Since the Rome of the play is the pinnacle of civilization, arguments about how it should be run are also arguments about what constitutes an ideal government. The entire play centers around Brutus accepting the truth of two moral statements: First, that Rome must not become a monarchy; and secondly, that killing an as-yet-innocent man is morally acceptable if it prevents Rome from becoming a monarchy. Brutus's strict moral code makes no allowance for self-preservation, however, and so he flatly rejects Cassius's suggestion that they also kill Antony, and even allows Antony to address the plebians. Giving in to Cassius on either of these points would have prevented Brutus's ruin, but violated his principles.
Politics and Morality ThemeTracker
Politics and Morality Quotes in Julius Caesar
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.
Sleek-headed men, and such as sleep o' nights.
Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look;
He thinks too much: such men are dangerous.
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault;
And grievously hath Caesar answer'd it.
Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest, —
For Brutus is an honorable man;
So are they all, all honorable men, —
Come I to speak in Caesar's funeral.
He was my friend, faithful and just to me:
But Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honorable man.
All the conspirators, save only he,
Did that they did in envy of great Caesar;
He only, in a general honest thought,
And common good to all, made one of them.
His life was gentle; and the elements
So mix'd in him that Nature might stand up
And say to all the world, "This was a man."
Did not great Julius bleed for justice' sake?
What villain touch'd his body, that did stab,
And not for justice? What, shall one of us
That struck the foremost man of all this world
But for supporting robbers, shall we now
Contaminate our fingers with base bribes,
And sell the mighty space of our large honours
For so much trash as may be grasped thus?
I had rather be a dog, and bay the moon,
Than such a Roman.