How is flattery used in the play?
Flattery will get you nowhere. This quote might not appear as relevant or true during the beginning of the play, but as the play unfolds you see that it only leads to a predicted down fall. Flattery is an underappreciated aspect that played an important role in impacting the choices of the leaders. Throughout Julius Caesar, all the characters use flattery and manipulation to achieve their goal.
The first use of flattery for a main objective is used by Cassius towards Brutus in Act 1, Scene 2 and again in Act 2, Scene 1. Cassius tries his hardest to convince Brutus to join the revolt against Caesar, but at first, Brutus resists because of his loyalty, faith and love towards Rome and Caesar. However, Brutus accidentally utters “I do fear the people choose Caesar for their king!” (I, II, 79), showing Cassius that he deep down inside he feels it is the right thing to do. Cassius then continues with his aim of persuading Brutus to join the conspirators.
“Brutus and Caesar; what should be in that Caesar?
Why should that name be sounded more than yours?
Write them together, yours is as fair a name;
Sound them, it doth become the mouth as well;
Weigh them, it is as heavy” (I ,II ,142-150)
When Brutus had still not have given a final answer, Cassius continued on his pursuit to further convince Brutus. Cassius decides to forge letters to Brutus, making them seem as if from a Roman citizen. The letters successfully persuade Brutus to join the conspirators because he feels pride when the “citizens” depend on him and does not want to let them down. Brutus feels that it is his job now to make the place better for Rome and its citizens. It is most likely that without flattery, Brutus would probably never have joined the conspirators.
The letters wrote:
“Brutus, thou sleep’st; awake and see thyself.
Shall Rome, etc. Speak, strike, redress!
Brutus, thou sleep’st awake!” (I, II, 46-48)
In Act 2 Scene 2, flattery is used again to manipulate the decisions of a strong leader. Calpurnia, Caesar’s wife, comes to Caesar with a bad dream about smiling Roman washing their hands in the blood of Caesar. After much of Calpurnia’s pleading, Caesar declares that he will stay home. Enter Decius. Decius is a member of the conspirators so he is very determined into getting Caesar to the Senate House. The flattery begins quite immediately as Decius enters the scene and says “Caesar, all hail! Good morrow, worthy Caesar” (I, II, 58). Caesar tells Decius about the dream and that he will not go to the Senate House. Decius uses his quick wit to say that Calpurnia’s foreshadowing dream was “misinterpreted”. He explains the dream;
“Your statue spouting blood in many pipes,
In which so many smiling Romans bathed,
Signifies that from you great Rome shall suck
Reviving blood, and that great men shall press
For tinctures, stains, relics and cognizance” (I, II, 85-89)
Caesar is amazed by this much more flattering interpretation of the dream and brushes off Calpurnia’s worries by going to the Senate House after all.
People are often using flattery to get what they want, even if it is deceitful. When a person begins pointing out another’s positive qualities, that person becomes gullible and bound to fall into that person’s trap. You might believe that the saying flattery will get you nowhere is false because Cassius and Decius used it and it worked perfectly for them, that may be true, but in the end it will always result in destruction. In the end, everyone died, whether or not they got what they wanted. Flattery will get you nowhere.