Libertatem Magazine

Role of Indian Penal Code in an Assassination : An Analysis of William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar

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The Indian Penal Code consists of 511 sections divided into twenty-three chapters according to its necessity. The Indian penal code starts with an introduction, explanations, punishments, and a vast range of crimes. The highest punishment awarded under the IPC is Capital Punishment or Death Sentence, which is nothing but hanging a person till his death. Similarly, the play, Julius Caesar written by William Shakespeare, portrayed that the Romans had no laws established for punishing people for conspiracies which led to the assassination of the protagonist Julius Caesar but in the current era it would have been punishable under Section 120B and Section 302 of Indian Penal Code. In the play greed for power and revenge is at its utmost level in the senate, hence to remove and strip Caesar of his powers and liberties a conspiracy is hatched in which members of the Senate decide Caesar has to be killed. This article lays emphasis on the state of law enforcement mechanism and order prevailing in the play.  


Indian Penal Code, Capital Punishment, Greed, power, Law enforcement mechanism


Offenses such as assassination and conspiracy are punishable to a certain extent and Under section 120B of the Indian Penal Code, the accused would be punished for his/her crimes for hatching and being part of a conspiracy. Indian Penal code provides a uniform law system in India and the punishment for the same. Indian Penal code creates a sense of safe environment for all the citizens of India, the various sections were only added to protect all the citizens which prescribe all the punishment criteria for the crimes.  

Assassination refers to the killing of a prominent individual in society generally it is planned in a sudden or secretive manner, for political reasons. In the play Julius Caesar is a great military leader who has strategically maneuvered all the battles for the Roman empire and has got success, to acknowledge all his victories in the battle he is offered the crown three times but rejects the latter. The growing popularity of Caesar causes greed for power among his fellow members of the Roman senate. To curb and strip Caesar, a group of conspirators led by Brutus and Cassius decided to assassinate Caesar. Caesar is stabbed twenty-three times and the last blow was given by Brutus, in which the most famous line of the play “Et Tu, Brute—Then fall, Caesar!” drew the attention of readers to the deceit and betrayal of trust by Brutus.

Brutus and Cassius justify the assassination in the eyes of people by making them believe Caesar wanted to turn the roman republic into an empire, Mark Antony a trusted general in the Roman army, who was not in Rome at the time of the assassination wanted to set the record in which he stated the will of Julius Caesar, in which Caesar, had given all his individual property to the people of the republic and further about the sacrifices made by Caesar for the republic. The citizens of the Roman republic wanted all the conspirators to be punished for their heinous acts and crimes which they had committed. 

To avenge the assassination of Caesar, Mark Antony and Octavius gather an army to wage a war against Brutus and Cassius in the end of the play both the leader of conspirators commit suicide and ultimately pay for their heinous sins. If there was a proper laws mechanism established in which the conspirators could be punished and brought to justice, such as the section 120 B and section 302 of Indian Penal Code,1860 then circumstances of war would not have arisen and would instill a sense of disciple that their actions would have consequences and repercussions. To recall the Indian case of Kehar Singh & Ors vs State (Delhi Admn.) on 3 August 1988 also known as the Indira Gandhi assassination case in which the former Prime Minister of India was shot down by her trusted Bodyguards this created tension and panic in the nation, all the accused were charged with 120 B and section 302 of Indian Penal Code,1860 and were brought to tension. This kind of law mechanism would have benefitted the Romans if they would have made laws and decided accordingly to punish Brutus and Cassius along with the group of other conspirators.

Similarly, another Indian Case law State V. Nalini & Ors. Also, in which Rajiv Gandhi who was giving a speech for his election campaign in Tamil Nadu was assassinated by the rebellious faction LTE, which also showcased the importance of the Indian Penal Code,1860.

The acts of the conspirators in the play also showcased the rebellious faction against Julius Caesar. The main aim of this assassination from a layman’s point of view is the greed for power or hoarding important positions for their personnel gains and development. It is only since the roman republic failed to have any law for punishing such acts as conspiracy, assassination. In the current scenario, these acts would have been punishable under section 120B of the Indian Penal Code which deals with punishing individuals involved in a conspiracy, and section 302 of the Indian Penal Code which deals with giving capital punishment.


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