Julius Caesar simplified

Synopsis

On the streets of 32 BC Rome, two tribunes, tribunes being elected to protect the rights of common citizens (the plebeians), berate some of those they were elected to serve.  It’s a most famous time, made famous by Shakespeare.  The tribunes are ridiculing the plebeians for what they see as their unjustified celebration of Julius Caesar’s return to Rome.  When the tribunes ask a cobbler “Why dost thou lead these men about the streets” the cobbler, who identifies himself as “a mender of bad soles,” responds “we make holiday to see Caesar and to rejoice in his triumph.”  The tribunes rhetorically ask the cobbler “Wherefore rejoice?  What conquest brings he home?” 

The tribunes are truly irritated with the way the gullible public, in their view, unjustifiably worships Caesar, whose “triumph” as he returns to Rome is that he has killed Pompey’s sons, his prospective adversaries. The young men’s father (Pompey the Great) had been a hero to the Roman plebeians. The tribunes have a point. 

Caesar soon enters stage central with his entourage.  It’s here where a soothsayer, who is off to the side of the street, famously warns Caesar to “Beware the ides of March.” Caesar dismisses him and his comment saying “He is a dreamer. Let us leave him.” Watching Caesar’s passing parade, Cassius and Brutus talk of the political climate in Rome, both of them displeased with current trends, their thoughts matching those of the tribunes.  For among other reasons they are worried that the Roman senate may soon crown Caesar as Rome’s king. Seeing Cassius, Caesar prophetically says to Mark Antony, his key aide “Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look.  He thinks too much.  Such men are dangerous.”  Antony responds “Fear him not, Caesar; he’s not dangerous.”  Caesar then says, “Would he were fatter!  But I fear him not.”  Brutus is recognized as a major Roman statesman and Cassius is his brother-in-law, and no light-weight himself. 

Shakespeare has Cassius quietly begin the process of organizing a group of men in his effort to plot against Caesar, having been Caesar’s friend since childhood, but passionately feeling that Caesar is overrated.  He may be jealous of Caesar’s political success, but he does say “I had as lief not be as live to be in awe of such a thing as I myself.”  Saying to his friend Casca “Will you dine with me tomorrow,” Cassius lets us know that he plans to enlist Casca to his cause; Casca to be an early recruit in his plans to assassinate Caesar.

A strong storm strikes Rome and Casca is frightened, believing “mighty gods by tokens send such dreadful heralds to astonish us.” It’s here where Cassius indirectly and delicately persuades Casca, Casca being a little slow on the uptake, to join his cause, Casca finally saying “’Tis Caesar that you mean, is it not, Cassius?”  The two of them quickly get Cinna to join their now common cause, Cinna saying “O Cassius, if you could but win the noble Brutus to our party.” Brutus is widely recognized as a leading statesman in Rome.  They all agree that they must get Brutus onboard if they are to make this conspiracy work.  Cassius, quite the talented promoter-organizer, arranges for his collected group of men to meet with Brutus for a late-night session in Brutus’ home.

Following Cassius’ persuasive sales pitch, independent Brutus, who keeps his own counsel, agrees to join the Conspirators’ cause.  But Portia, Brutus’ wife, overhearing some of what the men had to say and frightened for her husband and for Rome, says “Dear my lord, make me acquainted with your cause of grief” and “Within the bonds of marriage, is it excepted I should know no secrets that appertain to you?”  Cassius may be the better organizer and the better persuader, but Brutus, through force of personality, controls the agenda.  Assassination plans develop quickly, Decius telling his fellow Conspirators that he will make sure Caesar is on the Senate steps in the morning.

