Julius Caesar: the Immortality Plot

Drawing of bust of Julius Caesar

By fmarie0112

Julius Caesar was a proud, strong and intelligent man. Some might ask, what could he possibly gain by orchestrating his own death? To this question the simple answer is immortality. Just as any great leader would, Caesar wanted to leave a legacy; he wanted to be remembered once he was gone. Caesar had “temporal lobe epilepsy, a progressive disorder resulting in a loss of mental and physical control (including bowel control)” (Hodder). This disorder would have eventually killed Caesar, and having his people witness his slow deterioration would have tarnished the strong self-image he worked so hard to build for himself. Would William Shakespeare have still written a play about him if he was a once undefeated dictator dying slowly of an incurable disease, rather than a powerful conqueror betrayed by his peers? He probably wouldn’t have. Caesar orchestrating a plan to die at the hands of the conspirators made him immortal through the unforgettable legacy he left behind. While this would justify Caesars desire to plan his own assassination, it does not prove that he took the necessary steps to create the plan. Although there are no firsthand accounts indicating that Caesar took part in planning his death, it can be seen through the actions during and leading up to the event that Caesar perfectly set the stage. As previously mentioned, Caesar was an inelegant man, he had to of known about “the impending plot – there have been persistent rumors of it throughout the city. And yet he dismisses his bodyguard and walks alone” (Bursztajn). Rumors had been spreading about the city, it is doubtful that Caesar had no idea that the assassination would be happening. Even knowing that he had men within his city that wanted him dead, he chose to leave his bodyguards outside. Had Caesar not wanted to die, he would have increased the presence of his guards after becoming aware of the threat. Lastly, Caesar changes his will just six months prior to having been killed and this provided insight to his political agenda. By leaving the guards at the door, Caesar created the perfect opportunity for the conspirators to kill him, which would “ensure that his will is honored, and that Octavian will succeed him. By tricking the conspirators onto the wrong side of the law, Caesar ensures that they cannot themselves seize power and that his dynasty will survive” (Bursztajn). In doing this Caesar has become not only immortal through his memory, but also physically through the dynasty he has created. The conspirators, such as Brutus, are the primary people that would have tried to seize power once Caesar had passed. Now that they have killed Caesar, they have become enemies of the state and the people are no longer willing to follow them. Therefor Caesar’s wish for his nephew to rule after him would be granted, seeing as there would no longer be a struggle for power.

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