg, which, hatched, would, as his kind, grow mischievous, and kill him in the shell” (Act 2, Scene 1, 33-36), which leads us to believe that, though Brutus may have had a small “push” from Cassius, his decision to join the senators in their nefarious act was, for him, an easy one.
    What most surprised the people of Rome was probably Brutus’s readiness to kill someone who appeared to be near and dear to him.  Brutus was well known for preaching that being honorable was more important than any other quality a man could have, so it was easy, at first, to believe that he simply killed Caesar because Caesar was secretly a terrible, dishonorable, ambitious man.  Yet, no proof has arisen that this insinuation is true.  What must be done to further understand Brutus is to look at the very definition of honor.  Most people will define being honorable as “doing the right thing,” but honor is also defined as personal dignity, or defending one’s good reputation.  The latter definitions, I believe represent how Brutus perceived honor.  Brutus was motivated by the fact that his ancestors were the founders of the Roman Republic, and if Caesar were crowned king, all of Brutus’s family’s hard work would have been for nothing.  Now normally I have nothing against protecting your family name, but in this instance, Brutus killed an innocent man over the chance, yes just the chance, that his good reputation would be tarnished had Caesar lived.  I see no reasonable excuse for this “honorable” act.  Even more disturbing was how Brutus twisted descriptions of his endeavors to make them appear as though he had “done the right thing.”  At one point, Brutus declared, “Let’s carve him as a dish fit for the gods,” (Act 2, Scene 1, 186) as though he truly believed that killing Caesar with nice, clean cuts suddenly made his murder acceptable.  He acted as though he wanted to “do the right thing” for Rome, but all he cared for was himself and his reputation.
    Another of Brutus’s motivations was hunger for power.  Though at first this may seem like a farfetched idea, the obvious change in Brutus’ personality after Caesar’s death may have actually been a peek at his true character.  In a conversation overheard by several generals between Brutus and Cassius in their tents, Brutus reprimanded Cassius for accepting bribes, saying, “Let me tell you Cassius, you yourself are much condemned to have and itching palm, to sell and mart your offices for gold to undeservers” (Act 4, Scene 3, 9-12) and, “By heaven, I had rather coin my heart and drop my blood for drachmas than to wring from the hard hands of peasants their vile trash by any indirection” (Act 4, Scene 3, 81-84).  These sentiments seem to represent a truly honorable man, but he then continued, “I did send to you for gold to pay for my legions, which you denied me.  Was that done like Cassius?  Should I have answered Cassius so?  When Marcus Brutus grows so covetous to lock such rascal counters from his friends, be ready, gods, with all your thunderbolts; dash him to pieces!” (Act 4, Scene 3, 84-91).  Basically, Brutus insulted Cassius all throughout this conversation, calling him greedy, deceitful, and covetous, then stating how he, Brutus, would never be so rapacious.  Next, in an act so hypocritical it’s almost funny, he tells Cassius off for not sharing the bribe money with him.  
This man, this self-obsessed, hypocritical, deceitful man, was the real Brutus.  Away from the pressure of the public eye, Brutus’s true nature was revealed, and we all must finally accept that our honorable hero was nothing more than a guise fabricated by Brutus for selfish purposes.