The following version of
The Tragedy of Julius Caesar
is based on the text in the authoritative 1914 Oxford Edition of
Shakespeare's works, edited by W. J. Craig. The Craig text numbers
the lines, including those with stage directions such as "Enter"
Please note that the character list (dramatis personae) below
includes descriptions and comments that did not appear in the
original manuscript of the play or in the Oxford edition.
Julius Caesar (Gaius Julius Caesar):
Triumphant general and political leader of Rome. Although he is
highly competent and multi-talented, he is also condescending and
arrogant. In his conversation, he frequently uses the third-person
"Caesar" instead of the first-person "I" to refer to himself and
also sometimes substitutes the kingly "we" for "I." He
depicts himself as a man of unshakable resolve, but he proudly and
recklessly ignores warnings about his safety. Rumors abound that
he plans to be crowned king. Historically, evidence to support the
view that Caesar sought elevation to a throne is inconclusive.
Brutus (Marcus Junius Brutus the
Younger): Roman senator and praetor who helps plan and
carry out Caesar's assassination. Historically, Marcus Junius
Brutus (84-42 BC) enjoyed a reputation in his day among Roman
republicans as a noble and fair-minded statesman. However, his
opponents—notably supporters of Caesar—regarded him as a traitor.
First, Brutus sided with Pompey the Great against Caesar when the
Roman Civil War started in 49 BC. After Caesar defeated Pompey at
Pharsalus, Greece, in 48 B.C., he pardoned Brutus and appointed
him governor of Cisalpine Gaul in 46 BC. and a praetor of Rome in
44 BC. But Brutus turned against Caesar a second time, helping to
lead the conspiracy that led to Caesar’s assassination in 44 BC.
Brutus believed the action was necessary to prevent Caesar from
becoming dictator-for-life, meaning that all power would reside in
Caesar and not in the delegates representing the people. In
Shakespeare’s play, Brutus’s nobility and idealism gain the
audience’s sympathy. But in the ancient Roman world of power
politics, characterized by perfidy and pragmatism, it is his
virtues that doom him. His downfall and death are the real tragedy
of the play, not the death of Caesar.
Mark Antony (Marcus Antonius):
A member of the ruling triumvirate after the assassination of
Julius Caesar. Marcus is also known as Mark Antony, or simply
Antony. He is cunning and pragmatic, a thoroughgoing politician
who can wield words just as effectively as he wields weapons.
Antony is a main character in another Shakespeare play, Antony and
Cassius (Gaius Cassius Longinus):
Clever and manipulative senator who persuades Brutus to join the
assassination conspiracy. Unlike Brutus, Cassius is no idealist;
his primary motivation for conspiring against Caesar appears to be
jealousy. Though small-minded and mean-spirited early in the play,
he later displays courage and a modicum of honor on the field of
Portia: Brutus's wife.
Octavius Caesar (birth name:
Gaius Octavius): Grandnephew of Julius Caesar and a
member of the ruling triumvirate after the assassination of Julius
Caesar. In his will, Julius Caesar made Octavius his
adopted son and heir. Octavius, also identified in history books
as Octavian, later became emperor of Rome as Augustus Caesar.
Lepidus (Marcus Aemilius Lepidus):
Member of the ruling triumvirate after the assassination of Julius
Caesar. Because he is weak, he is easily pushed aside.
Cicero, Publius, and Popilius
Lena: Roman senators. Cicero, a supporter of republican
government, is killed by the supporters of Caesar in the aftermath
of Caesar's assassination. However, Cicero did not take part in
planning or carrying out the assassination.
Casca (Publius Servilius Casca):
One of the leading conspirators against Caesar. According to the
Greek biographer Plutarch (AD 46?-120?), Casca was the first of
the conspirators to stab Caesar, plunging a dagger into his back.
Trebonius, Ligarius, Decius
Brutus, Metellus Cimber, Lucius Cornelius Cinna: Citizens
who join Cassius and Brutus as conspirators. (Note: At least 59
conspirators participated in the actual assassination of Caesar in
Publius Cimber: Exiled
brother of Metullus Cimber. Publius is spoken of, but does not
appear in, the play.
Flavius and Marullus:
Tribunes suspicious of Julius Caesar. They chase commoners away
when Caesar parades triumphantly through Rome in the first act of
the play. A tribune was an elected official charged with
protecting the rights of ordinary citizens.
Artemidorus: Teacher of
rhetoric who attempts to warn Caesar that Brutus, Cassius, and
others have turned against him.
Soothsayer: Seer who warns
Caesar to beware of the ides of March (March 15). Shakespeare does
not name the soothsayer. However, in ancient texts by Plutarch and
Suetonius (AD 75-150), the soothsayer is identified as an
astrologer named Spurinna.
Cinna (Gaius Helvius Cinna):
A poet who was not related to Cinna the conspirator. However,
because Roman citizens mistook him for Cinna the conspirator, they
Lucilius, Titinius, Messala,
Young Cato, Volumnius: Friends of Brutus and Cassius.
Acquaintance of Cassius who accepted bribes. Cassius speaks of
him, but Pella does not appear in the play.
Servants of Brutus:
Varro, Clitus, Claudius, Strato, Lucius, Dardanius.
Servant of Cassius:
Senators, citizens, commoners, soldiers, guards, attendants,
Text of the Tragedy of Julius Caesar
Notes and definitions of
archaic or difficult words, as well as explanations of difficult
passages, appear in boldfaced brackets after the words and
Annotations by Michael
Act 1, Scene 1: Rome. A street.
Act 1, Scene 2: Rome. A public
Act 1, Scene 3: Rome. A street.
Act 2, Scene 1: Rome. Orchard of
Act 2, Scene 2: Rome. Caesar's
Act 2, Scene 3: Rome. A street near
Act 2, Scene 4: Before the house of
Brutus on another part of the same street.
Act 3, Scene 1: Rome. Before the
Capitol; the senate sitting above.
Act 3, Scene 2: Rome. The Forum.
Act 3, Scene 3: Rome. A street.
Act 4, Scene 1: Rome. A room in
Act 4, Scene 2: Camp near Sardis.
Before the tent of Brutus.
Act 4, Scene 3: Within the tent of
Act 5, Scene 1: The plains of
Act 5, Scene 2: The field of battle
on the plains of Philippi.
Act 5, Scene 3: Another part of the
Act 5, Scene 4: Another part of the
Act 5, Scene 5: Another part of the
Act 1, Scene 1
Rome. A Street.
Enter FLAVIUS, MARULLUS, and certain Commoners.
FLAVIUS: Hence! home, you idle creatures, get you
Is this a holiday? What! know you not,
Being mechanical [being laborers
or craftsmen; using hand tools], you ought not
Upon a labouring day without the sign
Of your profession? Speak, what trade art thou?
FIRST COMMONER: Why, sir, a carpenter.
MARULLUS: Where is thy leather apron, and thy
What dost thou with thy best apparel on?
[What . . . on?: Why are you
wearing your best clothes?]
You, sir, what trade are you?
SECOND COMMONER: Truly, sir, in respect of a fine workman, I
am but, as you would say, a cobbler [maker of footwear].
MARULLUS: But what trade art thou? Answer me
SECOND COMMONER: A trade, sir, that, I hope, I may use with
a safe conscience; which is, indeed, sir, a mender of bad
[A trade . . . soles: The second
commoner is having a little fun by using a play on words (pun).
To the listener "mender of bad soles" can be taken as "mender of
MARULLUS: What trade, thou knave? thou naughty knave, what
SECOND COMMONER: Nay, I beseech you, sir, be not out [angry] with me: yet, if you
be out, sir, I can mend you.
MARULLUS: What meanest thou by that? Mend me, thou saucy
SECOND COMMONER: Why, sir, cobble [mend; repair] you.
FLAVIUS: Thou art a cobbler, art thou?
SECOND COMMONER: Truly, sir, all that I live by is with the
awl: I meddle with no tradesman’s matters, nor women’s matters,
but with awl. I am, indeed, sir, a surgeon to old shoes; when they
are in great danger, I recover them. As proper men as ever trod
upon neat’s leather have gone upon my handiwork.
[Truly . . . but with awl: An awl
is a hand tool resembling an icepick. Cobblers use awls to make
holes in leather. Here, the second commoner uses awl with all for comic effect.]
FLAVIUS: But wherefore [why]
art not in thy shop to-day?
Why dost thou lead these men about the streets?
SECOND COMMONER: Truly, sir, to wear out their shoes, to get
myself into more work. But, indeed, sir, we make holiday to see
Caesar and to rejoice in his triumph.
MARULLUS: Wherefore [why]
rejoice? What conquest brings he home?
What tributaries [captured
enemies] follow him to Rome
To grace in captive bonds his chariot wheels?
You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless
O you hard hearts, you cruel men of Rome,
Knew you not Pompey? Many a time and oft
Have you climb’d up to walls and battlements,
[battlement: Topmost part of a
walled fortress. It resembles a row of teeth with wide gaps
between each tooth.]
To towers and windows, yea, to chimney-tops,
Your infants in your arms, and there have sat
The livelong day, with patient expectation,
To see great Pompey pass the streets of Rome:
And when you saw his chariot but appear,
Have you not made a universal shout,
That Tiber [the river flowing
through Rome] trembled underneath her
To hear the replication of your sounds
Made in her concave shores?
And do you now put on your best attire?
And do you now cull out [declare]
And do you now strew flowers in his way,
That comes in triumph over Pompey’s blood?
Run to your houses, fall upon your knees,
Pray to the gods to intermit [prevent;
halt] the plague
That needs must light on this ingratitude.
FLAVIUS: Go, go, good countrymen, and, for this
Assemble all the poor men of your sort;
Draw them to Tiber banks, and weep your tears
Into the channel, till the lowest stream
Do kiss the most exalted shores of all. [Exeunt all the
[till . . . shores of all: Till
the lowest stretches of the river run over their banks]
See whe’r [wherever]
their basest metal be not mov’d;
They vanish tongue-tied in their guiltiness.
[See . . . guiltiness: Observe,
Marullus, that my scolding made even the most hard-hearted of
those commoners feel ashamed and remorseful. They go away
speechless and guilt-ridden.]
Go you down that way towards the Capitol;
Capitoline Hill, one of the seven hills of Rome and the most
important religious, political, and commercial gathering place
in the ancient city. It symbolized ancient Rome's view of itself
as the "caput mundi," or capital of the world.]
This way will I. Disrobe the images
If you do find them deck’d with ceremonies.
[Disrobe . . . ceremonies: If you
see any statues draped with festoons or other adornments to
honor Caesar, remove the decorations.]
MARULLUS: May we do so?
You know it is the feast of Lupercal.
FLAVIUS: It is no matter; let no images
Be hung with Caesar’s trophies. I’ll about [go around]
And drive away the vulgar [common
folk] from the streets:
So do you too where you perceive them thick.
These growing feathers pluck’d from Caear’s wing
Will make him fly an ordinary pitch,
Who else would soar above the view of men
And keep us all in servile fearfulness.
[These growing . . . fearfulness:
Caesar's popularity is like a bird soaring into the heavens. But
if his feathers are plucked from his wings, he will fly closer
to earth. Who else but Caesar would try to fly far above the
view of ordinary men while making them fearful of his actions
and subservient to his will?]
Act 1, Scene 2
Rome. A public place.
Enter, in procession, with music, CAESAR; ANTONY, for the course;
CALPURNIA, PORTIA, DECIUS, CICERO, BRUTUS, CASSIUS, and CASCA; a
great crowd following, among them a Soothsayer.
CASCA: Peace, ho! Caesar speaks. [Music
CALPURNIA: Here, my lord.
CAESAR: Stand you directly in Antonius’ [Antony's]
When he doth run his course.
ANTONY: Caesar, my lord.
CAESAR: Forget not, in your speed,
To touch Calpurnia; for our elders say,
The barren, touched in this holy chase,
Shake off their sterile curse.
[The barren: Women unable to have
ANTONY: I shall remember:
When Caesar says ‘Do this,’ it is perform’d.
CAESAR: Set on; and leave no ceremony out.
[Set on . . . out: Go to it,
then, and don't leave out any of the rituals that are part of
the traditional ceremony.]
CAESAR: Ha! Who calls?
CASCA: Bid every noise be still: peace yet again!
CAESAR: Who is it in the press [people pressing together; crowd] that calls on
I hear a tongue, shriller than all the music,
Cry ‘Caesar.’ Speak; Caesar is turn’d to hear.
SOOTHSAYER: Beware the ides of March.
CAESAR: What man is that?
BRUTUS: A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of
CAESAR: Set him before me; let me see his
CASSIUS: Fellow, come from the throng; look upon
CAESAR: What sayst thou to me now? Speak once
SOOTHSAYER: Beware the ides of March.
CAESAR: He is a dreamer; let us leave him: pass.
[Sennet. Exeunt all but BRUTUS and
CASSIUS: Will you go see the order of the course [race]?
BRUTUS: Not I.
CASSIUS: I pray you, do.
BRUTUS: I am not gamesome: I do lack some
Of that quick spirit that is in Antony.
Let me not hinder, Cassius, your desires;
I’ll leave you.
CASSIUS: Brutus, I do observe you now of
I have not from your eyes that gentleness
And show of love as I was wont to have:
You bear too stubborn and too strange a hand
Over your friend that loves you.
[Brutus, I do . . . loves you:
Brutus, I have been keeping an eye on you lately. I have noticed
that you do not seem to show the love and cordiality toward me
that you once did. You are stubbornly distant toward a friend
who values your companionship.]
Be not deceiv’d: if I have veil’d my look,
I turn the trouble of my countenance
Merely upon myself. Vexed I am
Of late with passions of some difference,
[with passions . . .
difference: With conflicting ideas and emotions]
Conceptions only proper to myself,
Which give some soil [defect]
perhaps to my behaviours;
But let not therefore my good friends be
Among which number, Cassius, be you one,—
Nor construe any further my neglect,
Than that poor Brutus, with himself at war,
Forgets the shows of love to other men.
CASSIUS: Then, Brutus, I have much mistook your
By means whereof this breast of mine hath buried
Thoughts of great value, worthy cogitations.
Tell me, good Brutus, can you see your face?
BRUTUS: No, Cassius; for the eye sees not
But by reflection, by some other things.
CASSIUS: ’Tis just [right;
true; just so]:
And it is very much lamented, Brutus,
That you have no such mirrors as will turn
Your hidden worthiness into your eye,
That you might see your shadow. I have heard,
Where many of the best respect in Rome,—
Except immortal Caesar,—speaking of Brutus,
And groaning underneath this age’s yoke,
Have wish’d that noble Brutus had his eyes.
BRUTUS: Into what dangers would you lead me,
That you would have me seek into myself
For that which is not in me?
CASSIUS: Therefore, good Brutus, be prepar’d to
And, since you know you cannot see yourself
So well as by reflection, I, your glass,
Will modestly discover to yourself
That of yourself which you yet know not of.
[I, your glass . . . not
of: I, your mirror, will show you what you cannot see about
And be not jealous on me, gentle Brutus:
[And . . . me: And do not suspect
Were I a common laugher [jokester;
jester], or did use
To stale with ordinary oaths my love
To every new protester; if you know
That I do fawn on men and
hug them hard,
And after scandal them; or if you know
[or did use . . . scandal
them: Or if I pledged my friendship to everyone who
came along, or if I flattered and hugged men one moment and
criticized them behind their backs the next]
That I profess myself in banqueting
To all the rout, then hold me dangerous. [Flourish and
[that I profess . . . rout: That
I pledge my friendship to every Tom, Dick, and Harry while
Fanfare of trumpets or other brass instruments]
BRUTUS: What means this shouting? I do fear the
Choose Caesar for their king.
CASSIUS: Ay, do you fear it?
Then must I think you would not have it so.
BRUTUS: I would not, Cassius; yet I love him
But wherefore [why] do
you hold me here so long?
What is it that you would impart to me?
If it be aught [anything]
toward the general good,
Set honour in one eye and death i’ the other,
And I will look on both indifferently [without
For let the gods so speed me as I love
The name of honour more than I fear death.
CASSIUS: I know that virtue to be in you,
As well as I do know your outward favour [appearance; qualities].
Well, honour is the subject of my story.
I cannot tell what you and other men
Think of this life; but, for my single self,
I had as lief [soon] not
be [not be alive] as live
In awe of such a thing as I myself.
[In awe . . . myself: In awe of
an ordinary person like me]
I was born free as Caesar; so were you:
We both have fed as well, and we can both
Endure the winter’s
cold as well as he:
For once, upon a raw and gusty day,
The troubled Tiber chafing with her shores,
Caesar said to me, ‘Dar’st thou, Cassius, now
Leap in with me into this angry flood,
And swim to yonder point?’ Upon the word,
Accoutred [wearing armor]
and as I was, I plunged in
And bade him follow; so, indeed he did.
The torrent roar’d, and we did buffet it
With lusty sinews, throwing it aside
And stemming it with hearts of controversy;
[we did buffet . . . controversy:
We did swim through the raging waters with strong arms,
mastering the river with our competitive spirit.]
But ere [before] we could
arrive the point propos’d,
Caesar cried, ‘Help me, Cassius, or I sink!’
I, as Aeneas, our great ancestor,
Did from the flames of Troy upon his shoulder
The old Anchises bear, so from the waves of
Did I the tired Caesar. And this man
Is now become a god, and Cassius is
A wretched creature and must bend his body
If Caesar carelessly but nod on him.
He had a fever when he was in Spain,
And when the fit [epileptic fit]
was on him, I did mark
How he did shake; ’tis true, this god did shake;
His coward lips did from their colour fly,
[His coward . . . fly: His lips
And that same eye whose bend [hypnotic
gaze] doth awe the world
Did lose his [its]
lustre; I did hear him groan;
Ay, and that tongue of his that bade the Romans
Mark him and write his speeches in their books,
Alas! it cried, ‘Give me some drink, Titinius,’
As a sick girl. Ye gods, it doth amaze me,
A man of such a feeble temper should
So get the start of the majestic world,
And bear the palm alone. [Flourish.
[palm: Leaf of a palm tree. A
palm leaf was a symbol of victory.]
BRUTUS: Another general shout!
I do believe that these applauses are
For some new honours that are heaped on Caesar.
CASSIUS: Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow
Like a Colossus; and we petty men
[Colossus: Name of a gigantic
bronze statue erected in 280 BC on the Greek island of Rhodes to
commemorate a military victory over a Macedonian army. The
statue—depicting the Titan sun god Helios—was one of the Seven
Wonders of the ancient world. The Colossus of Rhodes was nearly
one hundred feet tall.]
Walk under his huge legs, and peep about
To find ourselves dishonourable graves.
Men at some time are masters of their fates:
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.
Brutus and Caesar: what should be in that
Why should that name be sounded more than yours?
Write them together, yours is as fair a name;
Sound them, it doth become the mouth as well;
Weigh them, it is as heavy; conjure [invoke a supernatural being] with
‘Brutus’ will start a spirit as soon as
Now, in the names of all the gods at once,
Upon what meat doth this our Caesar feed,
That he is grown so great? Age, thou art sham’d!
Rome, thou hast lost the breed of noble bloods!
[Age, thou . . . bloods: The age
we live in should be ashamed. It lacks the kind of noble leaders
who guided Rome in an earlier time.]
