August 31, 2015

FRIENDS OF THE REPUBLIC:

'Et tu, Brute?' (JAMES V. SCHALL, S. J., Summer 2015, University Bookman)

The drama of Shakespeare is sometimes thought to be really the drama of Brutus, not Caesar. Tyrants were said to have no friends. Because of their bonds of loyalty, friends were said to be more dangerous to tyrants than separate individuals. In this setting, Brutus broke his friendship when Caesar became a tyrant in his view.

The classic question is the relation of duty to friend and duty to country or to God. Whether Caesar was the sort of tyrant that Brutus pictured him to be might be questioned. Caesar was an accomplished man. And the morality of Brutus' deed hinges on this estimate of tyranny, together with the legitimacy of tyrannicide in general. Brutus, along with Cicero, did maintain that the killing of a tyrant was an act of courage for the good of the country.

Given what became of Rome, Brutus and Cicero were prescient, just unsuccessful in saving the Republic.
Posted by at August 31, 2015 7:46 PM
  

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