The tragic play “Julius Caesar” by William Shakespeare develops characters to show an appearance of loyalty in order to deceive an enemy. The theme of deception is supported through interactions between Cassius and Brutus, the conspirators and Caesar, and Antony and the conspirators. It is ironic that the characters that deceive others in this play are actually being deceived themselves. As the leader of the conspirators who want Caesar dead, Cassius feels the Brutus needs to be a member of this cause and is willing to manipulate and deceive to ensure his involvement.
Cassius appears to be loyal by pretending to be concerned for Rome and what will happen to the citizens if Caesar is appointed King. He deceives Brutus because he and the conspirators are afraid they will lose freedom and influence if Caesar becomes King. They are envious of Caesar. Cassius deceives Brutus by emphasizing Caesar’s weakness, his “falling sickness”. He also flatters Brutus by comparing him to Caesar, telling him that he is stronger. Cassius forges letters, knowing that Brutus’s trusting nature will cause him to accept the letters. I will this night, In several hands, in at his window throw, As if they came from several citizens, Writings all tending to the great opinion That Rome holds of his name; wherein obscurely Caesar’s ambition should be glanced at: And after this let Caesar seat him sure; For we will shake him, or worse days endure. ” Cassius and the conspirators want Brutus to be a conspirator with them because it will look like a good thing was done for all the Romans because Brutus was loyal to Caesar.
Once Brutus has been unknowingly deceived, he then begins to deceive Julius Caesar. Once Brutus joins the conspiracy, he takes the lead role in the manipulation of Julius Caesar. Brutus and the conspirators seem to be loyal to Caesar because they accompany him to the Capitol on the day Caesar is to be appointed King. They appear to be good friends. They deceive Caesar because the conspirators are envious of Julius Caesar, fearing they will lose power and freedom if Rome has a King; Brutus feels it is in Rome’s best interest to stop him. O, that we then could come by Caesar’s spirit, And not dismember Caesar! But, alas! Caesar must bleed for it! ” Brutus deceives Julius Caesar by stabbing him. The extent of Brutus’ betrayal is seen when a shocked Caesar says, “Et tu, Brute? Then fall Caesar. ” Caesar thought Brutus was a true, loyal friend. Even though Brutus successfully deceived Caesar, Brutus himself will be deceived, yet again, by Caesar’s loyal friend Antony. In revenge for Caesar’s death, Antony vows to punish Brutus and the conspirators and uses deception to reach his goal.
Once he is reassured of his safety, Antony appears to be loyal to the conspirators by shaking their hands and seems willing to listen to their reason for killing Caesar. However, he plans to deceive the conspirators because he feels Caesar has been wrongly murdered and wants revenge for his death. “O, pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth, That I am meek and gentle with these butchers! ” Antony deceives them by gaining permission to speak at Caesar’s funeral and using his funeral speech to manipulate the Roman audience.
In his speech he keeps calling the conspirators “honourable men” but proves them to be the exact opposite. He feels that Caesar’s death is, “the ruins of the noblest man. ”Antony then shares the contents of Caesar’s will which proved Caesar wasn’t ambitious because the Roman citizens were his heirs. This causes the citizens to seek out the conspirators to kill them for their murderous actions. Antony’s successful deception leads to the death of Brutus and revenge for Caesar’s murder. An appearance of loyalty is shown in the characters of “Julius Caesar” in order to deceive an enemy.
Brutus was first deceived by Cassius to be a part of the conspiracy, to kill Caesar because he wouldn’t make a good King for Rome. Then the conspirators deceived Julius Caesar by acting like his friend when really they were going to kill him. Lastly, Antony deceived the conspirators by being nice to them when really he wanted revenge for Caesar’s death because he felt Caesar was murdered for the wrong reason. Everyone that was deceiving someone was being deceived themselves and they never knew. Often times a person finds themselves deceived by someone they thought was loyal to them.