When went there by an age, since the great
But it was fam’d with more than with one man?
[When went . . . man?: When was
there a time since the great flood (as described centuries later
in Genesis 5-9 of the Bible) that did not have many great men
instead of just one exalted over all?]
When could they say, till now, that talk’d of
That her wide walls encompass’d but one man?
Now is it Rome indeed and room enough,
When there is in it but one only man.
[Now is . . . only man: Now, it
seems, Rome has room enough for only one man, Julius Caesar.]
O! you and I have heard our fathers say,
There was a Brutus once that would have brook’d
Th’ eternal devil to keep his state in Rome
As easily as a king.
[O! you . . . as a king: O! You
and I have heard the old stories about your ancestor, also named
Brutus, who would let the devil rule Rome rather than allow a
man such as Caesar to become its king.]
BRUTUS: That you do love me, I am nothing
[That you . . . jealous: I don't
doubt that you love me as a friend.]
What you would work me to, I have some aim:
[What you . . . aim: I now have
some understanding of what you are trying to get me to do: help
you overthrow Caesar.]
How I have thought of this and of these times,
I shall recount hereafter; for this present,
I would not, so with love I might entreat you,
Be any further mov’d. What you have said
I will consider; what you have to say
I will with patience hear, and find a time
Both meet to hear and answer such high things.
Till then, my noble friend, chew upon this:
Brutus had rather be a villager
Than to repute himself a son of Rome
Under these hard conditions as this time
Is like to lay upon us.
CASSIUS: I am glad
That my weak words have struck but thus much
Of fire from Brutus.
BRUTUS: The games are done and Caesar is
CASSIUS: As they pass by, pluck Casca by the
And he will, after his sour fashion, tell you
What hath proceeded worthy note to-day.
[What hath . . . to-day: What
events took place today that support our suspicions of Caesar.]
Re-enter CAESAR and his Train.
BRUTUS: I will do so. But, look you,
The angry spot doth glow on Caesar’s brow,
[angry spot: Blemish; inflamed
And all the rest look like a chidden train [scolded group of followers]:
Calpurnia’s cheek is pale, and Cicero
Looks with such ferret and such fiery eyes
[ferret: Small, furry mammal
related to the weasel. Some types of ferrets have red eyes.]
As we have seen him in the Capitol,
Being cross’d [debated; argued
with] in conference by some
CASSIUS: Casca will tell us what the matter
CAESAR: Let me have men about me that are
Sleek-headed men and such as sleep o’ nights.
Yond [yonder] Cassius has
a lean and hungry look;
He thinks too much: such men are dangerous
ANTONY: Fear him not, Caesar, he’s not
He is a noble Roman, and well given.
CAESAR: Would he were fatter! but I fear him
Yet if my name were liable to fear,
I do not know the man I should avoid
So soon as that spare Cassius. He reads much;
He is a great observer, and he looks
Quite through the deeds of men; he loves no
As thou dost, Antony; he hears no music;
Seldom he smiles, and smiles in such a sort
As if he mock’d himself, and scorn’d his spirit
That could be mov’d to smile at any thing.
Such men as he be never at heart’s ease
Whiles they behold a greater than themselves,
And therefore are they very dangerous.
I rather tell thee what is to be fear’d
Than what I fear, for always I am Caesar.
Come on my right hand [side],
for this ear is deaf,
And tell me truly what thou think’st of him. [Sennet.
Exeunt CAESAR and his Train. CASCA stays
[Sennet: Stage direction for
sounding a trumpet]
CASCA: You pull’d me by the cloak; would you speak with
BRUTUS: Ay, Casca; tell us what hath chanc’d [happened]
That Caesar looks so sad.
CASCA: Why, you were with him, were you
BRUTUS: I should not then ask Casca what had
CASCA: Why, there was a crown offered him; and, being
offered him, he put it by with the back of his hand, thus; and
then the people fell a-shouting.
BRUTUS: What was the second noise for?
CASCA: Why, for that too.
CASSIUS: They shouted thrice: what was the last cry
CASCA: Why, for that too.
BRUTUS: Was the crown offered him thrice?
CASCA: Ay, marry, was ’t, and he put it by thrice, everytime
gentler than other; and at every putting-by mine honest neighbours
CASSIUS: Who offered him the crown?
CASCA: Why, Antony.
BRUTUS: Tell us the manner of it, gentle Casca.
CASCA: I can as well be hanged as tell the manner of it: it
was mere foolery; I did not mark it. [I'll be hanged if I can remember the exact manner of
what was going on. They seemed to be fooling around, so I didn't
pay much attention.] I saw Mark Antony offer him a crown;
yet ’twas not a crown neither, ’twas one of these coronets [circular band; wreath; small crown];
and, as I told you, he put it by once; but, for all that, to my
thinking, he would fain [gladly]
have had it. Then he offered it to him again; then he put it by
again; but, to my thinking, he was very loath to lay his fingers
off it. And then he offered it the third time; he put it the third
time by; and still as he refused it the rabblement [crowd] shouted and clapped
their chopped [rough; chapped]
hands, and threw up their sweaty night-caps, and uttered such a
deal of stinking breath because Caesar refused the crown, that it
had almost choked Caesar; for he swounded [swooned; fainted] and fell
down at it: and for mine own part, I durst [dared] not laugh, for fear of
opening my lips and receiving the bad air.
CASSIUS: But soft [But
wait a minute], I pray you: what! did Caesar
CASCA: He fell down in the market-place, and foamed at
mouth, and was speechless.
BRUTUS: ’Tis very like: he hath the falling-sickness [epilepsy].
CASSIUS: No, Caesar hath it not; but you, and
And honest Casca, we have the falling-sickness.
[No, Caesar . . .
falling-sickness: No, we are the ones who have this sickness; we
have to go down on our knees before this tyrant.]
CASCA: I know not what you mean by that; but I am sure
Caesar fell down. If the tag-rag people did not clap him and hiss
him, according as he pleased and displeased them, as they used to
do the players in the theatre, I am no true man.
BRUTUS: What said he, when he came unto
CASCA: Marry, before he fell down, when he perceiv’d the
common herd was glad he refused the crown, he plucked me ope his
doublet [he selected me to bare
his chest] and offered them his throat to cut. An [if] I had been a man of any
occupation, if I would not have taken him at a word, I would I
might go to hell among the rogues. And so he fell. When he came to
himself again, he said, if he had done or said any thing amiss, he
desired their worships to think it was his infirmity. Three or
four wenches, where I stood, cried, ‘Alas! good soul,’ and forgave
him with all their hearts: but there’s no heed to be taken of
them; if Caesar had stabbed their mothers, they would have done no
BRUTUS: And after that he came, thus sad,
CASSIUS: Did Cicero say any thing?
CASCA: Ay, he spoke Greek.
CASSIUS: To what effect?
CASCA: Nay, an [if]
I tell you that, I’ll ne’er look you i’ the face again; but those
that understood him smiled at one another and shook their heads;
but, for mine own part, it was Greek to me. I could tell you more
news too; Marullus and Flavius, for pulling scarfs off Caesar’s
images, are put to silence. Fare you well. There was more foolery
yet, if I could remember it.
CASSIUS: Will you sup with me to-night,
CASCA: No, I am promised forth [I have a previous commitment].
CASSIUS: Will you dine with me to-morrow?
CASCA: Ay, if I be alive, and your mind hold, and your
dinner worth the eating.
CASSIUS: Good; I will expect you.
CASCA: Do so. Farewell, both. [Exit.
BRUTUS: What a blunt fellow is this grown to
He was quick mettle when he went to school.
[What a blunt . . . school: What
a lunkhead Casca has turned out to be. He had a keen mind in his
CASSIUS: So is he now in execution
Of any bold or noble enterprise,
However he puts on this tardy form.
[So is . . . form: He is still a
smart man when it comes to carrying out a bold or noble task,
although he pretends to be dumb.]
This rudeness is a sauce to his good wit,
Which gives men stomach to digest his words
With better appetite.
[His seeming dullness somehow
enables him to get his point across to his listeners.]
BRUTUS: And so it is. For this time I will leave
To-morrow, if you please to speak with me,
I will come home to you; or, if you will,
Come home to me, and I will wait for you.
CASSIUS: I will do so: till then, think of the world.
[Think . . . world: Think of the
welfare of Rome.]
Well, Brutus, thou art noble; yet, I see,
Thy honourable metal may be wrought
From that it is dispos’d: therefore ’tis meet
That noble minds keep ever with their likes;
For who so firm that cannot be seduc’d?
[thou art . . . seduc'd?: Cassius
speaks to himself. He says Brutus is a noble but can be
manipulated to do something that he wouldn't ordinarily do.
Upright men like Brutus, Cassius says, should keep company with
other upright men. If they don't, they could be seduced into
taking part in an ignoble enterprise.]
Caesar doth bear me hard; but he loves Brutus:
If I were Brutus now and he were Cassius
He should not humour me. I will this night,
In several hands, in at his windows throw,
As if they came from several citizens,
Writings all tending to the great opinion
That Rome holds of his name; wherein obscurely
Caesar’s ambition shall be glanced at:
And after this let Caesar seat him sure;
For we will shake him, or worse days endure.
[If I were . . . days
endure: If Brutus had spoken to me the way I just spoke to him,
I would have ignored him. But now that he has put stock in my
words, I will further my plot against Caesar with this
stratagem: Tonight, I will write letters and throw them through
a window at the home of Brutus. The handwriting will be
different in each letter, making it appear that each was written
by a different Roman. Each letter will praise Brutus as a
principled and virtuous citizen. At the same time, it will call
attention to Caesar's apparent ambition to become king of Rome.]
Act 1, Scene 3
Rome. A Street.
Thunder and lightning. Enter, from opposite sides, CASCA,
with his sword drawn, and CICERO.
CICERO: Good even, Casca. Brought you Caesar
Why are you breathless? and why stare you so?
CASCA: Are not you mov’d, when all the sway of
Shakes like a thing unfirm? O Cicero!
I have seen tempests, when the scolding winds
Have riv’d [rived: split; torn
apart] the knotty oaks; and 0
[To be . . . with: To be
recognized as having just as much power as]
But never till to-night, never till now,
Did I go through a tempest dropping fire.
Either there is a civil strife in heaven,
Or else the world, too saucy with [disrespectful of] the gods,
Incenses them to send destruction.
CICERO: Why, saw you any thing more
CASCA: A common slave—you know him well by
Held up his left hand, which did flame and burn
Like twenty torches join’d; and yet his hand,
Not sensible of fire, remain’d unscorch’d.
Besides,—I have not since put up my sword,—
Against the Capitol I met a lion,
Who glar’d upon me, and went surly by,
Without annoying me; and there were drawn
[Besides . . . annoying me: This
unsettling night has caused me to keep my sword ready in case I
need to protect myself. Not long ago, I saw a lion near the
capitol. It glared at me but went by without attacking me.
(Lions were among the animals brought to Italy to provide
entertainment in arenas.)]
Upon a heap a hundred ghastly women,
Transformed with their fear, who swore they saw
Men all in fire walk up and down the streets.
And yesterday the bird of night [owl]
Even at noon-day, upon the market-place,
Hooting and shrieking. When these prodigies [omens; amazing events]
Do so conjointly [jointly;
simultaneously] meet, let not men say
‘These are their reasons, they are natural;’
[These . . . natural: These
phenomena are nothing out of the ordinary; they are natural.]
For, I believe, they are portentous [ominous] things
Unto the climate that they point upon.
[Unto . . . point upon: Unto the
city where they occur]
CICERO: Indeed, it is a strange-disposed
But men may construe things after their fashion,
Clean from the purpose of the things themselves.
Comes Caesar to the Capitol to-morrow?
CASCA: He doth; for he did bid Antonius [Antony]
Send word to you he would be there to-morrow.
CICERO: Good-night then, Casca. This disturbed
Is not to walk in.
CASCA: Farewell, Cicero. [Exit
CASSIUS: Who’s there?
CASCA: A Roman.
CASSIUS: Casca, by your voice.
CASCA: Your ear is good. Cassius, what night is
CASSIUS: A very pleasing night to honest
CASCA: Who ever knew the heavens menace
CASSIUS: Those that have known the earth so full of
For my part, I have walk’d about the streets,
Submitting me unto the perilous night,
And, thus unbraced [with my
shirt open], Casca, as you see,
Have bar’d [bared] my
bosom to the thunder-stone [lightning
And, when the cross [zigzagging]
blue lightning seem’d to open
The breast of heaven, I did present myself
Even in the aim and very flash of it.
CASCA: But wherefore [why]
did you so much tempt the heavens?
It is the part of men to fear and tremble
When the most mighty gods by tokens send
Such dreadful heralds to astonish us.
CASSIUS: You are dull, Casca, and those sparks of
That should be in a Roman you do want [lack; need],
Or else you use not. You look pale, and gaze,
And put on fear, and cast yourself in wonder,
To see the strange impatience of the heavens;
But if you would consider the true cause
Why all these fires, why all these gliding ghosts,
Why birds and beasts, from quality and kind;
[from . . . kind: Acting
strangely; departing from their normal behavior]
Why old men, fools, and children calculate;
[Why . . . calculate: Why
foolish old men and children make prophecies]
Why all these things change from their ordinance
Their natures, and pre-formed faculties,
To monstrous quality, why, you shall find
[Why all . . . quality: Why do
all these things alter their natures and instincts to take on
That heaven hath infus’d them with these spirits
To make them instruments of fear and warning
Unto some monstrous state.
Now could I, Casca, name to thee a man
Most like this dreadful night,
That thunders, lightens, opens graves, and roars
As doth the lion in the Capitol,
A man no mightier than thyself or me
In personal action, yet prodigious grown
And fearful as these strange eruptions are.
CASCA: ’Tis Caesar that you mean; is it not,
CASSIUS: Let it be who it is: for Romans
Have thews [muscles; strength]
and limbs like to their ancestors;
But, woe the while! our fathers’ minds are dead,
And we are govern’d with our mothers’ spirits;
Our yoke and sufferance show us womanish.
[Our yoke . . . womanish: Our
acceptance of enslavement by Caesar shows us to be women.]
CASCA: Indeed, they say the senators
Mean to establish Caesar as a king;
And he shall wear his crown by sea and land,
In every place, save here in Italy.
CASSIUS: I know where I will wear this dagger
Cassius from bondage will deliver Cassius:
[Cassius . . . deliver Cassius: I
will use my dagger to free myself from a life of slavery under
Caesar. (This line suggests to Casca that Cassius is willing to
use the dagger to kill himself. Lines 97-106 (below)
support this interpretation. But devious Cassius may really be
saying—at least to himself—that he will use the dagger to kill
Therein, ye gods, you make the weak most strong;
Therein, ye gods, you tyrants do defeat:
Nor stony tower, nor walls of beaten brass,
Nor airless dungeon, nor strong links of iron,
Can be retentive to [can stop]
the strength of spirit;
But life, being weary of those worldly bars,
Never lacks power to dismiss itself.
If I know this, know all the world besides,
That part of tyranny that I do bear
I can shake off at pleasure. [Thunder
CASCA: So can I:
So every bondman [slave]
in his own hand bears
The power to cancel his captivity.
CASSIUS: And why should Caesar be a tyrant
Poor man! I know he would not be a wolf
But that he sees the Romans are but sheep;
He were no lion were not Romans hinds [female deer, which are gentle and submissive].
Those that with haste will make a mighty fire
Begin it with weak straws; what trash is Rome,
What rubbish, and what offal [waste
from a butchered animal], when it
For the base matter to illuminate
[For . . . illuminate: For
the fire of burning waste to illuminate]
So vile a thing as Caesar! But, O grief!
Where hast thou led me? I, perhaps, speak this
Before a willing bondman [slave];
then I know
My answer must be made: but I am arm’d,
And dangers are to me indifferent [of no concern].
CASCA: You speak to Casca, and to such a
That is no fleering tell-tale. Hold, my hand:
Be factious for redress of all these griefs,
And I will set this foot of mine as far
As who goes furthest.
[You speak . . . furthest: You
speak to a man who is no scornful talebearer. Shake hands with
me, and be a partisan in the cause against Caesar in order to
right his wrongs. I am willing to go as far as anyone else
enlisted in this cause.]
CASSIUS: There’s a bargain made.
Now know you, Casca, I have mov’d already
Some certain of the noblest-minded Romans
To undergo with me an enterprise
Of honourable-dangerous consequence;
And I do know by this they stay for me
In Pompey’s porch: for now, this fearful night,
porch: Portico of the theater constructed at the behest of
Pompey the Great. Dedicated in 55 BC, the gigantic theater
featured plays, musical productions, art exhibitions, and other
events. It also housed the chamber of the Roman Senate, where
Caesar was assassinated.]
There is no stir, or walking in the streets;
And the complexion of the element [the look of the sky]
In favour’s like the work
we have in hand,
[in favour's: In favour is, meaning in
Most bloody, fiery, and most terrible.
CASCA: Stand close [hide]
awhile, for here comes one in haste.
CASSIUS: ’Tis Cinna; I do know him by his
He is a friend.
Cinna, where haste you so?
CINNA: To find out you. Who’s that? Metellus
CASSIUS: No, it is Casca; one incorporate
To our attempts. Am I not stay’d for, Cinna?
[one . . . attempts: One
who is part of (that is, incorporated into) our conspiracy
CINNA: I am glad on ’t. What a fearful night is
There’s two or three of us have seen strange
CASSIUS: Am I not stay’d for? Tell me.
CINNA: Yes, you are.
[Am I . . . Yes, you are: Are
other conspirators waiting for me? Yes, they are.]
O Cassius! if you could
But win the noble Brutus to our party—
CASSIUS: Be you content. Good Cinna, take this
And look you lay it in the praetor’s chair,
Elected magistrate ranking just below a consul. There were two
consuls. Together, they exercised the greatest authority in
ancient Rome until Octavius Caesar became the first
emperor in 27 BC. Thenceforward, he was known as Caesar
Augustus, or Augustus Caesar.]
Where Brutus may but find it; and throw this
In at his window; set this up with wax
Upon old Brutus’ statue: all this done,
[old Brutus: Brutus's father,
Marcus Junius Brutus the Elder]
Repair to Pompey’s
porch, where you shall find us.
Is Decius Brutus and Trebonius there?
CINNA: All but Metellus Cimber; and he’s
To seek you at your house. Well, I will hie [be off; go],
And so bestow these papers as you bade me.
CASSIUS: That done, repair to Pompey’s
theatre. [Exit CINNA.
Come, Casca, you and I will yet ere [before] day
See Brutus at his house: three parts of him
Is ours already, and the man entire
Upon the next encounter yields him ours.
CASCA: O! he sits high in all the people’s
And that which would appear offence in us,
His countenance, like richest alchemy,
Will change to virtue and to worthiness.
[he sits . . . worthiness: Brutus
is so popular and charismatic that he can make everything we do, even offensive
things, appear virtuous and worthy.]
Him and his worth and our great need of him
You have right well conceited [grasped;
perceived; recognized]. Let us go,
For it is after midnight; and ere day
We will awake him and be sure of him.
Act 2, Scene 1
BRUTUS: What, Lucius! ho!
I cannot, by the progress of the stars,
Give guess how near to day. Lucius, I say!
I would it were my fault to sleep so soundly.
