Julius Caesar, historically and theatrically, was a man of great power and pride. He earned his position as a General, and many may argue even as the “Emperor” of Rome through his many triumphs over surrounding areas and leaders. He should have lived a long and prosperous life, but sadly, he didn’t. He was brutally murdered for allegedly possessing the characteristic of ‘hubris’.
The dictionary definition of hubris is: excessive pride or self-confidence; arrogance. So basically, hubris in modern terms is “having a big head” and “being full of yourself”. The word hubris actually comes from the Greek word hybris which means: exaggerated self-pride. In Ancient Greek mythology, hubris was a crime, and heroes were punished by the gods for having a ‘God-like arrogance’. But the question on everyone’s mind is, Did Caesar really posses hubris? Obviously, there are two sides to every story, so I guess it’s really a matter of finding which opinion is more realistic than the other.
Cassius seems to believe that Caesar does posses hubris. At least, he seems to convince Brutus that he does. But why?
From my perspective, Caesar didn’t asked to be called a God. Saying that Caesar possesses hubris is a complete generalization, as people are misguided by the fact that Caesar was asked to be Emperor, but they seem to neglect the fact that Caesar never asked to be Emperor, and refused the crown THREE TIMES! If that’s not being humble, then I don’t know what is!
I think Antony was one of the only influential people left who still loved Caesar. It is hilarious, however, to see the people’s reaction to the speeches that Brutus and Antony present to the crowd. The honestly can’t seem to make up their mind. It isn’t a crime to change your mind, but I’ve never heard of someone so indecisive about… well… anything! One minute that believe that Caesar was too powerful and needed to be stopped, and the next, Brutus was a cold-hearted killer for murdering their beloved Caesar!
So does Caesar posses hubris or not? In my personal opinion, he really doesn’t. He never asked to be made Emperor, and he made no move at accepting the offer, so why was he so brutally murdered for being humbled? I think it was the idea of hubris itself that led Caesar to his great demise. Cassius just couldn’t stand Caesar being more powerful than him, even though he so obviously was. So Cassius uses a personality trait that Caesar doesn’t have to turn one of his closes friends against him. Good job Cassius.
But in all seriousness, I believe that hubris itself has vast importance in this play, but many people believe that its was possessed by the wrong person. It was Cassius, NOT Caesar who possessed hubris, as he was power-hungry, and so sure of his plan. In conclusion, a good man died for an unjustified reason. Good job society.