Though there is certainly violence in Julius Caesar, characters spend far more time talking to one another than they do fighting or killing, and much of that talk takes the form of argument and debate. But unlike the arguments we are used to, those in Caesar focus primarily on discerning what is right—what should or must be done—rather than on characters trying to get their way. In Rome, accusing someone of acting in his self-interest, rather than for the good of Rome, is a serious insult. Though ideally this process should involve logic alone, certain characters in Caesar—just as in life—are skilled at manipulating language to make something seem logical when it is not.
This difference materializes most clearly in the arguments between Brutus and Cassius. Brutus—who reluctantly concludes that he must kill Caesar—thinks that his course is dictated by logic, but Cassius—who wants to kill Caesar because he is jealous—has used cunning to convince Brutus. Cassius suggests no direct actions at first, only drops hints, and even the notes he has Cinna throw into Brutus's window contain strategic blank spaces. Though it is Cassius's plan from the beginning, Brutus becomes the first character to explicitly state that Caesar must be killed. Though Brutus is probably the most intelligent character in the play, he is better at using this intelligence to govern his own actions than to control others; the speech he makes to the plebians after the murder is brief and spare, drawing only on logic. Antony, however—who combines the skills of Brutus and Cassius—turns the crowd around with a much more effective speech, involving both logic, emotion, and skillful speaking "tricks" such as visual aids, audience participation, and suspense.
Logic and Language ThemeTracker
Logic and Language Quotes in Julius Caesar
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.