Meanwhile, Caesar, unable to sleep very well, is up often during the very stormy night. His wife, with thoughts similar to Casca’s, fears the gods are sending a message.  Separately, Artemidorus, a rhetoric teacher and friend of some of the conspirators, has a letter hand delivered to Caesar, warning him that “There is but one mind in all these men, and it is bent against Caesar.”  For a number of reasons, including the warnings from the Soothsayer, Artemidorus, and Caesar’s sleepless night, Calphurnia, Caesar’s wife, talks him out of going to the Senate that morning. However, Decius, a talented salesman, persuades Caesar to change his mind, to the dismay of Calphurnia. A proud Caesar leaves for the Senate, accepting the risks, knowing plans are being made to crown him king.

As Caesar works his way to the Senate, both the Soothsayer and Artemidorus vie to gain his attention.  But Caesar, not about to miss this opportunity to be crowned king, dismisses them, saying to the Soothsayer “The ides of March are come.”  The Soothsayer responds “Ay, Caesar, but not gone.”  Cozying up to Caesar, Metellus Cimber pleads for a pardon for his brother.  Brutus, Cassius, Casca and others then also draw close to Caesar, supporting Metellus Cimber’s cause.  Caesar denies the request.  Casca then stabs Caesar; the other conspirators quickly follow Casca’s lead.  Caesar dies quickly, but not before famously saying “Et tu Brute?  Then fall Caesar.” Caesar had explicitly trusted Brutus, some believing Brutus to be Caesar’s illegitimate son. When Brutus stabbed him, Caesar conceded his life.  

Most everybody there, except for the Conspirators, scatter in fear.  Antony, Caesar’s closest aide, humbly returns to the crime scene, ready to be killed, if that’s the Conspirators’ plan.  He is welcomed.  He asks to speak at Caesar’s memorial service, and Brutus grants his request.  Cassius is suspect of the thought of giving Antony a chance to provide a eulogy, but these guys didn’t challenge Brutus. 

At the service for Caesar, Brutus is the first to speak and he speaks from the pulpit.  He makes a strong case justifying the actions of the Conspirators.  He exits. But then to Brutus’ ultimate undoing, Antony steps up into the pulpit and wows the crowd, speaking to the plebeians at length with warmth, charm and empathy, winning their hearts.  As the plebeians exit, carrying Caesar’s shrouded body, Octavius Caesar’s servant enters to tell Antony that Octavius (Octavius being Caesar’s nephew and adopted son) and Lepidus are waiting for him at Caesar’s home.  Antony sees it all falling into place for him. 

Antony had given the right speech at the right time, one of history’s great speeches, convincing many Romans that the Conspirators had overplayed their hand.  It was rumored that angry mobs had run Brutus and Cassius out of town.  Cinna, a mild-mannered poet, but to his misfortune having the same name as one of the conspirators, is roughed up and carried away. 

In retribution for Caesar’s assassination, the triumvirate that now rules Rome (Antony, Octavius Caesar and Lepidus) has strong supporters who soon kill scores of senators; those they believe might have been connected to the Conspirators.  Meanwhile, Cassius and Brutus, having organized their own army, have a falling out of sorts with each other, arguing in Brutus’ tent on the battlefield at Sardis over really minor issues, Brutus claiming “You say you are a better soldier” with Cassius responding “I said an elder soldier, not a better.”  Brutus then accuses Cassius of using his position to accept bribes, and Cassius, denying none of it, resents the need to be so accused.  Times are tough for both of them and both are tense.  An anxious Brutus lets us know that his wife, Portia, has just died, “Impatient of my absence, and grief that young Octavius with Mark Antony have made themselves so strong.” They apologize to each other and bury the hatchet, Brutus saying “Lucius, a bowl of wine.” You can’t help but like these guys, bigger than life though they are.

The battle that will determine who will lead Rome is about to begin.  Cassius’ military strategy is to wait for Antony and Octavius and their army to come to them at Sardis; Brutus’ suggesting they attack them at Philippi.  As usual, Brutus, with his persuasive and commanding presence, wins the argument.

