Julius Caesar Essays: Expediency vs Ideology

Julius Caesar Essays: Expediency vs Ideology

Expediency is the concept of doing something fitting, practical, useful, and advisable. It is the suitable means to accomplish an end. Ideology is the body of beliefs or ideas of any person or group. These two words, if put together, clash. It is a battle between what is really best between what one thinks and what needs to be done. An excellent example of this clash is in Shakespeares Julius Caesar. Was the death of Caesar something that was done pragmatically or was it an action taken because of certain convictions, an ideology?

Was Caesars death practical? Would it bring about positive change for Roman society? The main reason that the conspirators gave for their action was that if Caesar were crowned king, he would become a tyrant, an oppressor of the Roman people. It was done in the best interests of the Republic. Now that he was dead, Caesar could never be a tyrant and the Romans could live in freedom. His murder, therefore, was necessary. Brutus and Cassius took it upon themselves to be the operative forces to kill Caesar. These were expedient men who cared only for Rome.

Or were they? The flip side to being practical and doing what is best for others is taking action because of what one thinks needs to be done and/or actually doing it for selfish reasons. Julius Caesars death also can be considered an ideological decision. In I, ii, ll. 35-180, Cassius brings forth the issue that he thought Brutus could be as good a ruler as Caesar. Why does Cassius bring this up? What does he get from saying this? One might say that these were encouraging words from one friend to another.

However, these words serve as a catalyst for Brutus plan to murder Caesar. Among the conspirators, did they have any motives behind their participation in Caesars murder? All thought they were acting nobly. The conflict between expediency and ideology comes in this question: What was the true purpose in killing Caesar? Was it best for Rome? Was it best for themselves? Was it the practical thing to do? I believe that throughout the play, ideology is the easier of the two to support. It was clearly what propelled Brutus, the noblest Roman of them all.

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