Julius Caesar Essay
Valor is a word that can be interpreted in many ways depending on the person or the actions preformed. The definition of valor is boldness or determination in facing a great danger (Dictionary.com). In Shakespeare's Julius Caesar a group of conspirators try to assassinate Caesar out of what they call a honorable act, or what Octavius and Antony call murder. After Caesar's death Octavius and Antony have a goal to avenge Caesar for what the conspirators did in a battle at Philipi. In Julius Caesar, valor is define through the Cassius', Brutus' and Caesar's actions and words but can be interpreted in different ways, and these "characters shape their actions to fit the courageous ideal(clc par. 17) to please the public.
Caesar is a character in which valor can be interpreted as bravery and/or ignorance. Caesar is brave character because he doesn't fear death. Caesar states, "Cowards die many times before their death; /The valiant never taste death but once. / Of all the wonders that I yet have heard, / It seems to me most strange that men should fear...(II.ii.32-35), meaning death is nothing to fear. In Elizabethan time, death came at a young age,usually, and was feared because of the plague and famine was so common. His bravery was to impress the public and to enhance his valor. In another example, his valor can be interpreted as ignorance because in certain contexts in the book such as the disregarding of the omens of his assassination, he "valiantly attends all his day's commitments, even though all of the omens point to his death. In this case his bravery can be interpreted as ignorance. "Caesar ... recogni[zes] that valor is the emblem of his leadership, and attempt[s] to enhance ... that emblem to suit [his] political needs.(clc par. 19) in his ambition to impress the public, he lead himself into his own death, which is considered ignorant. Caesar's valiant character is brave because he doesn't fear death but in the same sense him ignoring all of the omens is ignorant because it leads him to his death.
Cassius' valor is interpreted by himself as honorable and courage. He talks about the conspiracy as " an enterprise / O honourable-dangerous consequence' (I.iii. 123-124). He plants himself and the others in danger by joining the conspiracy. He is determined to kill Caesar, even though he know if the conspiracy was caught, they would be put to death. His determination is so strong that he is willing to take this risk. According to Eugene Giddens, " He also wants the Roman aristocrats to establish their valour by slaying Caesar(clc par. 26), which Cassius thought was honorable. In addition to, he states "o, you [Brutus] and I have heard our fathers say / there was a Brutus once that would have been brooked / Th'enternal devil to keep his state in Rome / As easily as a King(I.ii.158-161). He gives the crowd/citizens valor here because they are letting such a Caesar, a "tyrant, rule. Here he interprets valor as courage/bravery. Cassius thinks the murder of Caesar is an honorable thing and the public is valiant because of their willingness to let such a "tyrant rule.
Brutus is one character who will know for their valor and honor. He commits suicide which is one of the most valiant acts of any character. This act takes a lot of bravery because he is taking his own life, which is a great danger, and this will be the final decision. He commits suicide due to his determination to keep a good public image. He states "...have glory by this losing day/ More than Octavius and Mark Antony / By this vile conquest shall attain unto (V.v. 36-38), hoping by committing suicide he shall die valiantly. Brutus expresses valor when standing up the rest of the conspiracy about not taking to oath. He states " No, not an oath. If not the face of men, / The sufferance of our souls, the time's abuse - / If these be motives weak, break off betimes, ( II.i.114-116). In this statement, he believes truly in killing Caesar is an honorable act. He says if is the conspirators motives are not strong then leave, which tells the reader that he is valiant because of his honor and truthfulness. By committing suicide he hopes that he will be glorious and by expressing to the reader that his motives are strong and true that he is valiant for his honor.