When, Lucius, when! Awake, I say! what, Lucius!
[I cannot . . . I say: Hey,
Lucius! I cannot tell by the stars how close we are to dawn.
Lucius, are you there? Are you awake? I wish I could be like
Lucius and sleep so soundly. Wake up, Lucius, wake up!]
LUCIUS: Call’d you, my lord?
BRUTUS: Get me a taper in
[Get . . . study: Put a candle in
When it is lighted, come and call me here.
LUCIUS: I will, my lord. [Exit.
BRUTUS: It must be by his death: and, for my
I know no personal cause to spurn at him,
But for the general. He would be crown’d:
How that might change his nature, there’s the
It is the bright day that brings forth the
And that craves wary walking. Crown him?—that!
And then, I grant, we put a sting in him,
That at his will he may do danger with.
[It must . . . danger with: We
have no choice but to assassinate Caesar. I have nothing against
him personally. But, for the good of the people, he has to go.
If he were allowed to live, he would be crowned king. His
coronation could bring out the worst in him. True, people would
think his kingship would signal a bright new day for Rome. But
it is a bright day that brings forth the adder (a poisonous
snake). If Rome crowns Caesar, it will give him the power to
sting us at will with his poison.]
The abuse of greatness is when it disjoins [separates]
Remorse from power; and, to speak truth of
I have not known when his affections [feelings; prejudices] sway’d
More than his reason. But ’tis a common proof [experience; belief],
That lowliness is young ambition’s ladder,
Whereto the climber-upward turns his face;
But when he once attains the upmost round [rung],
He then unto the ladder turns his back,
Looks in the clouds, scorning the base degrees
By which he did ascend. So Caesar may:
Then, lest he may, prevent [prevent
from attaining supreme power]. And, since the
Will bear no colour for the thing he is;
Fashion it thus; that what he is, augmented,
Would run to these and these extremities;
[And, since . . . extremities:
And, since we are not talking about what he is but what he could
become, frame our reasoning this way: What he is now would
change if he becomes king; he would go to extremes and become a
And therefore think him as a serpent’s egg
Which, hatch’d, would, as his kind, grow
And kill him in the shell.
[think him . . . shell: Compare
him to a serpent's egg. After hatching, the snake would grow
venemous and deadly. Therefore, we must kill him in the
LUCIUS: The taper burneth in your closet [study; private chamber],
Searching the window for a flint, I found
This paper, thus seal’d up; and I am sure
It did not lie there when I went to bed.
BRUTUS: Get you to bed again; it is not
Is not to-morrow, boy, the ides of March?
LUCIUS: I know not, sir.
BRUTUS: Look in the calendar, and bring me
LUCIUS: I will, sir. [Exit.
BRUTUS: The exhalations [meteor
lightning bolts] whizzing in the air
Give so much light that I may read by them. [Opens the
[In the next twelves lines
(50-62), Shakespeare uses the symbol for etcetera (&c)
to represent the complaints, and the action to be taken, against
"Brutus, thou sleep’st: awake and see thyself.
Shall Rome, &c. Speak, strike, redress!
Brutus, thou sleep’st: awake!"
Such instigations have been often dropp’d
Where I have took them up.
‘Shall Rome, &c.’ Thus must I piece it out:
Shall Rome stand under one man’s awe? What,
My ancestors did from the streets of Rome
The Tarquin drive, when he was call’d a king.
‘Speak, strike, redress!’ Am I entreated
To speak, and strike? O Rome! I make thee
If the redress will follow, thou receiv’st
Thy full petition at the hand of Brutus!
LUCIUS: Sir, March is wasted fourteen days. [Knocking
[within: Stage direction
indicating that the knocking occurs offstage.]
BRUTUS: ’Tis good. Go to the gate: somebody knocks.
Since Cassius first did whet [incite]
me against Caesar,
I have not slept.
Between the acting of a dreadful thing
And the first motion, all the interim is
Like a phantasma, or a hideous dream:
[Between . . . dream: The present
interval between my decision to join the conspiracy to kill
Caesar and the time when the deed will be done is like a
The genius [mind] and the
mortal instruments [hands, legs;
Are then in council; and the state of man,
Like to a little kingdom, suffers then
The nature of an insurrection.
[Are then . . . insurrection:
Then fight over which is the right course of action, like
opposing forces in a civil war.]
LUCIUS: Sir, ’tis your brother Cassius at the
Who doth desire to see you.
BRUTUS: Is he alone?
LUCIUS: No, sir, there are more with him.
BRUTUS: Do you know them?
LUCIUS: No, sir; their hats are pluck’d about their
And half their faces buried in their cloaks,
That by no means I may discover them
By any mark of favour.
BRUTUS: Let ’em enter. [Exit LUCIUS.
They are the faction [conspirators].
Sham’st thou to show thy dangerous brow by
When evils are most free? O! then by day
Where wilt thou find a cavern dark enough
To mask thy monstrous visage? Seek none,
[O conspiracy . . . visage:
Conspiracy, if you are ashamed to show yourself at night, you
will not find a cavern dark enough to hide your face during the
Hide it in smiles and affability:
For if thou path, thy native semblance on,
Not Erebus itself were dim enough
To hide thee from prevention.
[For if . . . prevention: For if
you show your conspiratorial face as you walk in the open during
the day, not even the darkest region of hell can mask your
Enter the Conspirators, CASSIUS, CASCA, DECIUS, CINNA, METELLUS
CIMBER, and TREBONIUS.
CASSIUS: I think we are too bold upon your rest:
[I think . . . rest: I'm
sorry that we are so bold as to intrude so late, when you would
normally be sleeping.]
Good morrow, Brutus; do we trouble you?
BRUTUS: I have been up this hour, awake all
Know I these men that come along with you?
CASSIUS: Yes, every man of them; and no man
But honours you; and every one doth wish
You had but that opinion of yourself
Which every noble Roman bears of you.
This is Trebonius.
BRUTUS: He is welcome hither [here].
CASSIUS: This, Decius Brutus.
BRUTUS: He is welcome too.
CASSIUS: This, Casca; this, Cinna;
And this, Metellus Cimber.
BRUTUS: They are all welcome.
What watchful cares do interpose themselves
Betwixt [between] your
eyes and night?
[What watchful . . . Why are you
out so late? Are you worried about something?]
CASSIUS: Shall I entreat a word? [BRUTUS and CASSIUS
[Shall I . . . whisper: May I
have a word with you? (Cassius and Brutus then confer in
DECIUS: Here lies the east: doth not the day break
CINNA: O! pardon, sir, it doth; and yon grey
That fret [decorate; surround]
the clouds are messengers of day.
CASCA: You shall confess that you are both
Here, as I point my sword, the sun arises;
Which is a great way growing on the south,
Weighing the youthful season of the year.
[Here . . . season of the year:
Here, where I point my sword, is where the sun rises—somewhat to
the south—as it always does when the year is young. (Casca is
right. In the first quarter of the year, the sun rises south of
Some two months hence up higher toward the north
He first presents his fire; and the high east
Stands, as the Capitol, directly here.
[Some two . . . directly here:
Two months from now, dawn will occur farther north. From where
we are, true east is where the capitol
BRUTUS: Give me your hands all over, one by
[Give me . . . one: All of you
shake hands with me, one by one. (The handshake binds all of
them as conspirators against Caesar.]
CASSIUS: And let us swear our resolution.
BRUTUS: No, not an oath: if not the face of
The sufferance of our souls, the time’s abuse,
If these be motives weak, break off betimes,
And every man hence to his idle bed;
So let high-sighted tyranny range on,
Till each man drop by lottery. But if these,
As I am sure they do, bear fire enough
To kindle cowards and to steel with valour
The melting spirits of women, then, countrymen,
What need we any spur but our own cause
To prick us to redress? what other bond
Than secret Romans, that have spoke the word
And will not palter [be
insincere]? and what other oath
Than honesty to honesty engag’d [pledged],
That this shall be, or we will fall [die] for it?
[No, not an oath. . . fall for
it: No, we shouldn't swear an oath. If our glum faces, our
suffering souls, and the abuses of power that we encounter every
day are not enough to spur us to act, then we should go home and
go to bed. The tyranny of Caesar would continue. However, if our
suffering and grievances bear enough fire to spur us to action,
then we don't need an oath or any other stimulus to carry out
our plans. We have all gathered in secret and made it clear what
we will do even if we have to die doing it.]
Swear priests and cowards and men cautelous,
Old feeble carrions and such suffering souls
That welcome wrongs; unto bad causes swear
Such creatures as men doubt; but do not stain
[Swear priests . . . men doubt:
Swearing oaths is for priests, cowards, deceivers, feeble old
men, and men willing to tolerate wrongdoing. Such men swear to
The even [unswerving]
virtue of our enterprise,
Nor th’ insuppressive mettle of our spirits,
To think that or our cause or our performance
Did need an oath; when every drop of blood
That every Roman bears, and nobly bears,
Is guilty of a several bastardy [is
of despicable offenses],
If he do break the smallest particle
Of any promise that hath pass’d from him.
CASSIUS: But what of Cicero? Shall we sound him
I think he will stand very strong with us.
CASCA: Let us not leave him out.
CINNA: No, by no means.
METELLUS: O! let us have him; for his silver
Will purchase us a good opinion
And buy men’s voices to commend our deeds:
It shall be said his judgment rul’d our hands;
Our youths and wildness shall no whit appear,
[Our . . . appear: Not even
a hint of our youths and wildness will appear.]
But all be buried in his gravity.
BRUTUS: O! name him not: let us not break with him;
[break with him: Tell him our
For he will never follow any thing
That other men begin.
CASSIUS: Then leave him out.
CASCA: Indeed he is not fit.
DECIUS: Shall no man else be touch’d but only
[Shall . . . Caesar: Is Caesar
our only target?]
CASSIUS: Decius, well urg’d. I think it is not
Mark Antony, so well belov’d of Caesar,
Should outlive Caesar: we shall find of him
A shrewd contriver; and, you know, his means,
If he improve them, may well stretch so far
As to annoy us all; which to prevent,
Let Antony and Caesar fall together.
BRUTUS: Our course will seem too bloody, Caius
To cut the head off and then hack the limbs,
Like wrath in death and
[To cut . . . afterwards:
To kill Caesar and then attack his right-hand man, Antony. It
would seem as if we killed Caesar out of anger and Antony out of
For Antony is but a limb of Caesar.
Let us be sacrificers, but not butchers, Caius.
We all stand up against the spirit of Caesar;
And in the spirit of men there is no blood:
O! then that we could come by Caesar’s spirit,
And not dismember Caesar. But, alas!
[O! then . . . Caesar: O, it's
too bad we cannot reason with Caesar rather than killing him.]
Caesar must bleed for it. And, gentle friends,
Let’s kill him boldly, but not wrathfully;
Let’s carve him as a dish fit for the gods,
Not hew him as a carcass fit for hounds:
And let our hearts, as subtle masters do,
Stir up their servants to an act of rage,
And after seem to chide ’em. This shall make
Our purpose necessary and
[And let . . . not envious: And
let our hearts stir us up to kill Caesar. Afterwards, let us
appear regretful of what we have done. Doing so will make it
seem as if the killing was necessary for the good of Rome, not
hateful or heinous.]
Which so appearing to the common eyes,
We shall be call’d purgers, not murderers.
And, for Mark Antony, think not of him;
For he can do no more than Caesar’s arm
When Caesar’s head is off.
CASSIUS: Yet I fear him;
For in the engrafted love he bears to Caesar—
BRUTUS: Alas! good Cassius, do not think of
If he love Caesar, all that he can do
Is to himself, take thought and die for Caesar:
And that were much he should; for he is given
To sports, to wildness, and much company.
[If he love . . . company: If he
loves Caesar, Antony should take his own life. But I don't think
he will. He is too fond of sports, wild living, and parties with
TREBONIUS: There is no fear in him; let him not
[There is . . . not die: We have
no cause to fear Antony; let him live.]
For he will live, and laugh at this hereafter. [Clock
BRUTUS: Peace! count the clock.
CASSIUS: The clock hath stricken three.
TREBONIUS: ’Tis time to part.
CASSIUS: But it is doubtful yet
Whether Caesar will come forth to-day or no;
For he is superstitious grown of late,
Quite from the main [prevailing;
commonly accepted] opinion he held once
Of fantasy, of dreams, and ceremonies.
It may be, these apparent prodigies [omens; amazing events of this stormy night],
The unaccustom’d terror of this night,
And the persuasion of his augurers [seers; soothsayers],
May hold him from the Capitol to-day.
DECIUS: Never fear that: if he be so
I can o’ersway [persuade]
him; for he loves to hear
That unicorns may be betray’d with trees,
[unicorns . . . trees: Unicorns
and lions were enemies, according to ancient lore. One day, a
unicorn charged a lion standing in front of a tree. When the
lion stepped aside, the unicorn drove his horn into the tree and
And bears with glasses, elephants with holes,
[bears . . . glasses: If you hold
a mirror in front of a bear, he will stop and look at himself,
being proud and vain. He then becomes easy to capture.]
[elephants. . . holes: You can
capture an elephant in a large hole overlaid with brush and
Lions with toils, and men with flatterers;
[Lions . . . toils: You can
capture a lion with a net.]
But when I tell him he
He says he does, being then most flattered.
Let me work;
For I can give his humour the true bent,
[For . . . bent: For I know how
to persuade him]
And I will bring him to the Capitol.
CASSIUS: Nay, we will all of us be there to fetch
BRUTUS: By the eighth hour [8
a.m.]: is that the uttermost [latest]?
CINNA: Be that the uttermost, and fail not
METELLUS: Caius Ligarius doth bear Caesar
Who [reference to Caesar]
rated [berated; rebuked]
him [Ligarius] for
speaking well of Pompey:
I wonder none of you have thought of him.
BRUTUS: Now, good Metellus, go along by
[go . . . him: Go to Ligarius.]
He loves me well, and I have given him reasons;
Send him but hither, and I’ll fashion him.
[Send . . . him: Send him here,
and I'll get him to join our cause.]
CASSIUS: The morning comes upon ’s [upon us]: we’ll leave you,
And, friends, disperse yourselves; but all
What you have said, and show yourselves true
BRUTUS: Good gentlemen, look fresh and
Let not our looks put on our purposes,
But bear it as our Roman actors do,
With untir’d spirits and formal constancy:
[Let not . . . constancy: Don't
let grim looks give away our plans. Put on a happy face, like an
actor, and be firm in your resolve.]
And so good morrow to you every one. [Exeunt all except
Boy! Lucius! Fast asleep? It is no matter;
Enjoy the honey-heavy dew of slumber:
Thou hast no figures nor no fantasies
Which busy care draws in the brains of men;
[Thou hast . . . men: You do not
have the unsettling dreams of men preoccupied with carrying out
a perilous task.]
Therefore thou sleep’st so sound.
PORTIA: Brutus, my lord!
BRUTUS: Portia, what mean you? Wherefore [why] rise you
It is not for your health thus to commit
Your weak condition to the raw cold morning.
PORTIA: Nor for yours neither. You’ve ungently,
Stole from my bed; and yesternight [last night] at supper
You suddenly arose, and walk’d about,
Musing and sighing, with your arms across,
And when I ask’d you what the matter was,
You star’d upon me with ungentle looks.
I urg’d you further; then you scratch’d your
And too impatiently stamp’d with your foot;
Yet I insisted, yet you answer’d not,
But, with an angry wafture [wave]
of your hand,
Gave sign for me to leave you. So I did,
Fearing to strengthen that impatience
Which seem’d too much enkindled, and withal
Hoping it was but an effect of humour,
Which sometime hath his hour with every man.
[So I did . . . every man: So I
left the room, worried that I might further aggravate you but
hoping that you were just moody, as every man is from time to
It will not let you eat, nor talk, nor sleep,
And could it work so much upon your shape
As it hath much prevail’d on your condition,
I should not know you, Brutus. Dear my lord,
Make me acquainted with your cause of grief.
[It will not . . . grief:
Whatever is bothering you will not let you eat, talk, or sleep.
It could deteriorate your physical condition to the point that I
wouldn't recognize you. Dear Brutus, what is causing your
BRUTUS: I am not well in health, and that is
PORTIA: Brutus is wise, and were he not in
He would embrace the means to come by it.
[embrace . . . it: Do something
to restore your health.]
BRUTUS: Why, so I do. Good Portia, go to
PORTIA: Is Brutus sick, and is it physical [healthful]
To walk unbraced [with your
garment open at the chest] and suck up the humours [misty or humid air; dampness]
Of the dank morning? What! is Brutus sick,
And will he steal out of his wholesome bed
To dare the vile contagion of the night,
And tempt the rheumy and unpurged air [air that causes a cold or another respiratory infection
that produces rheum, a discharge of mucus]
To add unto his sickness? No, my Brutus;
You have some sick offence within your mind,
Which, by the right and virtue of my place,
I ought to know of; and, upon my knees [she kneels],
I charm you, by my once-commended beauty,
By all your vows of love, and that great vow [marriage]
Which did incorporate and make us one,
That you unfold to me, your self, your half,
Why are you heavy, and what men to-night
Have had resort to you; for here have been
Some six or seven, who did hide their faces
Even from darkness.
BRUTUS: Kneel not, gentle Portia. [She rises]
PORTIA: I should not need, if you were gentle
Within the bond of marriage, tell me, Brutus,
Is it excepted [forbidden that],
I should know no secrets
That appertain to you? Am I yourself
But, as it were, in sort of limitation,
[Am I . . . limitation: Am I a
spouse who must accept certain limitations?]
To keep with you at meals, comfort your bed,
And talk to you sometimes? Dwell I but in the
Of your good pleasure? If it be no more,
Portia is Brutus’ harlot, not his wife.
BRUTUS: You are my true and honourable
As dear to me as are the ruddy drops
That visit my sad heart.
PORTIA: If this were true then should I know this
I grant I am a woman, but, withal,
A woman that Lord Brutus took to wife;
I grant I am a woman, but, withal,
A woman well-reputed, Cato’s daughter.
Marcus Portius Cato the Younger (95-46 BC), Roman politician,
philosopher, and military leader. He was an opponent of Caesar.]
Think you I am no stronger than my sex,
Being so father’d and so husbanded?
[Think you . . . husband: Do you
think I am no stronger than other women even though I had a
distinguished father and have a formidable husband?]
Tell me your counsels, I will not disclose ’em.
I have made strong proof of my constancy,
Giving myself a voluntary wound
Here, in the thigh: can I bear that with
And not my husband’s secrets?
BRUTUS: O ye gods!
Render me worthy of this noble wife. [Knocking
Hark, hark! one knocks. Portia, go in awhile;
And by and by thy bosom shall partake
The secrets of my heart.
[And by . . . heart: And in a
moment I'll tell you my secrets.]
All my engagements I will construe to thee,
All the charactery [meaning]
of my sad brows.
Leave me with haste. [Exit PORTIA.
Lucius, who’s that knocks?
Re-enter LUCIUS with LIGARIUS.
LUCIUS: Here is a sick man that would speak with
BRUTUS: Caius Ligarius, that Metellus spoke
Boy, stand aside. Caius Ligarius! how?
LIGARIUS: Vouchsafe good morrow from a feeble tongue.
