All the major characters of Julius Caesar are public figures—some are even like celebrities—and are conscious of the fact that they live their lives and make their decisions before the audience of the Roman people, who may or may not be receptive. They are also careful about the personae they project in front of one another. Caesar is careful to always present himself as fearless and steadfast, even in front of trusted friends like Antony, and walks half-knowingly into his murder because death would not be as bad for his image as making an effort to avoid death. Though privately he is ailing and superstitious, Caesar would not be Caesar if he did not make himself out to be invincible. Cassius makes a show of being honorable, but is privately hypocritical and corrupt. Even Antony, who appears to be a "man of the people" and a loyal friend, plans to cheat the people out of Caesar's legacy, and to betray his partner Lepidus. And Brutus, who would otherwise be straightforward and consistent throughout the play, pretends in front of his troops to be unaffected by his wife's suicide.
Public vs. Private ThemeTracker
Public vs. Private Quotes in Julius Caesar
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.
The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,
It seems to me most strange that men should fear;
Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come.
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.
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.