Was it Murder or Justice?
By Carter Paul

    “Et tu Brute?” (Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
Act III scene 1 line 85) One of the last words spat
out in disgust by Caesar at his betrayal by Brutus at
his final hour.  Just before Caesar lost his life he
had the smallest speck of hope that his trustworthy
friend Brutus would only be a bystander and not be
involved in this terrible crime.  An anonymous person,
who ran away after the murder knowing that what he had
seen was important, witnessed this event.  These final
words traumatized Brutus.  But were Brutus and his
accomplice’s act of violence without meaning? Was it
murder with no explanation?  Or was Brutus thinking of
the future of Rome, and how he would like to see his
city prosper rather than be enslaved by the greedy
ruler and his lust for ultimate power over his
subjects.  Motives are what everyone is looking for.
    Most people would instantly take Caesar’s side, for a
group killed him mercilessly, which was without
warning. But don’t jump to conclusions; take the time
to think why these killers would do such a thing.
Brutus is not known to be a cold-blooded killer.  
Their motive as explained by Brutus to all the people
of Rome was this: “ If there be any in this assembly,
any dear friend of Caesar’s, to him I say that Brutus’
love to Caesar was no less than his. If then that
friend demand why Brutus rose against Caesar, this is
my answer: not that I loved Caesar less, but I loved
Rome more.  Had you rather Caesar were living, and die
all slaves, than that Caesar were dead, to live all
freemen?” (Act III scene 2 lines 19 - 26)
    Brutus explained his love for Caesar as well as his
great love for his country.  He would rather kill his
friend and save his country than save his friend and
the let the whole country perish.  He didn’t want
Caesar, who already viewed himself as a demigod, to
seek more power than he already had and control the
great city of Rome.  Brutus wanted the people of Rome
to know what they are doing and how it is going to
affect their future.  The people praised Caesar,
bowing to him and giving gifts to him hoping to just
touch his godly hand.  They do not know that this
praise and popularity only increased his overflowing
ego until he reached the point where he started
wanting more and more and would not stop until there
was nothing left to take.  Caesar was somewhat like a
leech who sucks out all the things that benefit him
until there is nothing left for anyone else.  And the
thing most frightening about Caesar was that he
wouldn’t think twice about anything that he does.
    Greed overrules the conscience of people such as
Caesar. Caesar started taking little things like land
from people who would feel blessed to contribute. Then
he started taking more and eventually enslaved people
to do his bidding.  Then the people would begin to
regret naming him king.  
    Brutus told us that he was a good friend of Caesar.
However, Brutus was very empathetic only until Caesar
became ambitious.  He states that he had to act in
order to stop Caesar.  He was doing a good thing by
being the one to stop Caesar before he got too
ambitious:  “As Caesar loved me, I weep for him. As he
was fortunate, I rejoice at it. As he was valiant, I
honor him. But, as he was ambitious, I slew him” (Act
III scene 2 lines 26 - 28).
    Brutus and his accomplices were the only people who
were thinking clearly when they took a course of
action, and they are responsible for the future of
Rome. So next time you think of why Brutus did such a
thing, think of his motives and how he chose to kill
Caesar justly instead of murder him.