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Home » » Bring out the dramatic significance of the quarrel scene in Julius Caesar

The quarrel scene is one of the most dramatic and interesting scenes in the play, Julius Caesar. It is an important scene both as regards plot development and as regards character-revelation. It is the first place, the contrast between Brutus and Cassius, which is an important aspect of the character-portrayal in this play. This scene is the increased emphasis on Brutus’s idealism and his desire for moral perfection and an increased emphasis on Cassius’s practical sense and his realism.

It does not mean that Brutus again rises in our estimation in this scene. In fact, we feel a little disappointed to find that Brutus has no sense of the realities of life. Furthermore, we find in his character a strange kind of dualism. In deciding to join the conspiracy against Caesar, Brutus had pushed the claims of friendship into the background for the sake of his ideals. It was because of his republicanism and his love of liberty that he had sacrificed his friendship for Caesar. But now Brutus says that he is not prepared to collect any money from the poor peasants even though he needs the money badly to pay his soldiers. If Brutus could murder his best friend for the sake of people’s rights and liberties, why should he hesitates to collect money. This attitude of Brutus has been described by a critic as moral heroism and also as an act of colossal stupidity. 

Then we find another contradiction in Brutus too. He thinks himself to be a Stoic philosopher. He later tells Cassius that he has been able to endure the death of Portia only because of his Stoic philosophy. And yet in this particular scene Brutus shows himself to be anything but a Stoic philosopher. Here he loses his temper completely and speaks to Cassius in the harshest terms possible. He refers to Cassius as a sight man and he also describes Cassius as a madman. Now the philosopher finds it impossible to endure Cassius’s ill-temper and his tantrums. 

This scene throws a good deal of light on the character of Cassius too. At first in this scene Cassius appears to be ill-tempered and rash. He starts with a grievance against Brutus. Then he goes on becoming more and more angry as Brutus shows no signs of regret or even toleration. Then he starts to utter threats to Brutus. Here we find that Cassius has a sentimental side to his character. This scene contributes to the development of the plot also. Cassius has Previously also been playing a subordinate role in deciding matters of policy and strategy. Almost at every step Brutus had over-ruled Cassius but now Cassius becomes soft like wax in Brutus’s hands. 

However, the quarrel scenedramatically important in other ways too. In the course of the quarrel between the two men, several feelings find expression. Disgust, anger, grief, affection, and tenderness are some of the feelings. However, the feeling which ultimately dominates the whole scene is that of affection because both men feel sorry over what has happened and both now draw even closer towards each other than they had been before. From another point of view, the quarrel scene is important because it prepares us for the coming defeat of the republicans.


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