Caesar Study Essay (From High School English Class)
Daniel J. Durand
In my essay, I will answer question eleven on the list of study questions, which asked if I personally agree that assassination is never justified, and if not, under what circumstances would it be justified. Question eleven also asks if there are any parallels to my example in real life today.
I do not agree with the other commentaries of Caesar. To say that anything is never justified is either the product of too much college or a persistent naiveté. The real world, where everything is a gray area and the good-versus-evil black-and-white philosophy is nothing more than a Hollywood ploy to prevent angry parents from suing the movie industry, has no such hang-ups against doing things that are ethically questionable. While I do not think that Caesar’s assassination was completely sanctioned, to say that something tried once with mixed results is never required is asking for a death sentence.
Here’s the deal with Caesar; He was trying to be king in a society that had had no kings for centuries, and the people wanted it. The other people in power, the “educated” ones who realized that putting one guy in charge might be a bad idea, decided it would be in the peoples “best interest” to kill the new king-to-be before he got his crown. The shocking part? They’re all dead now.
So now the question is who was right. So who was right? Did Caesar make a bad king after all? No, he’s dead, we don’t have an answer. Did his murderers succeed? No, they’re dead, Rome was imperialized, we don’t have an answer. So who was right? Depends on your point of view.
And here is a really good example of point of view. There are these people in the world, I think they call themselves Muslims. They’re okay people, they just have as part of their doctrine that they have to kill or convert every infidel (That’s what they call everyone who isn’t a Muslim. Nice name isn’t it? It means inferior. I’m just glowing.) in order to get to heaven, where the men are waited upon by all the women of the universe in a massive orgy. Delightful. And these people, who want to kill us Americans, the people who believe in religious freedom, say they’re doing the right thing.
Here’s an even better one, an example that more fits the assassination topic: Hitler. There was a recorded incident involving a sniper at one of Hitler’s Nazi rallies during the 1930s. The sniper missed and killed Hitler’s advisor instead, subsequently being seen and killed by security. What if he didn’t miss? Would there have been a World War Two? Or a holocaust? Maybe, maybe not. But assassinations are never justified.
Now we all know Hitler was an evil, evil man. Someone should have told the German people who voted him into office; the people who wanted Hitler to lead the country as dictator. Did you know that towards the end of the war some of his generals plotted on killing him after deciding he was insane? They failed, but now Hitler and Caesar seem like they were cut from the same cloth, don’t they?
So now we have Caesar as a bad character because we’ve likened him to Hitler. But what about, say, Jesus? The people wanted him in charge too, didn’t they? Jesus wasn’t a politician, but the people loved him. They listened to every word he said because they thought he was great. Then you had the people who disagreed. I think they ended up hanging him up on a cross, a common execution method for the time. So, in other words, they assassinated Jesus. Was it justified? Could Jesus have saved the world from evil? Or was he a biblical poser? Point of view. In this case, point of view based on what bible you read.
Lets try one with no religion in it now. The American Revolution. The colonies were sick of taxes, being loyal citizens of the British Commonwealth. Tax, tax, tax. It was too much for the simple farmer economy the nation had at the time, so they rebelled. But, being loyal to England, wouldn’t it have been their responsibility to pay oppressive taxes for a while? Britain needed the money to pay for the aftermath of the French and Indian War, fought on American soil. Who was right? If someone had killed Washington, would Britain have won? Or vice-versa if someone killed the British king?
Politics is the best example of point of view. Rule of the majority, politicians represent the people, every vote counts, right? That’s one way of looking at it. Democrats or Republicans? Some say one is better than the other, others say one is better than nothing, nothing says nothing.
So in this world of ours, this very “real” world of ours, when you are the person looking through the sniper scope, getting your wood and nails ready, or pulling out the dagger you hid in your cloak, think. Is the target you’re about to shoot, crucify, or stab good, bad, or undecided? Is what you are doing justified? It depends. Who’s asking?
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