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Themes

Male bonds are funny things in Julius Caesar.  Men in the play must to choose between loyalty to their friends and loyalty to the Roman Republic, which leads to some of the most famous examples of manipulation and violent betrayal in Western literature. This is especially true for Brutus, who chooses to join the conspirators' assassination plot when it seems clear to him that his BFF, Julius Caesar, is headed for absolute power.

Questions About Friendship

  1. Make a list with two columns. In the first column, list Caesar's friends. In the second column, list the conspirators against Caesar. Do any of the names appear in both columns? If so, explain why.
  2. Why does Brutus join the assassination plot against his friend Caesar? Is Brutus's betrayal of Caesar justified?
  3. Is Cassius a true friend to Brutus? Why or why not?
  4. Why does Antony call Brutus the "noblest Roman of them all" (5.5.1) even after the men have fought a civil war against each other? Is Antony being genuine?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Although male friendship is the most important human relationship in the play, it's less important than loyalty to the Roman Republic.

It's nearly impossible to tell the difference between friends and enemies in Julius Caesar.

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