[Vouchsafe . . . tongue: Allow me
to bid you good morning with a feeble tongue.]
BRUTUS: O! what a time have you chose out, brave
To wear a kerchief. Would you were not sick.
[kerchief: The kerchief suggest
to Brutus that Ligarius is sick.]
LIGARIUS: I am not sick if Brutus have in
Any exploit worthy the name of honour.
BRUTUS: Such an exploit have I in hand,
Had you a healthful ear to hear of it.
LIGARIUS: By all the gods that Romans bow
I here discard my sickness. Soul of Rome!
Brave son, deriv’d from honourable loins!
Thou, like an exorcist, hast conjur’d up
My mortified spirit. Now bid me run,
[Thou, like . . . run: You, like
a conjurer, have brought my dead spirit back to life. Now tell
me what to do.]
And I will strive with things impossible;
Yea, get the better of them, What’s to do?
BRUTUS: A piece of work that will make sick men
LIGARIUS: But are not some whole that we must make
BRUTUS: That must we also. What it is, my
I shall unfold to thee as we are going
To whom it must be done.
LIGARIUS: Set on your foot,
And with a heart new-fir’d I follow you,
To do I know not what; but it sufficeth
That Brutus leads me on.
BRUTUS: Follow me then. [Exeunt.
Act 2, Scene 2
Rome. Caesar's house.
Thunder and lightning. Enter CAESAR in his night-gown.
CAESAR: Nor heaven nor earth have been at peace
Thrice hath Calpurnia in her sleep cried out,
‘Help, ho! They murder Caesar!’ Who’s within?
Enter a Servant,
SERVANT: My lord!
CAESAR: Go bid the priests [prophets;
soothsayers] do present [immediate;
And bring me their opinions of success.
SERVANT: I will, my lord. [Exit.
CALPURNIA: What mean you, Caesar? Think you to walk
You shall not stir out of your house to-day.
CAESAR: Caesar shall forth: the things that threaten’d
Ne’er look’d but o+n my back; when they shall see
The face of Caesar, they are vanished.
CALPURNIA: Caesar, I never stood on ceremonies [omens; portents],
Yet now they fright me. There is one within,
Besides the things that we have heard and seen,
Recounts most horrid sights seen by the watch.
A lioness hath whelped in the streets;
And graves have yawn’d and yielded up their dead;
Fierce fiery warriors fought upon the clouds,
In ranks and squadrons and right form of war,
Which drizzled blood upon the Capitol;
The noise of battle hurtled in the air,
Horses did neigh, and dying men did groan,
And ghosts did shriek and squeal about the streets.
O Caesar! these things are beyond all use [beyond any phenomena that we are
used to; beyond comprehension],
And I do fear them.
CAESAR: What can be avoided
Whose end is purpos’d by the mighty gods?
[What can . . . gods: No one can
avoid what the gods ordain.]
Yet Caesar shall go forth; for these predictions
Are to the world in general as to Caesar.
[these predictions . . .
Caesar: These omens pertain just as much to people in general as
they do to me in particular.]
CALPURNIA: When beggars die there are no comets
The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of
When beggars . . . . princes:
When beggars or other ordinary people die, no comets or other
omens appear in the heavens. But when a great man such as you
dies (or is about to die), the heavens blaze with activity.]
CAESAR: Cowards die many times before their
The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,
It seems to me most strange that men should fear;
Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come.
What say the augurers [prophets;
SERVANT: They would not have you to stir forth
Plucking the entrails of an offering forth,
They could not find a heart within the beast.
[Plucking . . . beast: Pulling
out the insides of the sacrificed animal, they could not find a
CAESAR: The gods do this in shame of cowardice:
[The gods . . . cowardice: The
gods are telling us that cowards have no heart.]
Caesar should be a beast without a heart
If he should stay at home to-day for fear.
No, Caesar shall not; danger knows full well
That Caesar is more dangerous than he:
We are two lions litter’d in one day,
And I the elder and more terrible:
[We are . . . terrible: Danger
and I are two lions born on the same day. But I was born moments
before danger. Therefore, I am older and more formidable.]
And Caesar shall go forth.
CALPURNIA: Alas! my lord,
Your wisdom is consum’d in confidence.
[Your . . . confidence: You are
allowing overconfidence to guide you instead of reason.]
Do not go forth to-day: call it my fear
That keeps you in the house, and not your own.
We’ll send Mark Antony to the senate-house,
And he shall say you are not well to-day:
Let me, upon my knee, prevail in this.
CAESAR: Mark Antony shall say I am not well;
And, for thy humour [peace of
mind], I will stay at home.
Enter DECIUS. 65
Here’s Decius Brutus, he shall tell them so.
DECIUS: Caesar, all hail! Good morrow, worthy
I come to fetch you to the senate-house.
CAESAR: And you are come in very happy time
To bear my greeting to the senators,
And tell them that I will not come to-day:
Cannot, is false, and that I dare not, falser;
I will not come to-day: tell them so, Decius.
CALPURNIA: Say he is sick.
CAESAR: Shall Caesar send a lie?
Have I in conquest stretch’d mine arm so far
To be afeard to tell greybeards the truth?
Decius, go tell them Caesar will not come.
DECIUS: Most mighty Caesar, let me know some
Lest I be laugh’d at when I tell them so.
CAESAR: The cause is in my will: I will not
That is enough to satisfy the senate:
But for your private satisfaction,
Because I love you, I will let you know:
Calpurnia here, my wife, stays me at home:
She dreamt to-night she saw my statua [statue],
Which, like a fountain with a hundred spouts,
Did run pure blood; and many lusty Romans
Came smiling, and did bathe their hands in it:
And these does she apply for warnings and portents,
And evils imminent; and on her knee
Hath begg’d that I will stay at home to-day.
DECIUS: This dream is all amiss interpreted [misinterpreted; interpreted wrongly];
It was a vision fair and fortunate:
Your statue spouting blood in many pipes,
In which so many smiling Romans bath’d,
Signifies that from you great Rome shall suck
Reviving blood, and that great men shall press
For tinctures, stains, relics, and cognizance.
[tinctures, stains, relics:
Bloodstains as souvenirs.]
[cognizance: Emblem worn to
indicate that the wearer is a servant of a great man.]
This by Calpurnia’s dream is signified.
CAESAR: And this way have you well expounded it.
DECIUS: I have, when you have heard what I can
And know it now: the senate have concluded
To give this day a crown to mighty Caesar.
If you shall send them word you will not come,
Their minds may change. Besides, it were a mock
Apt to be render’d, for some one to say
‘Break up the senate till another time,
When Caesar’s wife shall meet with better dreams.’
If Caesar hide himself, shall they not whisper
‘Lo! Caesar is afraid?’
Pardon me, Caesar; for my dear dear love
To your proceeding [advancing to
kingship] bids me tell you this,
And reason to my love is liable [responsible].
CAESAR: How foolish do your fears seem now,
I am ashamed I did yield to them.
Give me my robe, for I will go:
Enter PUBLIUS, BRUTUS, LIGARIUS, METELLUS, CASCA, TREBONIUS, and
And look where Publius is come to fetch me.
PUBLIUS: Good morrow, Caesar.
CAESAR: Welcome, Publius.
What! Brutus, are you stirr’d so early too?
Good morrow, Casca. Caius Ligarius,
Caesar was ne’er so much your enemy
As that same ague [fever;
illness] which hath made you lean.
What is ’t o’clock?
BRUTUS: Caesar, ’tis strucken [struck] eight.
CAESAR: I thank you for your pains and courtesy.
See! Antony, that revels long o’ nights,
Is notwithstanding up. Good morrow, Antony.
[See! . . . up: Look, even Antony
is here at this early hour even though he stays out late
ANTONY: So to most noble Caesar. [And good morning to you, noble
CAESAR: Bid them prepare within:
I am to blame to be thus waited for.
[Bid . . . waited for: Caesar
orders a room to be prepared to host his visitors, then
apologizes for not being ready to go immediately to the senate.]
Now, Cinna; now, Metellus; what, Trebonius!
I have an hour’s talk in store for you;
Remember that you call on me to-day:
Be near me, that I may remember you.
TREBONIUS: Caesar, I will:—[Aside.] and so near will I
[Aside: Words an actor speaks to
the audience which other actors on the stage cannot hear.
Sometimes the actor cups his mouth toward the audience or turns
away from the other actors. An aside serves to reveal a
character's thoughts or concerns to the audience without
revealing them to other characters in a play.]
That your best friends shall wish I had been further.
CAESAR: Good friends, go in, and taste some wine with
And we, like friends, will straightway go together.
BRUTUS: [Aside.] That every like is not the same, O
The heart of Brutus yearns to think upon. [Exeunt.
[That every . . . upon: Brutus
grieves in his heart that he and Caesar now only seem like
Act 2, Scene 3
A street near the
Enter ARTEMIDORUS, reading a paper.
ARTEMIDORUS: Caesar, beware of Brutus; take heed of Cassius;
come not near Casca; have an eye to Cinna; trust not Trebonius;
mark well Metellus Cimber; Decius Brutus loves thee not; thou hast
wronged Caius Ligarius. There is but one mind in all these men,
and it is bent against Caesar. If thou be’st not immortal, look
about you: security [complacency;
carelessness] gives way to conspiracy. The mighty gods
defend thee! Thy lover,
Here will I stand till Caesar pass along,
And as a suitor [citizen
petitioning a politician] will I give him
My heart laments that virtue cannot live
Out of the teeth of emulation.
[My heart . . . emulation: I
lament that the teeth of jealous envy always target virtue.]
If thou read this, O Caesar! thou mayst live;
If not, the Fates with traitors do contrive. [Exit.
[Fates . . . contrive: Fate will
cooperate with traitors to bring about your doom.]
Act 2, Scene 4
In front of the house of
Brutus on another part of the street near the capitol.
Enter PORTIA and LUCIUS.
PORTIA: I prithee, boy, run to the senate-house;
Stay not to answer me, but get thee gone.
Why dost thou stay?
LUCIUS: To know my errand, madam.
PORTIA: I would have had thee there, and here
Ere [before] I can tell
thee what thou shouldst do there.
O constancy! be strong upon my side;
Set a huge mountain ’tween my heart and tongue;
I have a man’s mind, but a woman’s might.
How hard it is for women to keep counsel!
[O constancy . . . counsel: O,
let me be strong enough to keep secret what is in my heart.]
Art thou here yet?
LUCIUS: Madam, what shall I do?
Run to the Capitol, and nothing else?
And so return to you, and nothing else?
PORTIA: Yes, bring me word, boy, if thy lord [Brutus] look
For he went sickly forth; and take good note
What Caesar doth, what suitors [petitioners]
press to him.
Hark, boy! what noise is that?
LUCIUS: I hear none, madam.
PORTIA: Prithee, listen well:
I heard a bustling rumour [crowd
noise; shouting voices], like a fray [fight],
And the wind brings it from the Capitol.
LUCIUS: Sooth [Truly],
madam, I hear nothing.
Enter the Soothsayer.
PORTIA: Come hither, fellow: which way hast thou
SOOTHSAYER: At mine own house, good lady.
PORTIA: What is ’t o’clock?
SOOTHSAYER: About the ninth hour, lady.
PORTIA: Is Caesar yet gone to the Capitol?
SOOTHSAYER: Madam, not yet: I go to take my
To see him pass on to the Capitol.
PORTIA: Thou hast some suit to Caesar, hast thou
SOOTHSAYER: That I have, lady: if it will please Caesar
To be so good to Caesar as to hear me,
I shall beseech him to befriend himself [guard himself; be careful].
PORTIA: Why, know’st thou any harm’s intended towards
SOOTHSAYER: None that I know will be, much that I fear may
Good morrow to you. Here the street is narrow:
The throng that follows Caesar at the heels,
Of senators, of praetors,
Will crowd a feeble man almost to death:
I’ll get me to a place more void, and there
Speak to great Caesar as he comes along.
PORTIA: I must go in. Ay me! how weak a
The heart of woman is. O Brutus!
The heavens speed thee in thine enterprise.
Sure, the boy heard me: Brutus hath a suit
That Caesar will not grant. O! I grow
Run, Lucius, and commend me to my lord;
Say I am merry: come to me again,
And bring me word what he doth say to thee. [Exeunt,
Act 3, Scene 1
Rome. Before the capitol;
the senate sitting above.
[Before . . . . above: In front
of the capitol, where the senate meets]
A crowd of People; among them ARTEMIDORUS and the
Enter CAESAR, BRUTUS, CASSIUS, CASCA, DECIUS, METELLUS, TREBONIUS,
CINNA, ANTONY, LEPIDUS, POPILIUS, PUBLIUS, and Others.
CAESAR: [To the Soothsayer.] The ides of March are
SOOTHSAYER: Ay, Caesar; but not gone.
ARTEMIDORUS: Hail, Caesar! Read this schedule [document].
DECIUS: Trebonius doth desire you to
At your best leisure, this his humble suit.
ARTEMIDORUS: O Caesar! read mine first; for mine’s a
That touches Caesar nearer. Read it, great
CAESAR: What touches us ourself shall be last
ARTEMIDORUS: Delay not, Caesar; read it
CAESAR: What! is the fellow mad?
PUBLIUS: Sirrah [fellow;
mister], give place [move
out of the way].
CAESAR: What! urge you your petitions in the
Come to the Capitol.
CAESAR goes up to the Senate-House, the rest following. All
the Senators rise.
Pop. I wish your enterprise to-day may
CASSIUS: What enterprise, Popilius?
Pop. Fare you well. [Advances to
BRUTUS: What said Popilius Lena?
CASSIUS: He wish’d to-day our enterprise might
I fear our purpose is discovered.
BRUTUS: Look, how he makes [goes]
to Caesar: mark him.
CASSIUS: Casca, be sudden, for we fear prevention [action to prevent the conspirators
from killing Caesar].
Brutus, what shall be done? If this be known,
Cassius or Caesar never shall turn back,
For I will slay myself.
[If this . . . turn back: If
people know about our plot against Caesar, we must kill him
quickly. If we fail to do so, I will kill myself.]
BRUTUS: Cassius, be constant:
[be constant: Don't get panicky.
Stick to our plan.]
Popilius Lena speaks not of our purposes;
For, look, he smiles, and Caesar doth not
CASSIUS: Trebonius knows his time; for, look you,
He draws Mark Antony out of the way. [Exeunt ANTONY and
TREBONIUS. CAESAR and the Senators take their
DECIUS: Where is Metellus Cimber? Let him
And presently prefer his suit to Caesar.
[Let him . . . to Caesar: He
should go to Caesar and present a petition.]
BRUTUS: He is address’d; press near and second
[He is . . . him: Someone is
talking to him. Go over and support his petition.]
CINNA: Casca, you are the first that rears your
Caesar: Are we all ready? What is now
That Caesar and his senate must redress?
[What is . . . redress: What
petition or problem should I first consider?]
METELLUS: Most high, most mighty, and most puissant [powerful]
Metellus Cimber throws before thy seat
A humble heart,— [Kneeling.
CAESAR: I must prevent thee, Cimber.
These couchings [bows]
and these lowly courtesies,
Might fire the blood of ordinary men,
And turn pre-ordinance and first decree
Into the law of children. Be not fond,
To think that Caesar bears such rebel blood
That will be thaw’d from the true quality
With that which melteth fools; I mean sweet
Low-crooked curtsies, and base spaniel fawning.
[And turn . . . fawning: And turn
established laws into rules that a child can change at whim. Be
not so ignorant to think that you can change my mind with
arguments that appeal to fools—arguments presented with
flattery, bows, and the base fawning of a dog that wags its tail
and whines for attention.]
Thy brother by decree is banished:
If thou dost bend and pray and fawn for him,
I spurn thee like a cur out of my way.
Know, Caesar doth not wrong, nor without cause
Will he be satisfied.
METELLUS: Is there no voice more worthy than my
To sound more sweetly in great Caesar’s ear
For the repealing of my banish’d brother?
BRUTUS: I kiss thy hand, but not in flattery,
Desiring thee, that Publius Cimber may
Have an immediate freedom of repeal.
[that Publius . . . repeal: that
you will cancel the sentence of banishment for Metellus Cimber's
brother, Publius. (Brutus kneels while making his plea.)]
CAESAR: What, Brutus!
CASSIUS: Pardon, Caesar; Caesar, pardon:
As low as to thy foot doth Cassius fall,
To beg enfranchisement [freedom;
release] for Publius Cimber.
CAESAR: I could be well mov’d if I were as
If I could pray to move, prayers would move me;
But I am constant as the northern star,
Of whose true-fix’d and resting quality
There is no fellow [no similar
star; no duplicate or twin] in the
The skies are painted with unnumber’d sparks [stars, comets, etc.],
They are all fire and every one doth shine,
But there’s but one in all doth hold his place:
So, in the world; ’tis furnish’d well with men,
And men are flesh and blood, and apprehensive;
Yet in the number I do know but one
That unassailable holds on his rank,
Unshak’d of motion: and that I am he,
[Unshak'd . . . motion: Unshaken
in his resolve. (Caesar says he will not change his mind.)]
Let me a little show it, even in this,
That I was constant Cimber should be banish’d,
And constant do remain to keep him so.
CINNA: O Caesar,—
CAESAR: Hence! Wilt thou lift up Olympus!
[Hence! . . . Olympus: Go away!
Even if you lifted Mount Olympus, I would not change my mind.]
DECIUS: Great Caesar,—
CAESAR: Doth not Brutus bootless [futilely; in vain]
[Doth . . . kneel: Can't
you see that even Brutus, kneeling, has failed to persuade me?]
CASCA: Speak, hands, for me! [They stab
CAESAR: Et tu, Brute? Then fall, Caesar!
[Et tu Brute (pronounced et too
BROO tay): Latin for "And you, Brutus?" Caesar is expressing his
surprise that his supposed friend is among the assassins.]
CINNA: Liberty! Freedom! Tyranny is dead!
Run hence, proclaim, cry it about the streets.
CASSIUS: Some to the common pulpits, and cry
Places for public speaking, such as streetcorners, squares,
upper windows, the steps of a building]
‘Liberty, freedom, and enfranchisement!’
BRUTUS: People and senators, be not affrighted [afraid];
Fly not; stand still; ambition’s debt is paid.
CASCA: Go to the pulpit, Brutus.
DECIUS: And Cassius too.
BRUTUS: Where’s Publius?
CINNA: Here, quite confounded with this
METELLUS: Stand fast together, lest some friend of
[Stand fast . . . chance—: Stand
together. Some friend of Caesar might come by and—]
BRUTUS: Talk not of standing. Publius, good
There is no harm intended to your person,
Nor to no Roman else; so tell them, Publius.
CASSIUS: And leave us, Publius; lest that the
Rushing on us, should do your age some mischief.
BRUTUS: Do so; and let no man abide [be blamed for] this
But we the doers.
CASSIUS: Where’s Antony?
Tre. Fled to his house amaz’d.
Men, wives and children stare, cry out and run
As it were doomsday.
BRUTUS: Fates, we will know your
That we shall die, we know; ’tis but the time
And drawing days out, that men stand upon.
[Fates . . . stand upon: We all
know that we will die eventually. But only fate knows when and
how we will die. Men think all the time about what it will be
like at the moment of death.]
CASCA: Why, he that cuts off twenty years of
Cuts off so many years of fearing death.
