- Jun 2017
CINNA. Truly, my name is Cinna. FIRST CITIZEN. Tear him to pieces! he’s a conspirator. CINNA. I am Cinna the poet, I am Cinna the poet. FOURTH CITIZEN. Tear him for his bad verses, tear him for his bad verses. CINNA. I am not Cinna the conspirator. FOURTH CITIZEN. It is no matter, his name’s Cinna; pluck but his name out of his heart, and turn him going. THIRD CITIZEN. Tear him, tear him! Come; brands, ho! firebrands. To Brutus’, to Cassius’; burn all. Some to Decius’ house, and some to Casca’s, some to Ligarius’: away, go!
While not the most profound scene, the misunderstanding of Cinna's true nature adds humour to the play, and highlights the aftermath of Caesar's death.
Mark Antony's speech at the Senate House ignited a passionate and bloodthirsty vengeance within the Plebeians. This vengeance is so intense that even when Cinna explains that he is a poet, the citizens choose to disregard the fact and instead "tear him for his bad verses!"
The passion of the people is also a representation of Mark Antony's rhetoric, which is plausible to also be called manipulation. He appeals to the emotions and the values of society to catalyse his own ascension. This leaves the conspirators to flee for their safety in fear of being tortured by the 'firebrands'.
While the impetus of the public's actions are fairly just, it can be argued that their excessive use of brutality, including attacking innocent citizens, removes some of the legitimacy behind their campaign.
Liberty! Freedom! Tyranny is dead!— Run hence, proclaim, cry it about the streets.
Cinna speaks on behalf of all the conspirators in this exclamation: "Liberty! Freedom! Tyranny is dead!" The forcefulness of his cries reveal the true emotions towards Caesar's reign. In particular, the conspirators consider him a self-centred tyrant. This opinion is justified with two reasons:
1.The tribunes believe that centralising all authority to one man is undemocratic and is detrimental to the Roman Republic;
2.They envy Caesar's might and fear potentially losing their power to the Empire.
The rejoice of the conspirators does not align to the panic and grief experienced by the general society and Mark Antony. This juxtaposition suggests that Caesar's assassination is more destructive than it is justified.
In fact, the 'liberty' and 'freedom' that is promised does not manifest under the conspirators' rule.