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Cinna in Julius Caesar

Instructor: Bryan Cowing

Bryan is a freelance writer who specializes in literature. He has worked as an English instructor, editor and writer for the past 10 years.

It can be a headache to keep all the characters in William Shakespeare's 'Julius Caesar' straight. This can get even more difficult when two characters share the same name. In this lesson we will take a look at the more prominent Cinna in the play as well as a quick glance at the man who paid for Cinna's crime.

Cinna's Job

Cinna is one of the conspirators against Julius Caesar. The first time we meet him is in Act 1, Scene 3 of Shakespeare's play. Cassius and Casca are hanging out and chatting when they hear someone walking up to the them. Cassius recognizes Cinna's swagger walk and says ''Tis Cinna. I do know him by his gait.''

The three men then talk about the plot against Caesar, with Cinna asking Cassius to try to convince Brutus to join in the conspiracy. Cassius tells Cinna not to worry and then asks him to plant some fake notes in Brutus's chair, on his window and on a statue of his relative. The notes contain a message for Brutus, convincing him that he is too good to walk in Caesar's shadow and that Caesar is dangerous for Rome. Cinna agrees to deposit these notes and heads off.

Cinna and Cicero

Cinna is mentioned a few more times throughout the play. For example, when the conspirators are standing around plotting, Cinna comments that they should try to recruit Cicero for their cause. It sounds like Cinna wants everyone on his side that he can get. Eventually, the men decide to leave Cicero out, and Cinna does not object. Cinna also pops up when Artimedorus writes a letter warning Caesar about the conspiracy. Caesar is advised to keep an eye on Cinna.

Cinna's Comments

Cinna's most dramatic lines in the play come when and the men kill Caesar. The conspirators throw Caesar for a loop when they beg him to free a relative they know. Caesar says that he cannot do this and that the law is the law. Cinna pleads ''O Caesar.'' Caesar still denies the request. Immediately, the conspirators stab and kill Caesar.

When Caesar falls, Cinna says ''Liberty! Freedom! Tyranny is dead! Run hence, proclaim, cry it about the streets.'' If this comment is genuine, Cinna seems to truly care about liberty and freedom. If this is the case, his reason for being involved in the assassination is one of the most noble. He wants to end Caesar's tyranny and promote liberty.

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