In William Shakespeare's play, Julius Caesar, a group of men conspire to assassinate Caesar; a man they feel will destroy the Roman Empire if he is given such power. They feel he is not worthy of being an emperor. They are worried about the corruptive abuse of so much power. These men are also driven by the desire of having more power. William Gaddis said, "Power does not corrupt people; people corrupt power."(Gaddis, William). Qtd. In Sweeney, K. Power Statements. Lecture Handout, English I. Lawrenceville: Notre Dame High School, 6 May 2002. This is clear in Julius Caesar. The desire and fear of power corrupt every character. The conspirators fear they will lose their free will and live under a tyrant. They also have the desire to increase their own power. Brutus, a close friend of Caesar, chooses to kill Caesar to prevent the fall of the Empire. He believes it is only for the good of the country and that he knows Caesar will become corrupted by power but ambition and praise also turn around his head. Caesar proves his conspirators right by becoming the tyrant they feared. Power and corruption play a big role in this story.
As Brutus struggled with the decision of whether or not to join Cassius and kill his friend Caesar, he made a statement about Caesar's character. "But tis a common proof. That lowliness is young ambition's ladder, Whereto the climber-upward turns his face; But when he once attains the upmost round. He then unto the ladder turns his back; Looks in the clouds, scorning the base degrees: By which he did ascend (II, I, 22-27). In this statement, he means that he believes if Caesar climbs the ladder to power, he will certainly rule as a dictator disregarding the common people as insignificant. As much as Brutus might truly believe this to be true about his friend, Brutus also gets caught up in the lure of power. He becomes easily swayed when Cassius flatters Brutus in his effort to convince Brutus to turn on his friend, Caesar.