Does the End Justify the Means
“Does the end ever justify the means?” This question is posed after reading The Tragedy of Julius Caesar. In this play, Brutus and the other conspirators murdered Julius Caesar because they thought he was a corrupt leader for the city of Rome. They thought that they were not doing anything wrong because they were doing it for the good of the people. Were their actions indeed for the good of the people, and if so, did that make the murder okay?
The question “does the end ever justify the means?” asks if doing something that is bad or morally wrong is okay if it is done for the greater good. In this play, Cassius did not think that Caesar was an acceptable candidate to lead the city of Rome. He wanted to assassinate Caesar, and persuaded Brutus to help him. After being persuaded by Cassius, Brutus thought that in killing Julius Caesar, he would be doing the citizens of Rome a favor. Even though killing a person is not right, Brutus thought that he was doing it for the good of Rome; therefore he was doing nothing wrong. This relates to “does the end justify the means” because Brutus believes that the end, which is freedom for Rome, justifies the assassination of Caesar (“In “Julius Caesar,” How Do “the Ends Justify the Means?”). Cassius it somewhat manipulating Brutus into thinking that what he is doing is right, and that Caesar is actually a bad person.
An example of how Brutus believes that the murder is doing the Romans a favor is when he says this in a speech at Caesar’s funeral: “Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more. Would you rather Caesar were living, and you all die slaves, than that Caesar were dead, so you all live freemen?” (Shakespeare, 880) In this speech he is stating that he did care…
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… There is no good reason to assassinate somebody. What Brutus and the conspirators did was not right. They thought they were doing Rome a favor, and maybe they were. But that does not justify the killing of a man.
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Feldman, Kevin, Kevin Feldman, Sharon Vaughan, and Kate Kinsella. Prentice Hall Literature. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2007. Print.
“In “Julius Caesar,” How Do “the Ends Justify the Means?” – Homework Help – ENotes.com.” Enotes.com. Enotes.com, n.d. Web. 12 May 2014. http://www.enotes.com/homework-help/compare-compare-brutus-cassius-determine-whether-299489
SparkNotes. SparkNotes, n.d. Web. 13 May 2014. http://nfs.sparknotes.com/juliuscaesar/page_134.html