BRUTUS: Grant that, and then is death a
So are we Caesar’s friends, that have abridg’d [shortened]
His time of fearing death. Stoop, Romans, stoop,
And let us bathe our hands in Caesar’s blood
Up to the elbows, and besmear our swords:
Then walk we forth, even to the market-place;
And waving our red weapons o’er our heads,
Let’s all cry, ‘Peace, freedom, and liberty!’
CASSIUS: Stoop, then, and wash. How many ages
Shall this our lofty scene be acted o’er [be acted again],
In states unborn and accents yet unknown!
BRUTUS: How many times shall Caesar bleed in
That now on Pompey’s basis lies along
No worthier than the dust!
[How many . . . dust!: How
many times shall Caesar bleed in stage dramas—he who now lies
stretched out, no worthier than dust, at the base of Pompey's
CASSIUS: So oft as that shall be,
So often shall the knot of us be call’d
The men that gave their country liberty.
DECIUS: What! shall we forth?
CASSIUS: Ay, every man away:
Brutus shall lead; and we will grace his heels
With the most boldest and best hearts of Rome.
Enter a Servant.
BRUTUS: Soft! [just a
moment; wait a second] who comes here? A friend of
SERVANT: Thus, Brutus, did my master bid me
Thus did Mark Antony bid me fall down;
And, being prostrate, thus he bade me say:
Brutus is noble, wise, valiant, and honest;
Caesar was mighty, bold, royal, and loving:
Say I love Brutus, and I honour him;
[Say I . . . him: Tell Brutus I
love and honor him.]
Say I fear’d Caesar, honour’d him, and lov’d
If Brutus will vouchsafe [guarantee]
May safely come to him, and be resolv’d [informed]
How Caesar hath deserv’d to lie in death,
Mark Antony shall not love Caesar dead
So well as Brutus living; but will follow
The fortunes and affairs of noble Brutus
Thorough [through] the
hazards of this untrod state [hazards
that the future presents]
With all true faith. So says my master Antony.
BRUTUS: Thy master is a wise and valiant
I never thought him worse.
Tell him, so please him come unto this place,
He shall be satisfied; and, by my honour,
SERVANT: I’ll fetch him presently [without delay]. [Exit.
BRUTUS: I know that we shall have him well to
[we . . . friend: We shall be
CASSIUS: I wish we may: but yet have I a
That fears him much; and my misgiving still
Falls shrewdly to the purpose.
[and my . . . purpose: And my
concern makes me wonder what purpose there is in receiving him.]
Re-enter ANTONY. 165
BRUTUS: But here comes Antony. Welcome, Mark
ANTONY: O mighty Caesar! dost thou lie so
Are all thy conquests, glories, triumphs,
Shrunk to this little measure? Fare thee well.
I know not, gentlemen, what you intend,
Who else must be let blood [must
be killed], who else is rank:
If I myself, there is no hour so fit
[If I myself: If I myself am a
As Caesar’s death’s hour, nor no instrument
Of half that worth as those your swords, made
With the most noble blood of all this world.
[no instrument . . . world: No
weapon to kill me is worth half as much as your swords, for they
have been enriched with the noble blood of Caesar.]
I do beseech [beg] ye, if
ye bear me hard,
Now, whilst your purpled hands do reek and
Fulfil your pleasure. Live [If I
live] a thousand years,
I shall not find myself so apt to die:
No place will please me so, no mean [means] of death,
As here by Caesar, and by you cut off,
The choice and master spirits of this age.
[here by . . . age: Here, next to
Caesar, killed by you, who are the masters of the new Rome.]
BRUTUS: O Antony! beg not your death of
Though now we must appear bloody and cruel,
As, by our hands and this our present act,
You see we do, yet see you but our hands
And this the bleeding business they have done:
Our hearts you see not; they are pitiful;
And pity to the general wrong of Rome—
As fire drives out fire, so pity pity—
Hath done this deed on Caesar. For your part,
To you our swords have leaden points, Mark Antony;
[Though now . . . points, Mark
Antony: Right now, we appear bloody and cruel to you, as the
blood on our hands suggests. But you see only our hands, not our
hearts. We took no pleasure in assassinating Caesar, but we had
to kill him out of pity for the people of Rome. Caesar was
leading them down the wrong path. For your part, Antony, our
swords have blunted ends. We have no intention of harming you.]
Our arms, in strength of malice, and our hearts
Of brothers’ temper, do receive you in
With all kind love, good thoughts, and
[Our arms . . . reverence: Even
though our weapons can do great harm, our hearts regard you as a
brother. We receive you with love, good thoughts, and
CASSIUS: Your voice shall be as strong as any
In the disposing of new dignities.
[Your voice . . . dignities: Your
voice, Antony, shall be as influential as anyone's in
establishing a new government and dealing with other matters
relating to Caesar's death.]
BRUTUS: Only be patient till we have
The multitude, beside themselves with fear,
And then we will deliver you the cause
Why I, that did love Caesar when I struck him,
Have thus proceeded.
ANTONY: I doubt not of your wisdom.
Let each man render me his bloody hand:
First, Marcus Brutus, will I shake with you;
Next, Caius Cassius, do I take your hand;
Now, Decius Brutus, yours; now yours, Metellus;
Yours, Cinna; and, my valiant Casca, yours;
Though last, not least in love, yours, good
Gentlemen all,—alas! what shall I say?
My credit [character;
credibility] now stands on such slippery
That one of two bad ways you must conceit [regard] me,
Either a coward or a flatterer.
That I did love thee, Caesar, O! ’tis true:
If then thy spirit look upon us now,
Shall it not grieve thee dearer than thy death,
To see thy Antony making his peace,
Shaking the bloody fingers of thy foes,
Most noble! [spoken with irony]
in the presence of thy corse [corpse]?
Had I as many eyes as thou hast wounds,
Weeping as fast as they stream forth thy blood,
It would become me better than to close
In terms of friendship with thine enemies.
[close . . . enemies: Make
friends with your enemies]
Pardon me, Julius! Here wast thou bay’d, brave hart;
[Here . . . hart: Antony uses
figurative language here, comparing the assassins to baying
hounds and Caesar to a male deer (hart).]
Here didst thou fall; and here thy hunters
Sign’d in thy spoil, and crimson’d in thy lethe
[Sign'd . . . lethe: Stained with
your river of blood]
O world! thou wast the forest to this hart;
And this, indeed, O world! the heart of thee.
[And this . . . these: And Caesar
was the heart of the world.]
How like a deer, strucken [struck;
stabbed] by many princes,
Dost thou here lie!
CASSIUS: Mark Antony,—
ANTONY: Pardon me, Caius Cassius:
The enemies of Caesar shall say this;
Then, in a friend, it is cold modesty.
[The enemies . . . modesty:
Caesar's enemies will say what I just said. But, coming from a
friend, my words will be regarded as cold and unfeeling.]
CASSIUS: I blame you not for praising Caesar
But what compact mean you to have with us?
Will you be prick’d in number of our friends,
Or shall we on, and not depend on you?
[But what . . . on you?: But what
agreement do you want to make with us? Will you be counted as
one of our friends, or should we carry on without you?]
ANTONY: Therefore I took your hands, but was
Sway’d from the point by looking down on Caesar.
[Sway'd . . . point: Distracted.]
Friends am I with you all, and love you all,
Upon this hope, that you shall give me reasons
Why and wherein Caesar was dangerous.
BRUTUS: Or else were this a savage
[Or . . . spectacle: This would
be a savage spectacle—and that's all—if we didn't have good
reasons for killing Caesar.]
Our reasons are so full of good regard
That were you, Antony, the son of Caesar,
You should be satisfied.
ANTONY: That’s all I seek:
And am moreover suitor that I may
[And . . . may: And I ask also
that I may be allowed to]
Produce his body to the market place;
And in the pulpit,
as becomes a friend,
Speak in the order of his funeral.
BRUTUS: You shall, Mark Antony.
CASSIUS: Brutus, a word with you.
[Aside to BRUTUS.] You know not what you do; do not
That Antony speak in his funeral:
Know you how much the people may be mov’d
By that which he will utter?
BRUTUS: By your pardon;
I will myself into the pulpit first,
And show the reason of our Caesar’s death:
What Antony shall speak, I will protest [say; make it clear]
He speaks by [by our]
leave and by permission,
And that we are contented Caesar shall
Have all true rites and lawful ceremonies.
It shall advantage [help us]
more than do us wrong.
CASSIUS: I know not what may fall [happen]; I like it not.
BRUTUS: Mark Antony, here, take you Caesar’s
You shall not in your funeral speech blame us,
But speak all good you can devise of Caesar,
And say you do ’t by our permission;
Else shall you not have any hand at all
About his funeral; and you shall speak
In the same pulpit whereto I am going,
After my speech is ended.
ANTONY: Be it so;
I do desire no more.
BRUTUS: Prepare the body then, and follow us. [Exeunt
all but ANTONY.
ANTONY: O! pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth [bleeding body of Caesar],
That I am meek and gentle with these butchers;
Thou art the ruins of the noblest man
That ever lived in the tide of times.
Woe to the hand that shed this costly blood;
Over thy wounds now do I prophesy,
Which like dumb mouths [reference
to the wounds] do ope [open]
their ruby lips,
To beg the voice and utterance of my tongue,
A curse shall light upon the limbs of men;
Domestic fury and fierce civil strife
[Domestic . . . strife: Civil
Shall cumber [afflict; burden]
all the parts of Italy;
Blood and destruction shall be so in use [so commonplace],
And dreadful objects [bloody
objects and scenes] so familiar,
That mothers shall but smile when they behold
Their infants quarter’d [butchered]
with the hands of war;
All pity chok’d with custom of fell deeds:
[All pity . . . deeds:
After witnessing so many cruel and ghastly deeds, people will
lose their ability to feel pity.]
And Caesar’s spirit, ranging for revenge,
With Ate by his side come hot from hell,
[Ate: Atë, a goddess of destruction, ruin, and
vengeance in Greek mythology]
Shall in these confines [boundaries
Rome] with a monarch’s voice
Cry ‘Havoc!’ and let slip the dogs of war;
[Cry . . . war: Caesar will cry,
"Show them no mercy." Then he will unleash the dogs of war.]
That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
With carrion men, groaning for burial.
[carrion men: The rotting flesh
Enter a Servant.
You serve Octavius Caesar, do you not?
[Octavius Caesar: Grandson of
Julia, sister of Julius Caesar. Julius Caesar adopted him.
Octavius, also called Octavius, ruled Rome as emperor from 27 BC
to AD 14.]
SERVANT: I do, Mark Antony.
ANTONY: Caesar did write for him to come to
SERVANT: He did receive his letters, and is
And bid me say to you by word of mouth— [Seeing the
ANTONY: Thy heart is big, get thee apart [go somewhere] and
Passion, I see, is catching; for mine eyes,
Seeing those beads of sorrow stand in thine,
Began to water. Is thy master coming?
SERVANT: He lies to-night within seven leagues (21 miles, or 33.6 kilometers)
ANTONY: Post back [return
to him] with speed, and tell him what hath chanc’d [happened]:
Here is a mourning Rome, a dangerous Rome,
No Rome of safety for Octavius yet;
Hie hence and tell him so. Yet, stay awhile;
Thou shalt not back till I have borne this
Into the market-place; there shall I try [test],
In my oration, how the people take
The cruel issue [deed] of
these bloody men;
According to the which thou shalt discourse
To young Octavius of the state of things.
Lend me your hand. [Exeunt, with CAESAR’S
Act 3, Scene 2
The Forum. [The social, political, and
commercial heart of ancient Rome. Temples and public buildings,
including the senate house, lined its walkway.]
Enter BRUTUS and CASSIUS, and a throng of citizens.
Citizens. We will be satisfied: let us be
BRUTUS: Then follow me, and give me audience,
Cassius, go you into the other street,
And part the numbers.
[part . . . numbers: Separate the
people into two groups.]
Those that will hear me speak, let ’em stay
Those that will follow Cassius, go with him;
And public reasons shall be rendered
Of Caesar’s death.
FIRST CITIZEN: I will hear Brutus speak.
SECOND CITIZEN: I will hear Cassius; and compare their
When severally we hear them rendered. [Exit CASSIUS, with
some of the Citizens; BRUTUS goes into the
[Lines 11 and 12: The first
citizen will hear what Brutus says while the second listens to
Cassius. Then the citizens will compare the reasons Brutus gave
with those of Cassius.]
THIRD CITIZEN: The noble Brutus is ascended:
BRUTUS: Be patient till the last.
Romans, countrymen, and lovers! hear me for my cause; and be
silent, that you may hear: believe me for mine honour, and have
respect to mine honour, that you may believe: censure me in your
wisdom, and awake your senses, that you may the better judge. If
there be any in this assembly, any dear friend of Caesar’s, to him
I say, that Brutus’ love to Caesar was no less than his. If then
that friend demand why Brutus rose against Caesar, this is my
answer: Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more.
Had you rather Caesar were living, and die all slaves, than that
Caesar were dead, to live all free men? [If Caesar were still alive, you would all be slaves. Now
that Caesar is dead, you are all free men. Which would you
rather be, slaves or free men?] As Caesar loved me, I
weep for him; as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was
valiant, I honour him; but, as he was ambitious [ambitious to become absolute ruler],
I slew him. There is tears for his love; joy for his fortune;
honour for his valour; and death for his ambition. Who is here so
base that would be a bondman [slave]?
If any, speak; for him have I offended. Who is here so rude [savage; barbarous] that would
not be a Roman? If any, speak; for him have I offended. Who is
here so vile that will not love his country? If any, speak; for
him have I offended. I pause for a reply.
Citizens. None, Brutus, none.
BRUTUS: Then none have I offended. I have done no more to
Caesar, than you shall do to Brutus. The question of [reason for] his death is
enrolled [written down]
in the Capitol; his glory not extenuated [lessened], wherein he was
worthy, nor his offences enforced [emphasized], for which he suffered
Enter ANTONY and Others, with CAESAR’S body.
Here comes his body, mourned by Mark Antony: who, though he had no
hand in his death, shall receive the benefit of his dying, a place
in the common wealth; as which of you shall not? With this I
depart: that, as I slew my best lover for the good of Rome, I have
the same dagger for myself, when it shall please my country to
need my death.
Citizens. Live, Brutus! live! live!
FIRST CITIZEN: Bring him with triumph home unto his
SECOND CITIZEN: Give him a statue with his
THIRD CITIZEN: Let him be Caesar.
FOURTH CITIZEN: Caesar’s better parts
Shall be crown’d in Brutus.
FIRST CITIZEN: We’ll bring him to his house with shouts and
BRUTUS: My countrymen,—
SECOND CITIZEN: Peace! silence! Brutus
FIRST CITIZEN: Peace, ho!
BRUTUS: Good countrymen, let me depart
And, for my sake, stay here with Antony.
Do grace to Caesar’s corpse, and grace his
Tending to Caesar’s glories, which Mark Antony,
By our permission, is allow’d to make.
I do entreat you, not a man depart,
Save I alone, till Antony have spoke.
FIRST CITIZEN: Stay, ho! and let us hear Mark
THIRD CITIZEN: Let him go up into the public
We’ll hear him. Noble Antony, go up.
ANTONY: For Brutus’ sake, I am beholding [beholden; indebted] to
you. [Goes up.
FOURTH CITIZEN: What does he say of
THIRD CITIZEN: He says, for Brutus’ sake,
He finds himself beholding to us all.
FOURTH CITIZEN: ’Twere best he speak no harm of Brutus
FIRST CITIZEN: This Caesar was a tyrant.
THIRD CITIZEN: Nay, that’s certain:
We are bless’d that Rome is rid of him.
SECOND CITIZEN: Peace! let us hear what Antony can
ANTONY: You gentle Romans,—
Citizens. Peace, ho! let us hear him.
ANTONY: Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them,
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious;
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Caesar answer’d it.
Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest,—
For Brutus is an honourable man;
So are they all, all honourable men,—
Come I to speak in Caesar’s funeral.
He was my friend, faithful and just to me:
But Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
He [Caesar] hath brought
many captives home to Rome,
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill:
[Whose ransoms . . . fill: Whose
ransoms filled the Roman treasury, to the benefit of all
Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?
When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept;
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
You all did see that on the Lupercal
I thrice presented him a kingly crown,
Which he did thrice refuse: was this ambition?
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And, sure, he is an honourable man.
I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke,
But here I am to speak what I do know.
You all did love him once, not without cause:
What cause withholds you then to mourn for him?
O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And men have lost their reason. Bear with me;
My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar,
And I must pause till it come back to me.
FIRST CITIZEN: Methinks there is much reason in his
SECOND CITIZEN: If thou consider rightly of the
Caesar has had great wrong.
[has . . . wrong: Has been the
victim of great wrong]
THIRD CITIZEN: Has he, masters?
I fear there will a worse come in his place.
[I fear . . . place: I fear
someone worse will take his place.]
FOURTH CITIZEN: Mark’d ye his [Antony's] words? He [Caesar] would not take the
Therefore ’tis certain he was not ambitious.
FIRST CITIZEN: If it be found so, some will dear abide
[some . . . it: Brutus and the
other assassins will pay a price for what they did.]
SECOND CITIZEN: Poor soul! his [Antony's] eyes are red as fire with
THIRD CITIZEN: There’s not a nobler man in Rome than
FOURTH CITIZEN: Now mark him; he begins again to
ANTONY: But yesterday the word of Caesar
Have stood against the world; now lies he there,
And none so poor to do him reverence.
[And none . . . reverence:
And everyone reveres him.]
O masters! if I were dispos’d to stir
Your hearts and minds to mutiny and rage,
I should do Brutus wrong, and Cassius wrong,
Who, you all know, are honourable men.
I will not do them wrong; I rather choose
To wrong the dead, to wrong myself, and you,
Than I will wrong such honourable men.
But here’s a parchment with the seal of Caesar;
I found it in his closet, ’tis his will.
Let but the commons [common
people] hear this testament—
Which, pardon me, I do not mean to read—
And they would go and kiss dead Caesar’s wounds,
And dip their napkins in his sacred blood,
Yea, beg a hair of him for memory,
And, dying, mention it within their wills,
Bequeathing it as a rich legacy
Unto their issue [children].
FOURTH CITIZEN: We’ll hear the will: read it, Mark
CITIZENS: The will, the will! we will hear Caesar’s
ANTONY: Have patience, gentle friends; I must not read
It is not meet you know how Caesar lov’d you.
You are not wood, you are not stones, but men;
And, being men, hearing the will of Caesar,
It will inflame you, it will make you mad.
’Tis good you know not that you are his heirs;
For if you should, O! what would come of it.
FOURTH CITIZEN: Read the will! we’ll hear it,
You shall read us the will, Caesar’s will.
ANTONY: Will you be patient? Will you stay
I have o’ershot myself to tell you of it.
[ I have . . . of it: Perhaps I
went too far when I told you about the will.]
I fear I wrong the honourable men
Whose daggers have stabb’d Caesar; I do fear it.
FOURTH CITIZEN: They were traitors: honourable
CITIZENS: The will! the testament!
SECOND CITIZEN: They were villains, murderers. The will!
read the will.
ANTONY: You will compel me then to read the
Then make a ring about the corpse of Caesar,
And let me show you him that made the will.
