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Julius Caesar

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Friendly Eyes

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At one point in Act I, Brutus tells Cassius,

...for the eye sees not itself
But by reflection, by some other things. (1.2.54-55)

Cassius then responds,

And since you know you cannot see yourself
So well as by reflection, I, your glass. (1.2.69-70)

This is followed in Act IV by Brutus telling Cassius, "I do not like your faults," (4.3.92) and Cassius responds with "A friendly eye could never see such faults." (4.3.93)

What literary device is best exemplified in Cassius' last comment, and what change in meaning takes place from act to act?

A

Paradox; the first set of quotes from Act I indicate a friendly relationship, one of trust and admiration. Cassius sees an opportunity to get closer to Brutus for his own purposes and creates a sense of comradery between them by telling him all of the good qualities he sees in Brutus. However, the tone of the lines, although still similar in using the eye motif, change significantly by Act IV. Cassius realizes that Brutus is true to his word and sees characteristics of Cassius that he cannot (or refuses to) see within himself.

B

Irony; the first set of quotes from Act I indicate an unlikely relationship, one of deceit and manipulation. Cassius sees an opportunity to get closer to Brutus for his own purposes and attempts to establish an alliance with Brutus. However, by Act IV, Cassius realizes that Brutus has one too many faults and regrets his decision to include him in the conspiracy.

C

Personification; the brief conversation between Cassius and Brutus in Act I reflects the two characters' trust in one another. Towards the end of the play, they both realize how fortune was on their side and are truly beholden to have gone through the conspiracy together.

D

Paradox; Brutus displays his sly and cunning character by explaining to Cassius that he will be truthful in what he sees in Cassius; he implies that Cassius is an honorable man and one he would like to join forces with to eliminate Caesar from Rome. However, these feelings of Brutus are changed drastically. He realizes that Cassius is not the perfect partner for him and can no longer trust his motives.

E

Irony; Because Brutus seems naïve and easily swayed, Cassius tries to sell Brutus on killing Caesar. He knows he can manipulate Brutus by bringing in the good of Rome; for this reason, Cassius tells Brutus that he sees a man (in Brutus), who would do whatever it takes to save the Rome he loves. As the acts progress, Cassius realizes his mistake in trusting Brutus; Cassius begins to see the conniving character who would willingly betray him to benefit himself. Cassius realizes the numerous faults of Brutus.