That night, Caesar’s ghost visits Brutus.  Earlier in the day Cassius had seen bad omens in the flight of birds.  It’s Cassius’ birthday.  The battle on the Plains of Philippi begins.  Through flawed intelligence, Cassius believes Antony is about to overrun his position.  He takes his own life.  Separately, Brutus wins his first encounter with Octavius Caesar, but he loses the second.  As a classic Roman warrior, Brutus then takes his own life, much as did Cassius. Antony enters and pays tribute in particular to Brutus, calling him “The noblest Roman of them all” and that “This was a man.”   

Principal Characters

AntonyMark Antony acts as Caesar’s chief-of-staff.  Through his speeches to the plebeians after Caesar’s death, Mark Antony rallies the troops and, along with Octavius Caesar and Lepidus (the triumvirate), defeats Cassius and Brutus and their fellow conspirators.  Following Caesar’s assassination, he restores order to the then world’s super power.  Antony, wise and charming, is the clever politician who loves Rome no less than do Cassius and Brutus, but who better knows than they (particularly Brutus) how to secure political advantage.  Antony had great talents, and a reputation as a late-night partier. 

Brutus.  Brutus is a dominate figure in 32 BC Rome, a confidant of Caesar’s and widely viewed by the Roman public as the most honorable and noble of Roman statesman.  He has a tough-minded, domineering personality, and is true to Rome and to what he believes is right.  Brutus is persuasive and never uncertain.  Through Brutus, Shakespeare lets us know that public heroes can carry misguided views, though well-intentioned.  Brutus often seems lost in himself, with narrow, self-directed, naïve, flawed opinions.  He does care for Caesar, but his love of Rome and its future is his overriding and guiding motivation.  Some people believe him to be Caesar’s illegitimate son. 

Caesar.  Julius Caesar led Rome during a period of great expansion and world domination.  He does not have a large speaking role in the play.  He is assassinated early, stabbed by associates, the Conspirators; conspirators led by Cassius, Brutus and Casca; stabbed on the Senate steps early in the day on March 15, the ides of March, the day he was to be crowned king by the Roman Senate.

Cassius.  Cassius is an angry man, having grown up with Caesar, a boy-hood friend; angry, perhaps, because he has viewed him as a lesser man and now is a bit envious of his position.  Caesar is adored by the public, a public that wants to crown him king.  Cassius is a disciplined, focused, diplomatic, organized promoter.  And he loves Rome, as they all do.  He is married to Brutus’ sister.  Cassius not only has a good sense of the moment, but as well senses the enormous implications associated with the Conspirators’ actions.  He senses how the murder of Caesar will play out, especially with Antony and the Roman public, where Brutus seems to have less of a clue.  A mistake Cassius makes is too often deferring to Brutus.

