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Connie Quan


5° English 2


A Breach of Trust

When a person befriends another individual, a budding relationship is expected to form

and grow with time. With this comes trust and bonds with one another. However, what happens

when that “friend” turns on the other person and betrays them? What happens when that trust is

taken advantage of? The tragic and timeless play Julius Caesar was written by William

Shakespeare in 1599. The play tells the story of a Roman by the name of Julius Caesar who’d

defeated his rival Pompey and had plans to take the crown. However, a group of conspirators

who are against Caesar’s supposed tyranny murder him, and the story then shifts to focus on

Brutus, a stoic gentleman who only recently joined the conspirators. As war breaks out over

Caesar’s death, Brutus and the remaining conspirator, Cassius, die by their companions’ hands

during the war against the triumvirate, and the play ends off with a speech about them. Upon

reading the story, there are numerous instances of morbid deaths and negative outcomes that

result from an underlying cause. This cause is the breach of trust in others. The main characters

were ultimately led to their demise because of their overly trusting affairs and gullible natures.

Though many may believe that the tragedies in this story were produced from the perpetrators’

deceptions, it is also significant to dig deeper into the victims and their simple-minded beliefs.

In the earlier parts of the story, Brutus’s increasing trust in Cassius leads him to the

conspiracy group that causes chaos to ensue. In his first conversation with Cassius, Brutus is

wary of Cassius’s true intentions, but as time goes on, he gradually gets convinced to join the

conspirators. “I will consider, what you have to say / I will with patience hear, and find a time. /

Both meet to hear and answer such high things.” (I.i.169-171). In the same act, Cassius expresses

his thoughts on getting through to Brutus: “If I were Brutus now and he were Cassius, he should

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5th period

not humor me.” (I.ii.310-311). Cassius himself is aware of the fact that he seems untrustworthy,

but despite that, Brutus surprisingly lowers his guard against him. As the conspiracy along with

Brutus plans for the murder, we can see that Caesar as well ends up putting his faith in the wrong


Caesar’s gullibleness and his trust in his peers are what led him to his gruesome death.

One night, Caesar’s wife Calpurnia has a nightmare about her husband’s statue spouting blood

and citizens bathing in it. Due to her pleading, Caesar decides not to go to the Senate that day.

However, Decius, a conspirator in disguise, interrupts and says that the dream was actually

favorable: “This dream is all amiss interpreted. / It was a vision fair and fortunate.” (II.ii.83-85).

Caesar, being prideful and trusting of his fellow supporter, agrees with him in a matter of

moments. “How foolish your fears seem now, Calpurnia! / I am ashamed I did yield to them.”

(II.ii.105-106) Once Caesar arrives at the Senate, he is presented with a fake case that allows the

conspirators to move closer to him under the action of begging. This is further evidence that

Caesar was not suspecting of them at all because he did not even perceive their advances as

anything other than pleads. His surprise at the betrayal of Brutus is emphasized with the line:

“Et, tu, Brute? …” (IIII.i.84). With Caesar dead, his ally Antony begins to address the Romans

with fraudulent remarks over his death and will.

As riots begin to form, the numerous instances of lies and deceit affect many of the

characters negatively. When Antony makes his speech over Caesar’s dead body, he twists

Caesar’s will into his favor and instills anger into the people at the conspirators. “Revenge!

About! Seek! Burn! Fire! Kill! Slay! / Let not a traitor live!” (III.ii.198-199) The citizens believe

Antony and say that they’ll listen, follow, and even die with him. They show their allegiance

even though they do not know if he speaks the truth. Furthermore, when war breaks out, we are

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5th period

shown that the trust between Cassius and his servant Pindarus was rather tight. However, it

seems only Cassius thought of it that way. When they hid in battle, Pindarus states that a soldier

whom Cassius directed to report back had fallen in battle: “Now, Titinius. Now some light. Oh,

he lights too. / He’s ta’en.” (V.iii.33-34). An enemy takeover of the camp was practically an

indicating sign that the enemy had won, so Cassius believes his words and takes this as a cue to

kill himself rather than let the enemies find him. “Now be a free man, and with this good sword /

That ran through Caesar’s bowels, search this / bosom.” (V.iii.45-47) Pindarus kills Cassius as he

wanted, but what Cassius didn’t know was that his servant had been lying in order to be free.

Through this false trust in Pindarus, Cassius ends up dying a meaningless death. Like this scene,

this play has shown us quick changes of hearts and sly trickeries at the cost of others. Although

Julius Caesar may only be a play, the underlying theme in the text resonates with real life.

Within the story, there are various implications of being wary around others no matter

how close a relationship may be. Just like in Julius Caesar, there are times when people may be

manipulative and deceitful in order to gain what they want. The play is showing a possible

warning to the readers that people may not appear to be who they really are inside. Society is a

competitive world to be in, and more often than not, people push off others in order to create

space for themselves. Nobody is ever steadfast their entire life, so betrayals and backstabs are

bound to happen if we are not careful of who we trust. Our classmates and friends today can very

well become tomorrow’s enemies and competitors.