Shall I descend? and will you give me leave?
CITIZENS: Come down.
SECOND CITIZEN: Descend. [ANTONY comes
THIRD CITIZEN: You shall have leave.
FOURTH CITIZEN: A ring; stand round.
FIRST CITIZEN: Stand from the hearse; stand from the
SECOND CITIZEN: Room for Antony; most noble
ANTONY: Nay, press not so upon me; stand far
Citizens. Stand back! room! bear back!
ANTONY: If you have tears, prepare to shed them
You all do know this mantle [cloak]:
The first time ever Caesar put it on;
’Twas on a summer’s evening, in his tent,
That day he overcame the Nervii [fierce
tribe defeated by Caesar].
Look! in this place ran Cassius’ dagger through:
See what a rent the envious Casca made:
Through this the well-beloved Brutus stabb’d;
And, as he pluck’d his cursed steel away,
Mark how the blood of Caesar follow’d it,
As rushing out of doors, to be resolv’d
If Brutus so unkindly knock’d or no;
[As rushing . . . or no: As if it
were rushing outside to find out whether it was Brutus who
knocked so unkindly at the door (inflicted the wound)].
For Brutus, as you know, was Caesar’s angel:
Judge, O you gods! how dearly Caesar lov’d him.
This was the most unkindest cut of all;
[most unkindest: Double
superlatives such as most unkindest appear frequently in
Shakespeare's works. In Shakespeare's age, the rules of grammar
had not been fully developed. Double superlatives (as well as
double comparatives, such as more
stronger) were generally acceptable.]
For when the noble Caesar saw him stab,
Ingratitude, more strong than traitors’ arms,
Quite vanquish’d him: then burst his mighty
And, in his mantle [cloak]
muffling [wrapping] up
Even at the base of Pompey’s statua,
Which [refers to mantle] all the while ran blood,
great Caesar fell.
O! what a fall was there, my countrymen;
Then I, and you, and all of us fell down,
Whilst bloody treason flourish’d over us.
O! now you weep, and I perceive you feel
The dint [power; force]
of pity; these are gracious drops.
Kind souls; what! weep you when you but behold
Our Caesar’s vesture [cloak;
cloathing] wounded? Look you here,
Here is himself, marr’d, as you see, with
FIRST CITIZEN: O piteous spectacle!
SECOND CITIZEN: O noble Caesar!
THIRD CITIZEN: O woeful day!
FOURTH CITIZEN: O traitors! villains!
FIRST CITIZEN: O most bloody sight!
SECOND CITIZEN: We will be revenged.
Fire!—Kill!—Slay! Let not a traitor live.
ANTONY: Stay, countrymen!
FIRST CITIZEN: Peace there! Hear the noble
SECOND CITIZEN: We’ll hear him, we’ll follow him, we’ll die
ANTONY: Good friends, sweet friends, let me not stir you
To such a sudden flood of mutiny.
They that have done this deed are honourable:
What private griefs they have, alas! I know not,
That made them do it; they are wise and
And will, no doubt, with reasons answer you.
I come not, friends, to steal away your hearts:
I am no orator, as Brutus is;
But, as you know me all, a plain blunt man,
That love my friend; and that they know full
That gave me public leave to speak of him.
For I have neither wit [intelligence
wisdom], nor words, nor worth,
Action, nor utterance, nor the power of speech,
To stir men’s blood: I only speak right on;
I tell you that which you yourselves do know,
Show you sweet Caesar’s wounds, poor poor dumb mouths [reference to wounds],
And bid them speak for me: but were I Brutus,
And Brutus Antony, there were an Antony
Would ruffle up your spirits, and put a tongue
In every wound of Caesar, that should move
The stones of Rome to rise and mutiny.
Citizens. We’ll mutiny.
FIRST CITIZEN: We’ll burn the house of
THIRD CITIZEN: Away, then! come, seek the
ANTONY: Yet hear me, countrymen; yet hear me
CITIZENS: Peace, ho!—Hear Antony,—most noble
ANTONY: Why, friends, you go to do you know not
Wherein hath Caesar thus deserv’d your loves?
[What proof is there that Caesar
deserved your love?]
Alas! you know not: I must tell you then.
You have forgot the will I told you of.
CITIZENS: Most true. The will! let’s stay and hear the
ANTONY: Here is the will, and under Caesar’s
To every Roman citizen he gives,
To every several man, seventy-five drachmas.
SECOND CITIZEN: Most noble Caesar! we’ll revenge his
THIRD CITIZEN: O royal Caesar!
ANTONY: Hear me with patience.
Citizens. Peace, ho!
ANTONY: Moreover, he hath left you all his
His private arbours, and new-planted orchards,
On this side Tiber; he hath left them you,
[On this . . . you: On this side
of the Tiber river; he has left them to you.]
And to your heirs for ever; common pleasures,
To walk abroad, and recreate [enjoy]
Here was a Caesar! when comes such another?
FIRST CITIZEN: Never, never! Come, away,
We’ll burn his body in the holy place,
And with the brands fire the traitors’ houses.
Take up the body.
SECOND CITIZEN: Go fetch fire.
THIRD CITIZEN: Pluck down benches.
FOURTH CITIZEN: Pluck down forms, windows, any thing.
[Exeunt Citizens, with the body.
ANTONY: Now let it work: mischief, thou art
Take thou what course thou wilt!
Enter a Servant,
How now, fellow!
SERVANT: Sir, Octavius is already come to
ANTONY: Where is he?
SERVANT: He and Lepidus are at Caesar’s
ANTONY: And thither [there]
will I straight [go] to
He comes upon a wish. Fortune is merry,
And in this mood will give us any thing.
SERVANT: I heard him say Brutus and
Are rid like madmen through the gates of Rome.
ANTONY: Belike they had some notice of the
How I had mov’d them. Bring me to Octavius.
Act 3, Scene 3
Rome. A street.
Enter CINNA, a poet.
CINNA: I dreamt to-night that I did feast with
And things unlucky charge my fantasy:
I have no will to wander forth of doors,
Yet something leads me forth.
FIRST CITIZEN: What is your name?
SECOND CITIZEN: Whither [where]
are you going?
THIRD CITIZEN: Where do you dwell?
FOURTH CITIZEN: Are you a married man, or a
SECOND CITIZEN: Answer every man directly.
FIRST CITIZEN: Ay, and briefly.
FOURTH CITIZEN: Ay, and wisely.
THIRD CITIZEN: Ay, and truly, you were best [best to do so].
CINNA: What is my name? Whither am I going? Where do I
dwell? Am I a married man, or a bachelor? Then, to answer every
man directly and briefly, wisely and truly: wisely I say, I am a
SECOND CITIZEN: That’s as much as to say, they are fools
that marry; you’ll bear me a bang for that, I fear. Proceed;
CINNA: Directly, I am going to Caesar’s funeral.
FIRST CITIZEN: As a friend or an enemy?
CINNA: As a friend.
SECOND CITIZEN: That matter is answered
FOURTH CITIZEN: For your dwelling, briefly.
CINNA: Briefly, I dwell by the Capitol.
THIRD CITIZEN: Your name, sir, truly.
CINNA: Truly, my name is Cinna.
SECOND CITIZEN: Tear him to pieces; he’s a
CINNA: I am Cinna the poet, I am Cinna the poet.
FOURTH CITIZEN: Tear him for his bad verses, tear him for
his bad verses.
CINNA: I am not Cinna the conspirator.
SECOND CITIZEN: It is no matter, his name’s Cinna; pluck but
his name out of his heart, and turn him going.
THIRD CITIZEN: Tear him, tear him! Come, brands, ho!
firebrands! To Brutus’ [Brutus's
house], to Cassius’ [Cassius's
house]; burn all. Some to Decius’ house, and some to
Casca’s; some to Ligarius’. Away! go! [Exeunt.
Act 4, Scene 1
Rome. A room in Antony's
ANTONY, OCTAVIUS, and LEPIDUS, seated at a table.
ANTONY: These many then shall die; their names are prick’d [marked; selected; written].
OCTAVIUS: Your brother too must die; consent you,
LEPIDUS: I do consent.
[The brother of Lepidus was
Lucius Aemilius Lepidus Paullus, who held high offices in the
decade preceding Caesar's death. Lucius sided with the
OCTAVIUS: Prick him down, Antony.
LEPIDUS: Upon condition Publius shall not
Who is your sister’s son, Mark Antony.
ANTONY: He shall not live; look, with a spot [mark next to his name] I damn
But, Lepidus, go you to Caesar’s house;
Fetch the will hither, and we shall determine
How to cut off some charge in legacies.
[How . . . legacies: How to cut
back on the bequests in the will]
LEPIDUS: What! shall I find you here?
OCTAVIUS: Or here or at the Capitol. [Exit
ANTONY: This is a slight unmeritable man,
Meet to be sent on errands: is it fit,
The three-fold world divided, he should stand
One of the three to share it?
[This is . . . share it?:
Lepidus lacks what it takes to be a leader. He's nothing more
than an errand boy. Is it wise to allow him to share rulership
of Rome with you and me?]
OCTAVIUS: So you thought him;
And took his voice who should be prick’d to die,
[So you . . . proscription: You
were the one who said he should rule with us. And you followed
his advice on who should be marked for death.]
In our black sentence [death
sentence] and proscription [marking someone as criminal deserving death].
ANTONY: Octavius, I
have seen more days than you:
And though we lay these honours on this man,
To ease ourselves of divers [diverse;
various] slanderous loads [burdens],
He shall but bear them as the ass bears gold,
To groan and sweat under the business,
Either led or driven, as we point the way;
And having brought our treasure where we will,
Then take we down his load, and turn him off,
Like to the empty ass, to shake his ears,
And graze in commons [fields
open to all citizens for the grazing of their animals].
OCTAVIUS: You may do your will;
But he’s a tried and valiant soldier.
ANTONY: So is my horse, Octavius; and for
I do appoint him store of provender.
[I do . . . provender: I do
approve of giving him as much fodder as he can eat.]
It is a creature that I teach to fight,
To wind [to turn this way or
that], to stop, to run directly on,
His corporal motion [motion of
his body] govern’d by my spirit [will; what I say].
And, in some taste, is Lepidus but so;
[And . . . so: And, in a way,
Lepidus is like an animal.]
He must be taught, and train’d, and bid go
A barren-spirited [empty-headed]
fellow; one that feeds
On abject orts, and imitations,
Which, out of use and stal’d by other men,
Begin his fashion: do not talk of him
[feeds . . . fashion: Occupies
himself with worthless or imitation arts and fashions that other
men abandoned long ago]
But as a property. And now, Octavius,
Listen great things: Brutus and Cassius
Are levying powers [raising
armies]; we must straight make head [mobilize our own armies];
Therefore let our alliance be combin’d,
Our best friends made, and our best means stretch’d
And let us presently go sit in council,
How covert matters may be best disclos’d,
And open perils surest answered.
[And let . . . answered: Let us
and our friends convene to discuss what we think our enemies are
planning to do next and how we can best deal with the dangers
OCTAVIUS: Let us do so: for we are at the
And bay’d about with many enemies;
[at the stake . . . enemies: An
allusion to bear-baiting, a popular pastime in Shakespeare's
day. In an enclosed area, a bear was chained to a stake. Then
dogs were let loose to attack and taunt the bear. It was a
bloody spectacle. Wounded dogs were replaced during the
exhibition. Sometimes the bear was released to attack the dogs.
In this allusion, Octavius compares himself and Antony, as well
as their supporters, to the bears.]
And some that smile have in their hearts, I
Millions of mischiefs. [Exeunt.
Act 4, Scene 2
Camp near Sardis. Before
[Sardis: City in ancient Lydia, a
country in what is now northwestern Turkey. After the
assassination of Caesar, Brutus and Cassius raise armies and
move eastward, crossing the Aegean Sea and entering Asia Minor.
Their armies meet at Sardis.]
Drum. Enter BRUTUS, LUCILIUS, LUCIUS, and Soldiers: TITINIUS
and PINDARUS meet them.
BRUTUS: Stand, ho!
LUCILIUS: Give the word, ho! and stand.
BRUTUS: What now, Lucilius! is Cassius
LUCILIUS: He is at hand; and Pindarus is
To do you salutation from his master. [PINDARUS gives a
letter to BRUTUS.
BRUTUS: He greets me well. Your master,
In his own change, or by ill officers,
Hath given me some worthy cause to wish
Things done, undone; but, if he be at hand,
I shall be satisfied.
[He greets . . . satisfied:
Cassius sent a worthy man to greet me and deliver the letter.
Apparently your master, Pindarus, has changed his mind about
what we are going to do and questions what we already did.
Perhaps he has taken the advice of incompetent officers. If he
is coming my way, I'll speak with him and clear up these
PINDARUS: I do not doubt
But that my noble master will appear [come to you soon]
Such as he is, full of regard and honour.
BRUTUS: He is not doubted. A word,
How he receiv’d you, let me be resolv’d.
[How . . . resolv'd: How did
Cassius receive you? Please let me know.]
LUCILIUS: With courtesy and with respect
But not with such familiar instances
Nor with such free and friendly conference,
As he hath us’d of old.
[As . . . old: As he used to
BRUTUS: Thou hast describ’d
A hot friend cooling. Ever note, Lucilius,
When love begins to sicken and decay,
It useth an enforced ceremony [forced
There are no tricks in plain and simple faith;
[There are . . . faith: Plain and
simple behavior is genuine.]
But hollow [insincere]
men, like horses hot at hand [like
horses that are nervous and restless],
Make gallant show and promise of their mettle [fortitude, spirit, or character];
But when they should endure the bloody spur,
They fall their crests, and, like deceitful
Sink in the trial. Comes his army on?
[But when . . . army on: But when
these men—like horses—feel the prick of the spur, they lose
their spirit and fail to meet the challenge of the moment. Is
his army near?]
LUCILIUS: They mean this night in Sardis to be
The greater part, the horse in general,
Are come with Cassius.
[They mean . . . Cassius: The
army expects to encamp here at Sardis for the night. Cassius is
leading the cavalry.]
BRUTUS: Hark! [Listen! Pay
attention!] he is arriv’d. [Low march
March gently on to meet him.
Enter CASSIUS and Soldiers.
CASSIUS: Stand, ho! [Halt!]
BRUTUS: Stand, ho! Speak the word along.
[Speak . . . along: Tell the
others to halt.]
FIRST SOLDIER: Stand!
SECOND SOLDIER: Stand!
THIRD SOLDIER: Stand!
CASSIUS: Most noble brother, you have done me
BRUTUS: Judge me, you gods! Wrong I mine
And, if not so, how should I wrong a brother?
[Judge . . . brother: I swear by
the gods that I don't even wrong my enemies. How, then, could I
CASSIUS: Brutus, this sober form [calm demeanor] of yours hides
And when you do them—
BRUTUS: Cassius, be content;
Speak your griefs softly: I do know you well.
Before the eyes of both our armies here,
Which should perceive nothing but love from us,
Let us not wrangle: bid them move away;
Then in my tent, Cassius, enlarge your griefs,
And I will give you audience.
Bid our commanders lead their charges off
A little from this ground.
BRUTUS: Lucilius, do you the like; and let no
Come to our tent till we have done our
Let Lucius and Titinius guard our door.
Act 4, Scene 3
Within the tent of
Enter BRUTUS and CASSIUS.
CASSIUS: That you have wrong’d me doth appear in
You have condemn’d and noted [denounced
censured] Lucius Pella
For taking bribes here of the Sardians [residents of Sardis];
Wherein my letters, praying on his side,
Because I knew the man, were slighted off.
BRUTUS: You wrong’d yourself to write in such a case [in support of such a man].
CASSIUS: In such a time as this it is not
That every nice [minor]
offence should bear his comment [should
BRUTUS: Let me tell you, Cassius, you
Are much condemn’d to have an itching palm [a hand greedy for bribes];
To sell and mart [advertise; market; trade] your offices for
CASSIUS: I an itching palm!
You know that you are Brutus that speak this,
Or, by the gods, this speech were else your
[If you were anyone else, I would
kill you for saying that.]
BRUTUS: The name of Cassius honours this
And chastisement doth therefore hide his head.
[You are using your name and
influence to make corruption appear legal and harmless.
Consequently, no one speaks up against the corruption.]
BRUTUS: Remember March, the ides of March
Did not great Julius bleed for justice’ sake?
What villain touch’d his body, that did stab,
And not for justice? What! shall one of us,
That struck the foremost man of all this world
But for supporting robbers, shall we now
Contaminate our fingers with base bribes,
And sell the mighty space of our large honours
For so much trash as may be grasped thus?
[Did not . . . grasped thus:
Didn't we get rid of Caesar for a just cause? Did we strike down
the most important man in the world so that we could rob, take
bribes, and sell high offices?]
I had rather be a dog, and bay the moon,
Than such a Roman.
CASSIUS: Brutus, bay not me [don't
I’ll not endure it: you forget yourself,
To hedge me in. I am a soldier, I,
Older in practice, abler than yourself
To make conditions.
[I am . . . conditions: I am a
more experienced soldier than you and better able to decide who
should occupy a high office.]
BRUTUS: Go to; you are not, Cassius.
[Go . . . Cassius: Hogwash. You
are not the Cassius that I used to know.]
CASSIUS: I am.
BRUTUS: I say you are not.
CASSIUS: Urge me no more, I shall forget
Have mind upon your health; tempt me no further.
[Urge . . . further: Stop
preaching at me or I shall forget my composure and unleash my
rage upon you. Dont' place your life in jeopardy; tempt me no
BRUTUS: Away, slight man!
CASSIUS: Is ’t possible?
BRUTUS: Hear me, for I will speak.
Must I give way and room to your rash choler [anger]?
Shall I be frighted when a madman stares?
CASSIUS: O ye gods! ye gods! Must I endure all
BRUTUS: All this! ay, more: fret till your proud heart
Go show your slaves how choleric [bad-tempered]
And make your bondmen [servants]
tremble. Must I budge?
Must I observe you? Must I stand and crouch
Under your testy humour [mood]?
By the gods,
You shall digest the venom of your spleen [anger; spite],
Though it do split you; for, from this day
I’ll use you for my mirth, yea, for my laughter,
When you are waspish.
CASSIUS: Is it come to this?
BRUTUS: You say you are a better soldier:
Let it appear so; make your vaunting true,
And it shall please me well. For mine own part,
I shall be glad to learn of noble men.
[Let it . . . noble men: Act,
then, like a great soldier. Make what you say about your
soldiery true. I would be pleased. I want to hear about brave
and noble men. Brutus speaks lines 59-61 with sarcasm.]
CASSIUS: You wrong me every way; you wrong me,
I said an elder soldier, not a better:
Did I say, ‘better?’
BRUTUS: If you did, I care not.
CASSIUS: When Caesar liv’d, he durst [dared] not thus have mov’d [provoked]
BRUTUS: Peace, peace! you durst not so have tempted
[you . . . him: You would not
have dared to tempt him.]
CASSIUS: I durst not!
CASSIUS: What! durst not tempt him!
[Cassius is saying he would have
had the courage to say things that would anger Caesar .]
BRUTUS: For your life you durst not.
CASSIUS: Do not presume too much upon my
I may do [something] that
I shall be sorry for.