The Play


  • Act 1, Scene 1
  • Marcellus and Flavius, two tribunes, are on stage along with a cobbler.
  • FLAVIUS
  • Hence! Home, you idle creatures, get you home! Is this a holiday? Speak, what trade art thou?
  • COBBLER
  • Truly, sir, in respect of a fine workman, I am but, as you would say, a cobbler.
  • MARULLUS
  • But what trade art thou? Answer me directly.
  • COBBLER
  • A trade, sir, which is indeed, sir, a mender of bad soles.
  • FLAVIUS
  • What trade, thou knave?
  • COBBLER
  • Nay, I beseech you, sir, be not out with me. Yet if you be out, sir, I can mend you.
  • MARULLUS
  • What mean’st thou by that?
  • COBBLER
  • Truly, sir, all that I live by is with the awl. I am indeed, sir, a surgeon to old shoes: when they are in great danger, I recover them.
  • FLAVIUS
  • Why dost thou lead these men about the streets.
  • COBBLER
  • 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 to the Cobbler
  •  
  • Why rejoice? What conquest doth he bring home?
  • What spoils follow him as he enters Rome?
  • You cruel men of Rome, knew you not Pompey?
  • How oft have you reached for your infants, then
  • Climbed to rooftops to wait the livelong day
  • To see Pompey pass the streets of Rome? When
  • His chariot appeared your shouts would make
  • The trembling edges of the Tiber shake.
  • ‘Tis ingratitude to strew these flowers
  • For his triumph o’er Pompey’s sons. You ought
  • Run to your houses. These growing feathers
  • From Caesar’s wing should be plucked; we dare not
  • Let him soar above the view of man less
  • He keep us all in servile fearfulness.
  • All the commoners exit.
  • FLAVIUS
  • They vanish tongue-tied in their guiltiness.
  • MARULLUS
  • 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 and drive away the vulgar from the streets; and do you too, where you perceive them thick.
  • They exit in different directions.
  • Act 1, Scene 2
  • Caesar, his wife Calphurnia, Antony, Brutus, Cassius, Casca and other principals are on stage, along with a soothsayer.
  • SOOTHSAYER
  • Caesar.
  • CAESAR
  • I hear a tongue shriller than all the music cry “Caesar.” Speak. Caesar is turned to hear.
  • SOOTHSAYER
  • Beware the ides of March.
  • CAESAR
  • What man is that?
  • The Soothsayer comes forward.
  • CAESAR
  • What sayst thou to me now? Speak once again.
  • SOOTHSAYER
  • Beware the ides of March.
  • CAESAR
  • He is a dreamer. Let us leave him. Pass.
  • All but Brutus and Cassius exit.
  • CASSIUS
  • Brutus, I do observe you now of late. You bear too stubborn and too strange a hand over your friend that loves you.
  • BRUTUS
  • Cassius, be not deceived. If I have veiled my look, I turn the trouble of my countenance merely upon myself. Let not therefore my good friends be grieved 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 passion. Tell me, good Brutus, can you see your face?
  • BRUTUS
  • No, Cassius, for the eye sees not itself but by reflection.
  • CASSIUS
  • ‘Tis just. 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 wished that noble Brutus had his eyes.
  • BRUTUS
  • Into what dangers would you lead me, Cassius, that you would have me seek into myself for that which is not in me?
  • CASSIUS
  • 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.
  • Shouting and Flourish.
  • BRUTUS
  • What means this shouting? I do fear the people 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 well. But wherefore do you hold me here so long? What is it that you would impart to me? If it be aught toward the general good, set honor in one eye and death i’ th’ other and I will look on both indifferently; for let the gods so speed me as I love the name of honor more than I fear death.
  •  
  •  
  • Cassius to Brutus, No. 1
  •  
  • I for myself think I had as lief not
  • Be, as live as a free born Roman, caught
  • In awe of such a thing as I. We can
  • Endure the winter’s cold as well as he.
  • Once, on a raw and gusty day he ran,
  • Daring me to leap into the angry
  • Sea, and soon cried “Help me, or I sink”. He
  • Now has become a revered god, and we,
  • Wretched men who bend if he carelessly
  • But nod. In Spain his fevered eyes did glaze
  • And coward lips shake, as he groaned, “Give me
  • Some drink,” as a sick child. It doth amaze
  • Me a man of such feeble temper shown
  • Should lead the world and bear the palm alone.
  • More Shouts and Flourish
  • BRUTUS
  • Another general shout! I do believe that these applauses are for some new honors that are heaped on Caesar.
  •  
  •  
  • Cassius to Brutus, No. 2
  •  
  • He doth bestride this narrow world of men
