Why did Flavius and Marullus want the commoners to disperse?


Quick Answer

In Shakespeare's play "Julius Caesar," Flavius and Marullus order the commoners to disperse because the two do not agree with the commoners' decision to forgo their work so they can see Caesar. Flavius and Marullus believe that Caesar has too much support, with the crowd of commoners reflecting that support.

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Full Answer

Flavius and Marullus are two tribunes of the Roman Republic who appear in the opening scene of the play. They come across a group of laborers who are waiting to see the victory parade celebrating Caesar's recent defeat of Pompey and takeover of Rome. Flavius and Marullus fear that Caesar is about to begin transforming Rome from a republic to an empire with Caesar as emperor. The two order the laborers to disperse as they see no suitable reason for the commoners to have left their work.

The actions of the two tribunes also represent the feelings of other Roman officials who believe that Caesar has already gained too much support and are seeking to limit the soon-to-be emperor's power. The conflict between the two tribunes and the crowd foreshadows the conflict between Caesar and the Roman officials later on in the play. The tribunes try to limit the power of Caesar by dispersing the crowd, but find that Caesar's influence and support is too widespread. The tribunes are eventually killed as they try to remove the garments and crowns with which the crowd has decorated the statues of Caesar. This speaks to the dire consequences of opposing Caesar's power in Rome.

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