BRUTUS: You have done that [you
already done what] you should be sorry
There is no terror, Cassius, in your threats;
For I am arm’d so strong in honesty
That they [the threats]
pass by me as the idle wind,
Which I respect not. I did send to you
For certain sums of gold, which you denied me;
For I can raise no money by vile means:
[For I . . . means: For I refuse
to raise money by vile means such as bribery.]
By heaven, I had rather coin my heart,
And drop my blood for drachmas, than to wring
From the hard hands of peasants their vile trash
By any indirection. I did send
[I had rather . . . indirection:
I would rather pay my debts with my heart and blood than to take
money from peasants through vile means.]
To you for gold to pay my legions,
Which you denied me: was that done like Cassius?
Should I have answer’d Caius Cassius so?
[Should I . . . so: Would I have
denied such a request from you?]
When Marcus Brutus grows so covetous,
To lock such rascal counters from his friends,
Be ready, gods, with all your thunderbolts;
Dash him to pieces!
[When Marcus . . . pieces!: When
I become so greedy that I lock up my rascal coins to keep my
friends from getting them, the gods should dash me to pieces
CASSIUS: I denied you not.
BRUTUS: You did.
CASSIUS: I did not: he was but a fool
That brought my answer back. Brutus hath riv’d [torn] my
A friend should bear his friend’s infirmities,
But Brutus makes mine greater than they are.
BRUTUS: I do not, till you practise them on
CASSIUS: You love me not.
BRUTUS: I do not like your faults.
CASSIUS: A friendly eye could never see such
BRUTUS: A flatterer’s would not, though they do
As huge as high Olympus [highest
mountain in Greece].
CASSIUS: Come, Antony, and young Octavius,
Revenge yourselves alone on Cassius,
For Cassius is aweary of the world;
Hated by one he loves; brav’d [mocked]
by his brother [Brutus];
Check’d [scorned] like a
bondman; all his faults observ’d,
Set in a note-book, learn’d, and conn’d [memorized] by rote,
To cast into my teeth. O! I could weep
My spirit from mine eyes. There is my dagger,
And here my naked breast; within, a heart
Dearer than Plutus’ mine, richer than gold:
[Plutus: Greek god of wealth]
If that thou be’st a Roman, take it forth [cut out my heart];
I, that denied thee gold, will give my heart:
Strike, as thou didst at Caesar; for, I know,
When thou didst hate him worst, thou lov’dst him
Than ever thou lov’dst Cassius.
BRUTUS: Sheathe your dagger:
Be angry when you will, it shall have scope [have wide range; do what it wishes];
Do what you will, dishonour shall be humour [shall simply be a mood].
O Cassius! you are yoked with a lamb
That carries anger as the flint bears fire,
Who, much enforced, shows a hasty spark,
And straight is cold again.
[O Cassius . . . cold again: O,
Cassius, you are allied with a peaceful lamb. Like a lamb, I get
angry only for a moment, then become calm again.]
CASSIUS: Hath Cassius liv’d
To be but mirth and laughter to his Brutus,
When grief and blood ill-temper’d vexeth him?
[Hath . . . vexeth him: Have I
lived all this time just so I could be laughed at by you
whenever you're in a bad mood?]
BRUTUS: When I spoke that [when
said those things about you] I was ill-temper’d
CASSIUS: Do you confess so much? Give me your
BRUTUS: And my heart too.
CASSIUS: O Brutus!
BRUTUS: What’s the matter?
CASSIUS: Have not you love enough to bear with
When that rash humour [temper]
which my mother gave me
Makes me forgetful?
BRUTUS: Yes, Cassius; and from henceforth
When you are over-earnest [testy]
with your Brutus,
He’ll think your mother chides, and leave you so. [Noise
[He'll . . . you so: I'll
conclude that it is the mother in you that speaks, and I won't
Poet. [Within.] Let me go in to see the
[Within: Offstage; unseen]
There is some grudge between ’em, ’tis not meet
They be alone.
LUCILIUS: [Within.] You shall not come to
Poet. [Within.] Nothing but death shall stay [prevent]
Enter Poet, followed by LUCILIUS, TITINIUS, and LUCIUS.
CASSIUS: How now! What’s the matter?
Poet. For shame, you generals! What do you
Love, and be friends, as two such men should be;
For I have seen more years, I’m sure, than ye.
CASSIUS: Ha, ha! how vilely doth this cynic
[Cassius criticizes the poet's
rhyming: mean, be, be, seen, ye]
BRUTUS: Get you hence, sirrah [mister, spoken with contempt]; saucy fellow,
CASSIUS: Bear with him, Brutus; ’tis his fashion.
[Bear . . . fashion: Don't be too
harsh with him, Brutus. That's how he always talks.]
BRUTUS: I’ll know his humour, when he knows his
What should the wars do with these jigging
[I'll know . . . hence: I'll
listen to him if he speaks up at the proper time and place. What
should we do with these rhyming fools? Fellow, go away!]
CASSIUS: Away, away! be gone. [Exit
BRUTUS: Lucilius and Titinius, bid the
Prepare to lodge their companies to-night.
CASSIUS: And come [return]
yourselves, and bring
Messala with you,
Immediately to us. [Exeunt LUCILIUS and
BRUTUS: Lucius, a bowl of wine! [Exit
CASSIUS: I did not think you could have been so
BRUTUS: O Cassius! I am sick of many
CASSIUS: Of your philosophy you make no
If you give place to accidental evils.
[Of your . . . evils: You make no
use of your even-tempered philosophy if you allow unexpected
problems to upset you.]
BRUTUS: No man bears sorrow better: Portia is
CASSIUS: Ha! Portia!
BRUTUS: She is dead.
CASSIUS: How ’scap’d I killing when I cross’d you
[How . . . . so?: How did I
escape your wrath when I was quarreling with you?]
O insupportable and touching loss!
Upon what sickness?
BRUTUS: Impatient of my absence,
And grief that young Octavius with Mark Antony
Have made themselves so strong;—for with her
That tidings came:—with this she fell distract,
And, her attendants absent, swallow’d fire.
[Impatient . . . fire:
Worried about my welfare and impatient for my return—and worried
that Octavius and Antony, who were raising armies against us—she
swallowed burning coals. I learned about her death when I
received news of the growing strength of Octavius and Antony.]
CASSIUS: And died so?
BRUTUS: Even so.
CASSIUS: O ye immortal gods!
Enter LUCIUS, with wine and tapers.
BRUTUS: Speak no more of her. Give me a bowl of
In this I bury all unkindness, Cassius.
CASSIUS: My heart is thirsty for that noble
Fill, Lucius, till the wine o’erswell the cup;
I cannot drink too much of Brutus’ love.
BRUTUS: Come in, Titinius. [Exit
Re-enter TITINIUS, with MESSALA.
Welcome, good Messala.
Now sit we close about this taper here,
And call in question our necessities.
[And call . . . necessities: And
discuss what we need to do to combat our enemy]
CASSIUS: Portia, art thou gone?
BRUTUS: No more, I pray you.
Messala, I have here received letters,
That young Octavius and Mark Antony
Come down upon us with a mighty power,
Bending their expedition towards Philippi.
[Philippi: A city in what is now
MESSALA: Myself have letters of the self-same tenour [letters saying the same thing].
BRUTUS: With what addition?
MESSALA: That by proscription and bills of
Octavius, Antony, and Lepidus,
Have put to death an hundred senators.
BRUTUS: Therein our letters do not well
Mine speak of seventy senators that died
By their proscriptions, Cicero being one.
CASSIUS: Cicero one!
MESSALA: Cicero is dead,
And by that order of proscription.
Had you your letters from your wife, my lord?
[Had . . . lord?: Have you
received letters from your wife, my lord?]
BRUTUS: No, Messala.
MESSALA: Nor nothing in your letters writ of
[Nor . . . her?: And wasn't there
anything about her in the letters you have received?]
BRUTUS: Nothing, Messala.
MESSALA: That, methinks, is strange.
BRUTUS: Why ask you? Hear you aught of her in
[Hear . . . yours?: Have you
heard anything about her in your letters?]
MESSALA: No, my lord.
BRUTUS: Now, as you are a Roman, tell me
MESSALA: Then like a Roman bear the truth I
For certain she is dead, and by strange manner.
BRUTUS: Why, farewell, Portia. We must die,
With meditating that she must die once,
I have the patience to endure it now.
[We must . . . now: All of
us must die, Messala. Knowing that death is inevitable, as it
was even for my beloved Portia, I can endure the bad news.
(Brutus, of course, already knows that Portia has died. Thus, he
may be enlarging upon the effect of her death on him.]
MESSALA: Even so great men great losses should
CASSIUS: I have as much of this in art as
But yet my nature could not bear it so.
[I have . . . it so: I understand
your stoic calm, Brutus. But in your place, I would go all to
BRUTUS: Well, to our work alive [to the task at hand]. What do you
Of marching to Philippi presently?
CASSIUS: I do not think it good.
BRUTUS: Your reason?
CASSIUS: This is it:
’Tis better that the enemy seek us:
So shall he waste his means, weary his soldiers,
Doing himself offence; whilst we, lying still,
Are full of rest, defence, and nimbleness.
BRUTUS: Good reasons must, of force, give place to
The people ’twixt [between]
Philippi and this ground
Do stand but in a forc’d affection;
For they have grudg’d us contribution:
The enemy, marching along by them,
By them shall make a fuller number up,
Come on refresh’d, new-added, and encourag’d;
From which advantage shall we cut him off,
If at Philippi we do face him there,
These people at our back.
[The people 'twixt . . . our
back: The people between Philippi and our camp support us only
because we forced them to do so. Grudgingly, they have
contributed to our efforts. But if we allow the armies of
Octavius and Antony to march through their lands, these people
will join those armies, swelling them and giving them new heart.
Therefore, we must prevent our enemies from marching on us here
by attacking them at Philippi. The people between here and
Philippi will be at our back.]
CASSIUS: Hear me, good brother.
BRUTUS: Under your pardon. You must note
That we have tried the utmost of our friends,
Our legions are brim-full, our cause is ripe:
The enemy increaseth every day;
We, at the height, are ready to decline.
[That we . . . decline: That we
have gotten from our friends as many men as we are going to get.
We can no longer add to our ranks; they can only decline. The
enemy, on the other hand, continues to add new men.]
There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat;
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.
CASSIUS: Then, with your will, go on;
We’ll along ourselves, and meet them at Philippi.
[We'll . . . Philippi: My forces
will travel alongside yours, and we will all meet the enemy at
BRUTUS: The deep of night is crept upon our
And nature must obey necessity,
Which we will niggard with a little rest.
[Nature . . . rest: Nature calls
upon us to get a good night's sleep. However, we will cheat
nature by getting only a little rest.]
There is no more to say?
CASSIUS: No more. Good-night:
Early to-morrow will we rise, and hence.
BRUTUS: Lucius! [Brutus
out for Lucius to come in.]
Re-enter LUCIUS. 265
My gown. [Exit LUCIUS.
Farewell, good Messala:
Good-night, Titinius. Noble, noble Cassius,
Good-night, and good repose.
CASSIUS: O my dear brother!
This was an ill beginning of the night:
Never come such division ’tween our souls!
[Never . . . souls: Never again
should such division come between our souls!]
Let it not, Brutus.
BRUTUS: Every thing is well.
CASSIUS: Good-night, my lord.
BRUTUS: Good-night, good brother.
TITINIUS & MESSALA: Good-night, Lord
BRUTUS: Farewell, every one. [Exeunt CASSIUS,
TITINIUS, and MESSALA.
Re-enter LUCIUS, with the gown [nightgown].
Give me the gown. Where is thy instrument [musical instrument, such as a lute]?
LUCIUS: Here in the tent.
BRUTUS: What! thou speak’st drowsily?
Poor knave, I blame thee not; thou art o’er-watch’d [tired from keeping watch].
Call Claudius and some other of my men;
I’ll have them sleep on cushions in my tent.
LUCIUS: Varro! and Claudius!
Enter VARRO and CLAUDIUS.
VARRO: Calls my lord?
BRUTUS: I pray you, sirs, lie in my tent and
It may be I shall raise you by and by
On business to my brother Cassius.
VARRO: So please you, we will stand and watch [at] your
BRUTUS: I will not have it so; lie down, good
It may be I shall otherwise bethink me.
[bethink me: Change my mind]
Look, Lucius, here’s the book I sought for so;
I put it in the pocket of my gown. [VARRO and CLAUDIUS lie
LUCIUS: I was sure your lordship did not give it
BRUTUS: Bear with me, good boy, I am much
Canst thou hold up thy heavy eyes awhile,
And touch thy instrument a strain or two?
LUCIUS: Ay, my lord, an ’t [if
it] please you.
BRUTUS: It does, my boy:
I trouble thee too much, but thou art willing.
LUCIUS: It is my duty, sir.
BRUTUS: I should not urge thy duty past thy might [endurance];
I know young bloods look for a time of rest.
LUCIUS: I have slept, my lord, already.
BRUTUS: It was well done, and thou shalt sleep
I will not hold thee long: if I do live,
I will be good to thee. [Music, and a
This is a sleepy tune: O murderous slumber!
Lay’st thou thy leaden mace upon my boy,
[O murderous . . . boy: Slumber,
who murders care and fatigue, help Lucius to go to sleep.]
That plays thee music? Gentle knave, good-night;
I will not do thee so much wrong to wake thee.
If thou dost nod, thou break’st thy instrument;
I’ll take it from thee; and, good boy,
[If thou . . . from thee: If you
thrash or roll over, you'll break your instrument. So I will
take it from you.]
Let me see, let me see; is not the leaf [page] turn’d down
Where I left reading? Here it is, I think.
Enter the Ghost of CAESAR.
How ill this taper burns! Ha! who comes here?
I think it is the weakness of mine eyes
That shapes this monstrous apparition.
It comes upon me. Art thou any thing?
Art thou some god, some angel, or some devil,
That mak’st my blood cold and my hair to stare?
Speak to me what thou art.
GHOST OF CAESAR: Thy evil spirit, Brutus.
BRUTUS: Why com’st thou?
GHOST OF CAESAR: To tell thee thou shalt see me at
BRUTUS: Well; then I shall see thee again?
GHOST OF CAESAR: Ay, at Philippi.
BRUTUS: Why, I will see thee at Philippi then. [Ghost
Now I have taken heart thou vanishest:
Ill spirit, I would hold more talk with thee.
Boy, Lucius! Varro! Claudius! Sirs, awake!
LUCIUS: The strings, my lord, are false.
[The strings . . . false: The strings of my instrument are not in
tune. [Lucius seems to be
talking in his sleep.]
BRUTUS: He thinks he still is at his
LUCIUS: My lord!
BRUTUS: Didst thou dream, Lucius, that thou so criedst
LUCIUS: My lord, I do not know that I did
BRUTUS: Yes, that thou didst. Didst thou see any
LUCIUS: Nothing, my lord.
BRUTUS: Sleep again, Lucius. Sirrah,
Fellow thou! awake!
VARRO: My lord!
CLAUDIUS: My lord!
BRUTUS: Why did you so cry out, sirs, in your
VARRO & CLAUDIUS: Did we, my lord?
BRUTUS: Ay: saw you any thing?
VARRO: No, my lord, I saw nothing.
CLAUDIUS: Nor I, my lord.
BRUTUS: Go, and commend me to my brother
Bid him set on his powers betimes before,
And we will follow.
[Bid . . . follow: Ask him to march his armies before mine. My
armies will follow.
VARRO & CLAUDIUS: It shall be done, my lord.
Act 5, Scene 1
The plains of Philippi.
Enter OCTAVIUS, ANTONY, and their army.
OCTAVIUS: Now, Antony, our hopes are
You said the enemy would not come down,
But keep the hills and upper regions;
It proves not so; their battles are at hand;
They mean to warn us at Philippi here,
Answering before we do demand of them.
[You said . . . them: You said
the enemy would not come to us but instead keep to the higher
ground. However, they are at hand. They mean to attack us here
ANTONY: Tut! I am in their bosoms, and I
Wherefore [why] they do
it: they could be content
To visit other places; and come down
With fearful bravery, thinking by this face
To fasten in our thoughts that they have
But ’tis not so.
[Tut! . . . not so: Tut! I know
what's in their minds, and I know why they are marching on
Philippi. Although they would rather be in another place, they
have decided to march on us to put on a show of bravery,
thinking that this tactic will scare us. But it won't.]
Enter a Messenger. 15
MESSENGER: Prepare you, generals:
The enemy comes on in gallant show;
Their bloody sign [flag]
of battle is hung out,
And something to [must]
be done immediately.
ANTONY: Octavius, lead your battle softly
Upon the left hand of the even field.
OCTAVIUS: Upon the right hand I; keep thou the
ANTONY: Why do you cross me in this exigent [critical time]?
OCTAVIUS: I do not cross you; but I will do so.
Drum. Enter BRUTUS, CASSIUS, and their Army; LUCILIUS,
TITINIUS, MESSALA, and
BRUTUS: They stand, and would have parley.
[They . . . parley: They have
stopped marching. They must want to talk.]
CASSIUS: Stand fast, Titinius: we must [go] out and
OCTAVIUS: Mark Antony, shall we give sign of battle [signal to start the battle]?
ANTONY: No, Caesar, we will answer on their
Make forth; the generals would have some words.
[No . . . words: No, Octavius. We
will respond only if they charge. Let's go forth. Their generals
want a word with us.]
OCTAVIUS: Stir not until the signal.
BRUTUS: Words before blows: is it so,
OCTAVIUS: Not that we love words better, as you
BRUTUS: Good words are better than bad strokes,
ANTONY: In your bad strokes, Brutus, you give good
Witness the hole you made in Caesar’s heart,
Crying, ‘Long live! hail, Caesar!’
The posture of your blows are yet unknown;
But for your words, they rob the Hybla bees,
And leave them honeyless.
[But for . . . honeyless: Cassius
speaks sarcastically as he compares Antony's words to the honey
of bees in Hybla, a town in ancient Sicily.]
ANTONY: Not stingless too.
[Not . . . too: Our words may be
bees' honey, but we have their stings too.]
BRUTUS: O! yes, and soundless too;
For you have stol’n their buzzing, Antony,
And very wisely threat [threaten]
before you sting.
ANTONY: Villains! you did not so when your vile daggers
Hack’d one another in the
sides of Caesar:
[you . . . Caesar: You gave no
warning when your vile daggers stabbed Caesar.]
You show’d your teeth like apes, and fawn’d like
And bow’d like bondmen [slaves],
kissing Caesar’s feet;
Whilst damned Casca, like a cur, behind
Struck Caesar on the neck. O you flatterers!
CASSIUS: Flatterers! Now, Brutus, thank
This tongue had not offended so to-day,
If Cassius might have rul’d.
[Now . . . rul'd: Now, Brutus,
you can thank yourself for Antony's insults. If we had stayed at
Sardis, as I suggested, we wouldn't be here to listen to him.]
OCTAVIUS: Come, come, the cause: if arguing make us
The proof of it will turn to redder drops.
[Come . . . drops: Come, come,
remember why we're here. If arguing makes us sweat, the combat
will turn the sweat into blood.]
I draw a sword against conspirators;
When think you that the sword goes up [is sheathed] again?
Never, till Caesar’s three-and-thirty wounds
Be well aveng’d; or till another Caesar
Have added slaughter to the sword of traitors.
