What Is Ironic About the Death of Cassius?

In William Shakespeare's play, "The Tragedy of Julius Caesar," the death of Caius Cassius is an example of situational irony. Cassius is killed with the same sword that he used to kill Caesar, as Cassius points out with his dying words. When he believed his troops had lost to Antony, Cassius asked his servant to kill him, but the battle was lost only upon hearing of Cassius' death.

Cassius, a Roman general and longtime acquaintance of Caesar, was the primary instigator of the conspiracy to remove Caesar from power. He convinced Marcus Brutus to join in the coup. On the Ides of March, the clandestine group stabs Caesar to death. Cassius dies in the third scene of Act 5 with the words, "Caesar, thou art revenged, / Even with the sword that killed thee."

Another example of situational irony in Cassius' death is found in the motivation for requesting that his servant take his life. Cassius was distraught at the assumed loss of the troops in battle, interpreting symbols and signs incorrectly. Instead of bearing news of defeat, the unknown riders actually were bringing news of Brutus' victory over Octavius and bearing a wreath of victory from Brutus to Cassius.