Strife for Power
by Sabrina Yurkofsky

    Rome, May 1- Following the murder of Roman leader Julius Caesar, a play for power has ensued between Marc Antony and Marcus Brutus. These men, both prominent political figures in Rome, are currently butting heads over the question of who will lead Rome.
To appease the upset and angry crowds at Caesar’s funeral, Brutus claimed he did not kill Caesar out of spite, but out of love for his country. To explain why he killed Caesar, Brutus said that it was “not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more” (Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, Act III, Scene II lines 23-24).
At first it appeared that the Romans would follow Brutus, who is widely considered to be an honorable man. However, following Brutus’ eulogy at Caesar’s funeral, Antony roused crowds with a speech of his own. Antony denied any plans of attempting to lead a rebellion. “If I were disposed to stir your hearts and minds to mutiny and rage,” he said, “I should do Brutus wrong” (Act III, Scene II, lines 133-135). Antony’s words led to a great rebellion by the people. This led to the war that currently rages through Rome.
    Both Brutus and Antony are fighting to win over the other. Antony has bid the people of Rome to kill any conspirators, should they meet them. For those unlucky few whose names bear similarity to the senators who killed their leader, mercy has not been shown. Many have died at the hands of Antony’s angry countrymen.
Meanwhile, there have been leaked reports of discontent between Brutus and his right hand man, Cassius. Both worked together in the assassination of Caesar, and any discontent between the two of them could have repercussions and undermine their authority.
    When asked about who ought to lead Rome now, Romans provide a variety of answers. Many side with Brutus, saying that he is an honorable man who thinks only of his country, whereas Antony is merely trying to avenge the death of a friend. Others cannot forget that Brutus killed the leader they adored because Brutus thought he may have been ambitious.
In his eulogy, Brutus charged Caesar with the sin of being ambitious. He did not say Caesar was a dishonorable man, merely that he had ambitions. Many Romans do not agree that this is a justifiable reason to kill someone. They are responding by following Antony’s commands and showing open contempt and hostility towards any supporter of Brutus.
    Many senators have chosen to side with Brutus. This may be due to the fact that many of them were conspirators in the assassination of Caesar and are now being prosecuted by Antony’s supporters.
This play for power continues all throughout Rome. As a messenger said, “[A] bloody sign of battle is hung out” (Act V, Scene I, line 15).