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Brutus: Innocent

Your honor; ladies and gentlemen of the jury, imperial Prosecutor, John Smith, would have you convict my client, Marcus Junius Brutus of conspiracy, negligence, and regicide. My client pleads guilty to the charge of negligence, but to the charges of conspiracy and regicide, he pleads not guilty. Let’s consider the testimony of key witness William Shakespeare, in Act 4, Scene 2.

“According to Shakespeare’s statement, some power-hungry men were all fighting to do what they thought was the best for their public. With this wish for power comes selfish desires for many of the men, however, one who I believe wishes the best for the people and gets trapped in the fight is Brutus. While Brutus’ actions may make him seem harsh, his intentions stay true throughout. We see that Brutus is stuck between rocks in ways he is easily convinced, and we also become aware that time after time that he doesn’t ever think for himself, he always puts people first. Brutus is an honorable man, which is what made his betrayal of Caesar so difficult. Here Cassius uses rhetoric to exploit Brutus’ hamartia. We know that Brutus had questioned the moves that Caesar made for his public, however, he did not act upon going against him and his ways up until the moment that he was convinced by the conspirators to destroy Caesar for the benefit of the public. Brutus knew that Caesar needed to go because he knew that Caesar getting the crown would change him as a person, but it was the letter received from Cassius and the persuasion of the conspirators that got to Brutus’ mind and take the action.” (, 2019)

“According to Shakespeare, it was clear that Brutus was clothed in pain while he toasted with Caesar before his murder. Brutus stated that there was a part of him that didn’t want Caesar to be dead and that is easily seen from his statements recorded by William Shakespeare; however, he didn’t know he was killing Caesar for the good of his heart. Brutus said to the conspirator, ‘Grant that, and then is death a benefit? So, are we Caesar’s friends, that have abridged His time of fearing death? Stoop, Romans, stoop and let us bathe our hands in Caesar’s blood Up to the elbows and besmear our swords. Then walk we forth, even to the marketplace, and waving our red weapons o’er our heads Let’s all cry, “Peace, freedom, and liberty!”(Act 3 Scene 1 lines 113-120). Brutus told the conspirators that because they were Caesar’s friends, they wanted to do him a favor by killing him while he was still at a young age meaning that he wouldn’t have the struggle of waiting to die another day. He then proudly told them that they will spread Caesar’s blood onto their swords to mirror the new way of life their people would have being free of Caesar. I think it’s relevant to recognize that little did Brutus know that he was going to be persuaded to make unthinkable actions towards Caesar directed by Cassius, although he had good desires in doing so anyway. We can also consider Brutus’ speech at Caesar’s funeral when he said “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 that I loved Rome more.” (3:2: 19-24) Basically what we can take out of this speech is yes, yes Brutus understands that he killed Caesar and yes it was for the good of his country.” (, 2019)

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Brutus’ choice to stab his dear friend in the back isn’t easy to wrap around one’s mind. He had to choose between his devotion to the country and the people of Rome and his devotion to his friend. Brutus was also labeled an assassin as a result of him being a part of the who had murdered Caesar. Brutus was not jealous of Caesar, and neither did he have any lawful fears that Caesar was trying to take over and become a king. When Brutus overheard how the commoners were treating Caesar like a king, he was worried about Rome. Brutus spoke to Lucius about his concerns stating that “It must be by his death, and for my part, I know no personal cause to spurn at him… crown him that, and then I grant we put a sting in him that at his will he may do danger with.” (2.1.10-15). By this statement, we know that Brutus only wanted the best for Rome, and by having that he had to sacrifice a friendship. After killing his best friend and then bathing his hands in his blood, Brutus defended his actions: “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 demands why Brutus rose against Caesar, this is my answer: not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more.” (3.2.19-24). Unfortunately, Brutus had no idea that the information he is given regarding Caesar is made-up in an effort to win Brutus over by the conspirators. If he knew what was occurring, he would not have participated in this monstrous act. Brutus is certainly not the ‘bad guy’ here, although he is guilty of allowing himself to be betrayed into acting against his better judgment.

We know that Brutus wishes he could undo most of the things he has done the haunting final sentence from Caesar fills his head “Et tu Brute?”(Caesar, Act I, scene 2) these words were the final words from Caesar as he died of heartache from his beloved pal stabbing him. Brutus spoke to Cassius’s servant stating, “Your master, Pindarus, In his own change or by ill officers Hath given me some worthy cause to wish Things done, undone.”(Act 4, scene 1, line 10). If only Brutus was more connected with his own weaknesses, he would have known Cassius to be a manipulator. Brutus could’ve been able to question the fact why Cassius hated Caesar so badly that he would attempt to shame Caesar seeing he was, in fact, a man with ‘grey air’ (Meaning wise). Yet Brutus was dumbfounded and accepted anything and everything Cassius told him and joined the conspiracy, although it troubled him so much that he was not able to sleep. This evidence exposes that Brutus truly doesn’t understand his own weakness; he is unaware that he is easily manipulated, He didn’t realize that he was being used by Cassius to reach a secret goal rather than acting for the good of Rome and the people. Shakespeare confirmed this notion when Rome is destroyed after the death of Caesar. My client realizes how terrible the actions made are and that he is to blame but what seems truer here is that Brutus is simply having his own personal regret for his personal actions rather than thinking about the malicious act his fellow conspirators had caused. It may or may not be the time of understanding, but it certainly indicates Brutus’ regret. I believe Cassius should be the one being thrown in jail. He turned Brutus’s weakness into a false strength and set him up to be humiliated. Cassius tricked Brutus into believing that the people wanted Caesar dead by forging letters to convey these thoughts, Cassius is the mastermind behind this murder.

It is difficult to not feel bad for Brutus because in my opinion he is clearly the most complicated out of all the men, and it is sad to see him being taken for advantage so easily and placed in the middle of bad situations. Even though no one forces him to make those decisions. I conclude he is an innocent man because of all the good intentions he has behind the actions he makes; Brutus killed his best friend for the sake of Rome. He put his country’s needs before his own so yes, I applaud Brutus for standing up for his principles and defending Rome. Ladies and gentlemen, there is a reasonable doubt and, therefore you must find Marcus Junius Brutus not guilty.

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