[or till . . . traitors: Or until
I, Octavius Caesar, become a victim of the sword of traitors]
BRUTUS: Caesar, thou canst not die by traitors’
Unless thou bring’st them with thee.
OCTAVIUS: So I hope;
I was not born to die on Brutus’ sword.
BRUTUS: O! if thou wert the noblest of thy
Young man, thou couldst not die more honourable.
CASSIUS: A peevish schoolboy, worthless of such
Join’d with a masquer and a reveller.
[A peevish . . . reveller: You
are a bad-tempered schoolboy, Octavius. Your partner, Antony,
isn't any better. He carouses at parties at all hours of the
ANTONY: Old Cassius still!
OCTAVIUS: Come, Antony; away!
Defiance, traitors, hurl we in your teeth.
[Defiance . . . teeth: We hurl
defiance in your teeth, traitors.]
If you dare fight to-day, come to the field;
If not, when you have stomachs. [Exeunt OCTAVIUS, ANTONY,
and their Army.
CASSIUS: Why now, blow wind, swell billow, and swim
The storm is up, and all is on the hazard.
[Why . . . hazard: The storm we
have been waiting for has arrived: the wind blows, the sea
swells, and the ship navigates the perils. Rome, our
lives—everything—is at stake.]
Lucilius! hark, a word with you.
LUCILIUS: My lord? [BRUTUS and LUCILIUS talk
MESSALA: What says my general?
This is my birth-day; as this very day
Was Cassius born. Give me thy hand, Messala:
Be thou my witness that against my will,
As Pompey was, am I compell’d to set [gamble]
Upon one battle all our liberties.
You know that I held Epicurus strong,
And his opinion; now I change my mind,
And partly credit things that do presage.
[You know . . . presage: You know
that I previously held fast to the teachings of the Greek
philosopher, Epicurus (341-270 BC), who did not believe in omens
and superstition. But I have changed my mind. Now I think that
certain present events can suggest the occurrence of future
Coming from Sardis, on our former ensign [flag]
Two mighty eagles fell [sat],
and there they perch’d,
Gorging and feeding from our soldiers’ hands;
Who to Philippi here consorted us:
[Gorging . . . us: Eating from
the hands of the soldiers who marched with us here to Philippi]
This morning are they fled away and gone,
And in their stead do ravens, crows, and kites
Fly o’er our heads, and downward look on us,
As we were sickly prey: their shadows seem
A canopy most fatal, under which
Our army lies, ready to give up the ghost of Caesar:
MESSALA: Believe not so.
CASSIUS: I but believe it partly,
For I am fresh of spirit and resolv’d
To meet all perils very constantly.
BRUTUS: Even so, Lucilius. [Brutus is completing his conversation with Lucilius.]
CASSIUS: Now, most noble Brutus,
The gods to-day stand friendly, that we may,
Lovers in peace, lead on our days to age!
But since the affairs of men rest still incertain [uncertain],
Let’s reason with the worst that may befall.
If we do lose this battle, then is this
The very last time we shall speak together:
What are you, then, determined to do?
BRUTUS: Even by the rule of that
By which I did blame Cato for the death
Which he did give himself; I know not how,
But I do find it cowardly and vile,
For fear of what might fall, so to prevent
The time of life: arming myself with patience,
To stay the providence of some high powers
That govern us below.
[Even by . . . below: With the
same philosophy that made me criticize Cato for killing himself,
I condemn suicide as a cowardly act. People resort to it because
they are afraid of facing pain and humiliation. Thus, they cut
short their time of life. I would rather be patient and await
what the gods decide is to be my fate.]
CASSIUS: Then, if we lose this battle,
You are contented to be led in triumph
Thorough [through] the
streets of Rome?
BRUTUS: No, Cassius, no: think not, thou noble
That ever Brutus will go bound to Rome;
He bears too great a mind: but this same day
Must end that work the ides of March begun;
And whether we shall meet again I know not.
Therefore our everlasting farewell take:
For ever, and for ever, farewell, Cassius!
If we do meet again, why, we shall smile;
If not, why then, this parting was well made.
CASSIUS: For ever, and for ever, farewell,
If we do meet again, we’ll smile indeed;
If not, ’tis true this parting was well made.
BRUTUS: Why, then, lead on. O! that a man might
The end of this day’s business, ere [before] it come;
But it sufficeth that the day will end,
And then the end is known. Come, ho! away!
Act 5, Scene 2
The field of battle.
Alarum [Call to arms].
BRUTUS and MESSALA.
BRUTUS: Ride, ride, Messala, ride, and give these bills [messages]
Unto the [our] legions on
the other side. [Loud alarum.
Let them set on [attack]
at once, for I perceive
But cold demeanour [hesitation;
timidity] in Octavius’ wing,
And sudden push gives them the overthrow.
[And sudden . . . overthrow: And
a sudden charge will undo them.]
Ride, ride, Messala: let them all come down. [Exeunt
[let . . . down: Let all our
other legions descend on the enemy.]
Act 5, Scene 3
Another part of the
Alarums [Calls to arms].
Enter CASSIUS and TITINIUS.
CASSIUS: O! look, Titinius, look, the villains
Myself have to mine own turn’d enemy;
This ensign here of mine was turning back;
I slew the coward, and did take it from him.
[O! look . . . from him: O, look,
Titinius. Our soldiers are running away. This sight makes me
despise my own troops. Our flag bearer was among those running
away, but I killed the coward and took the flag from him.]
TITINIUS: O Cassius! Brutus gave the word too
Who, having some advantage on Octavius,
Took it too eagerly: his soldiers fell to spoil,
Whilst we by Antony are all enclos’d.
[O . . . enclos'd: O Cassius!
Although Brutus gained the advantage against Octavius, he
signaled victory too soon. Thinking the battle was over, his
soldiers began looting. Meanwhile, Antony closed in.]
PINDARUS: Fly further off, my lord, fly further
Mark Antony is in your tents, my lord:
Fly, therefore, noble Cassius, fly far off.
CASSIUS: This hill is far enough. Look, look,
Are those my tents where I perceive the fire?
TITINIUS: They are, my lord.
CASSIUS: Titinius, if thou lov’st me,
Mount thou my horse, and hide thy spurs in him [spur him on],
Till he have brought thee up to yonder troops
And here again; that I may rest assur’d
Whether yond troops are friend or enemy.
TITINIUS: I will be here again, even with a thought [faster than you can think; before
you know it]. [Exit.
CASSIUS: Go, Pindarus, get higher on that hill;
My sight was ever thick [near-sighted;
to clearly perceive distant objects]; regard [observe]
And tell me what thou not’st [notest,
note] about the field. [PINDARUS ascends the
This day I breathed first [today
is my birthday]; time is [has] come round,
And where I did begin, there shall I end [die];
My life is run his compass. Sirrah, what news?
PINDARUS: [Above.] O my lord!
CASSIUS: What news?
PINDARUS: Titinius is enclosed round about
With horsemen, that make to him [chase
him] on the spur;
Yet he spurs on: now they are almost on him;
Now, Titinius! now some light [alight;
dismount]; O! he lights too:
He’s ta’en [taken];
[Shout.] and, hark! they shout for joy.
CASSIUS: Come down; behold no more.
O, coward that I am, to live so long,
To see my best friend ta’en before my face!
PINDARUS descends. 40
Come hither, sirrah:
In Parthia did I take thee prisoner;
And then I swore thee, saving of thy life,
That whatsoever I did bid thee do,
Thou shouldst attempt it. Come now, keep thine oath;
Now be a freeman; and with this good sword,
That ran through Caesar’s bowels, search this bosom.
Stand not to answer; here, take thou the hilts;
And, when my face is cover’d, as ’tis now,
Guide thou the sword. Caesar, thou art reveng’d,
Even with the sword that kill’d thee.
[Come hither. . . kill'd thee:
Come here, Pindarus. I took you prisoner in Parthia (country in
what is now northeastern Iran). Then I made you swear to do
anything I asked except to take your own life. Now I ask you to
live up to the bargain. You can win your freedom by plunging
this sword into my heart when I cover my face. Pindarus takes up
the sword and kills Cassius.]
PINDARUS: So, I am free; yet would not so have
Durst I have done my will. O Cassius.
[So . . . my will: So now I am
free. But this was not the way I would have chosen to become
Far from this country Pindarus shall run,
Where never Roman shall take note of him. [Exit.
Re-enter TITINIUS with MESSALA.
MESSALA: It is but change, Titinius; for
Is overthrown by noble Brutus’ power,
As Cassius’ legions are by Antony.
[It is . . . Antony: It is but an
equal exchange. Although Antony has defeated Cassius, Brutus has
TITINIUS: These tidings will well comfort
MESSALA: Where did you leave him?
TITINIUS: All disconsolate,
With Pindarus his bondman [slave],
on this hill.
MESSALA: Is not that he that lies upon the
TITINIUS: He lies not like the living. O my
MESSALA: Is not that he?
TITINIUS: No, this was he, Messala,
But Cassius is no more. O setting sun!
As in thy red rays thou dost sink to-night,
So in his red blood Cassius’ day is set;
The sun of Rome is set. Our day is gone;
Clouds, dews, and dangers come; our deeds are done.
Mistrust of my success hath done this deed.
[Mistrust . . . deed: He did not
believe that I would return with good news, so he ended his
MESSALA: Mistrust of good success hath done this
O hateful error, melancholy’s child!
Why dost thou show to the apt thoughts of men
The things that are not? O error! soon
Thou never com’st unto a
But kill’st the mother that engender’d thee.
[O hateful . . . thee: O hateful
error. You make men despair. Why do you show men things that are
not true? Men give birth to you; then you kill them.]
TITINIUS: What, Pindarus! Where art thou,
MESSALA: Seek him, Titinius, whilst I go to meet
The noble Brutus, thrusting this report
Into his ears; I may say, thrusting it;
For piercing steel and darts envenomed
Shall be as welcome to the ears of Brutus
As tidings of this sight.
[Seek him . . . this sight: Seek
Pindarus while I go to meet Brutus, thrusting the report of
Cassius's death into his ears. I say thrusting because the report will be like
poisoned swords or darts entering Brutus.]
TITINIUS: Hie you [go],
And I will seek for Pindarus the while. [Exit
Why didst thou send me forth, brave Cassius?
Did I not meet thy friends? and did not they
Put on my brows this wreath of victory,
And bid me give it thee? Didst thou not hear their
Alas! thou hast misconstru’d every thing.
But, hold thee, take this garland on thy brow:
Thy Brutus bid me give it thee, and I
Will do his bidding. Brutus, come apace,
And see how I regarded Caius Cassius.
[how I regarded: What I thought of; how I esteemed]
By your leave, gods: this is a Roman’s part:
Come, Cassius’ sword, and find Titinius’ heart. [Kills
Alarum. Re-enter MESSALA, with BRUTUS, Young CATO [son of Cato
Younger], STRATO, VOLUMNIUS, and LUCILIUS.
BRUTUS: Where, where, Messala, doth his body
MESSALA: Lo, yonder: and Titinius mourning it.
BRUTUS: Titinius’ face is upward.
CATO: He is slain.
BRUTUS: O Julius Caesar! thou art mighty yet!
Thy spirit walks abroad, and turns our swords
In our own proper entrails. [Low alarums.
[turns our . . . entrails: Turns
our swords into weapons that we use against ourselves, plunging
them into our own intestines]
CATO: Brave Titinius!
Look whe’r [whether] he
have not crown’d dead Cassius!
BRUTUS: Are yet two Romans living such as these?
The last of all the Romans, fare thee well!
It is impossible that ever Rome
Should breed thy fellow. Friends, I owe more
[thy fellow: anyone who can
compare to you]
To this dead man than you shall see me pay.—
I shall find time, Cassius, I shall find time.—
Come therefore, and to Thassos send his body:
[Thassos: Thàsos, a Greek island
in the northern Aegean Sea.]
His funerals shall not be in our camp,
Lest it [because it might]
discomfort us. Lucilius, come;
And come, young Cato;—let us to the field.
Labeo and Flavius, set our battles on:—
’Tis three o’clock; and, Romans, yet ere [before] night
We shall try fortune in a second fight. [Exeunt.
Act 5, Scene 4
Another part of the
Alarum. Enter fighting, Soldiers of both armies; then
BRUTUS, Young CATO, LUCILIUS, and Others.
BRUTUS: Yet, countrymen, O! yet hold up your
CATO: What bastard doth not? Who will go with
I will proclaim my name about the field:
I am the son of Marcus Cato, ho!
A foe to tyrants, and my country’s friend;
I am the son of Marcus Cato, ho!
BRUTUS: And I am Brutus, Marcus Brutus, I;
Brutus, my country’s friend; know me for Brutus! [Exit,
charging the enemy. CATO is overpowered, and
LUCILIUS: O young and noble Cato, art thou
Why, now thou diest as bravely as Titinius,
And mayst be honour’d being Cato’s son.
FIRST SOLDIER: Yield, or thou diest.
LUCILIUS: Only I yield to die:
There is so much that thou wilt kill me straight. [Offering
[Lucilius offers his foe money to
Kill Brutus, and be honour’d in his death.
FIRST SOLDIER: We must not. A noble
SECOND SOLDIER: Room [make
room], ho! Tell Antony, Brutus is
FIRST SOLDIER: I’ll tell the news: here comes the
Brutus is ta’en, my lord.
ANTONY: Where is he?
LUCILIUS: Safe, Antony; Brutus is safe
I dare assure thee that no
Shall ever take alive the noble Brutus:
The gods defend him from so great a shame!
When you do find him, or [whether]
alive or dead,
He will be found like Brutus, like himself.
[like himself: Defiant but noble]
ANTONY: This [Lucilius]
is not Brutus, friend; but, I assure you,
A prize no less in worth. Keep this man safe,
Give him all kindness: I had rather have
Such men my friends than enemies. Go on,
And see whe’r [whether]
Brutus be alive or dead;
And bring us word unto Octavius’ tent,
How every thing is chanc’d. [Exeunt.
[is chanc'd: Has turned out]
Act 5, Scene 5
Another part of the
Enter BRUTUS, DARDANIUS, CLITUS, STRATO, and VOLUMNIUS.
BRUTUS: Come, poor remains of friends, rest on this
CLITUS: Statilius show’d the torch-light; but, my
He came not back: he is or ta’en or slain.
[Statilius . . . slain: Statilius
signaled us with a torch. But he has not returned. Either he has
been captured or killed.]
BRUTUS: Sit thee down, Clitus: slaying is the
It is a deed in fashion. Hark thee, Clitus.
[slaying . . . fashion: You were
right to say that he might have been slain. Slaying is a word that seems to be repeated
on this battlefield in reference to our soldiers.]
CLITUS: What, I, my lord? No, not for all the
BRUTUS: Peace, then! no words.
CLITUS: I’ll rather kill myself.
BRUTUS: Hark thee, Dardanius. [Whispers.
DARDANIUS: Shall I do such a deed?
CLITUS: O, Dardanius!
DARDANIUS: O, Clitus!
CLITUS: What ill request did Brutus make to
DARDANIUS: To kill him, Clitus. Look, he
CLITUS: Now is that noble vessel full of grief,
That it runs over even at his eyes.
BRUTUS: Come hither, good Volumnius: list a
[list a word: Listen to me. I
want a word with you.]
VOLUMNIUS: What says my lord?
BRUTUS: Why this, Volumnius:
The ghost of Caesar hath appear’d to me
Two several times by night; at Sardis once,
And this last night here in Philippi fields.
I know my hour is come.
VOLUMNIUS: Not so, my lord.
BRUTUS: Nay, I am sure it is, Volumnius.
Thou seest the world, Volumnius, how it goes;
Our enemies have beat us to the pit:
[Our . . . pit: Our enemies have
beaten us so far back that we stand on the brink of our graves.]
It is more worthy to leap in ourselves,
Than tarry till they push us. Good Volumnius,
Thou know’st that we two went to school together:
Even for that our love of old, I prithee [pray thee],
Hold thou my sword-hilts, whilst I run on it.
VOLUMNIUS: That’s not an office for a friend, my lord.
CLITUS: Fly, fly, my lord! there is no tarrying
BRUTUS: Farewell to you; and you; and you,
Strato, thou hast been all this while asleep;
Farewell to thee too, Strato. Countrymen,
My heart doth joy that yet, in all my life,
I found no man but he was true to me.
I shall have glory by this losing day,
More than Octavius and Mark Antony
By this vile conquest shall attain unto.
[I shall . . . unto: I shall have
more glory in losing this battle than Octavius and Mark Antony
shall have in winning it.]
So fare you well at once; for Brutus’ tongue
Hath almost ended his life’s history:
Night hangs upon mine eyes; my bones would rest,
That have but labour’d to attain this hour. [Alarum.
Cry within, ‘Fly, fly, fly!’
CLITUS: Fly, my lord, fly.
BRUTUS: Hence! [Go!]
I will follow. [Exeunt CLITUS, DARDANIUS, and
I prithee, Strato, stay thou by thy lord:
Thou art a fellow of a good respect;
Thy life hath had some smatch [taste]
of honour in it:
Hold then my sword, and turn away thy face,
While I do run upon it. Wilt thou, Strato?
STRATO: Give me your hand first: fare you well, my
BRUTUS: Farewell, good Strato.—[He runs on his sword.]
Caesar, now be still;
I kill’d not thee with half so good a will.
[I kill'd . . . will: I did not
kill you as willingly as I kill myself.]
Alarum. Retreat. Enter OCTAVIUS, ANTONY, MESSALA,
LUCILIUS, and Army.
OCTAVIUS: What man is that?
MESSALA: My master’s man. Strato, where is thy
STRATO: Free from the bondage you are in,
The conquerors can but make a fire of him;
For Brutus only overcame himself,
And no man else hath honour by his death.
[For Brutus . . . death: Brutus
took his own life. Therefore, no man can claim the honor of
LUCILIUS: So Brutus should be found. I thank thee,
That thou hast prov’d Lucilius’ saying true.
[So Brutus . . . true: This the way Brutus should be found. I
thank you, Brutus, for proving the truth of my observation that no
one could take you alive. See
OCTAVIUS: All that serv’d Brutus, I will entertain them.
[All that . . . them: I want to
recruit everyone who served Brutus.]
Fellow, wilt thou bestow thy time with me?
STRATO: Ay, if Messala will prefer [recommend] me to
OCTAVIUS: Do so, good Messala.
MESSALA: How died my master, Strato?
STRATO: I held the sword, and he did run on it.
MESSALA: Octavius, then take him to follow thee,
That did the latest service to my master.
ANTONY: This was the noblest Roman of them all;
All the conspirators save only he
Did that they did in envy of great Caesar;
He only, in a general honest thought
And common good to all, made one of them.
[All . . . Caesar: All the
conspirators except Brutus did what they did out of envy of
great Caesar. Only Brutus had the good of the people in mind
when he took part in the assassination.]
His life was gentle, and the elements
So mix’d [arranged so well]
in him that Nature might stand up
And say to all the world, ‘This was a man!’
OCTAVIUS: According to his virtue let us use
With all respect and rites of burial.
Within my tent his bones to-night shall lie,
Most like a soldier, order’d honourably.
So, call the field to rest; and let’s away,
To part the glories of this happy day.