  • Like a gigantic bronze Colossus, when
  • We petty men peep here about to find
  • Ourselves dishonorable graves. Men should
  • Be masters of their own fates. The fault, kind
  • Brutus, is ours, that underlings we would
  • Be. Upon what meat doth this our Caesar
  • Feed that he hath grown great? Rome hast lost her
  • Breed of noble bloods. And in what age can
  • One recall talk of Rome, saying she made
  • Her wide walks to encompass but one man?
  • You and I have heard our fathers say they’d
  • As soon let the eternal devil bring
  • His state to Rome than to accept a king.
  • BRUTUS
  • What you have said I will consider; what you have to say I will with patience hear. 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 this much show of fire from Brutus.
  • Caesar and his entourage enter.
  • BRUTUS
  • I will do so. But look you, Cassius, the angry spot doth glow on Caesar’s brow. Calphurnia’s cheek is pale.
  • CASSIUS
  • Casca will tell us what the matter is.
  • CAESAR
  • Antonius.
  • ANTONY
  • Caesar.
  • CAESAR
  • Let me have men about me that are fat. Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look. He thinks too much. Such men are dangerous.
  • ANTONY
  • Fear him not, Caesar; he’s not dangerous. He is a noble Roman, and well given.
  • CAESAR
  • Would he were fatter! But I fear him not. Yet if my name were liable to fear, I do not know the man I should avoid so soon as that spare Cassius. I rather tell thee what is to be feared than what I fear; for always I am Caesar.
  • Caesar and entourage exit. Casca remains.
  • BRUTUS
  • Ay, Casca. Tell us what hath chanced today that Caesar looks so sad.
  • 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.
  • BRUTUS
  • Tell us the manner of it, gentle, Casca.
  • CASCA
  • I saw Mark Antony offer him a crown, yet ‘twas not a crown neither, ‘twas one of these coronets, and as I told you, he put it by once; but for all that, to my thinking, he would fain have had it. Then he offered it the third time, and as he refused it, he swooned and fell down at it.
  • CASSIUS
  • But soft, I pray you. What, did Caesar swoon?
  • CASCA
  • He fell down in the marketplace and foamed at mouth and was speechless.
  • BRUTUS
  • ‘Tis very like; he hath the falling sickness.
  • CASSIUS
  • No, Caesar hath it not; but you and I and honest Casca, we have the falling sickness.
  • CASCA
  • I know not what you mean by that, but I am sure Caesar fell down.
  • BRUTUS
  • What said he when he came unto himself?
  • CASCA
  • When he came to himself again, he said, if he had done or said anything amiss. 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 less.
  • CASSIUS
  • Did Cicero say anything?
  • CASCA
  • Ay, he spoke Greek.
  • CASSIUS
  • To what effect?
  • CASCA
  • 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 scarves off Caesar’s image, are put to silence.
  • CASSIUS
  • Will you dine with me tomorrow?
  • CASCA
  • Ay, if I be alive, and your mind hold, and your dinner worth the eating.
  • CASSIUS
  • Good. I will expect you.
  • Casca exits.
  • BRUTUS
  • What a blunt fellow is this grown to be! He was quick mettle when he went to school. And so it is. Tomorrow, if you please to speak with me, come home to me, and I will wait for you.
  • CASSIUS
  • I will do so. Till then, think of the world.
  • Brutus exits.
  • CASSIUS
  • Well, Brutus, thou art noble. Therefore it is meet that noble minds keep ever with their likes; for who so firm that cannot be seduced? Caesar doth bear me hard, but he loves Brutus. 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.
  • He exits.
  • Act 1, Scene 3
  • Thunder and lightening are cracking. Casca and Cicero enter.
  • CICERO
  • Good even, Casca. Why are you breathless? And why stare you so?
  • CASCA
  • Are not you moved, when all the sway of earth shakes like a thing unfirm? Either there is a civil strife in heaven, or else the world, too saucy with the gods, incenses them to send destruction.
  • CICERO
  • Why, saw you anything more wonderful?
  • CASCA
  • Yesterday the bird of night did sit even at noonday upon the marketplace, hooting and shrieking. Let not men say “These are their reasons, they are natural,” for I believe they are portentous things unto the climate than they point upon.
  • CICERO
  • Indeed, it is a strange-disposed time. But men may construe things after their fashion, clean from the purpose of the things themselves. Comes Caesar to the Capitol tomorrow?
  • CASCA
  • He doth.
  • CICERO
  • Good night then, Casca. This disturbed sky is not to walk in.
  • Cicero exits. Cassius enters.
  • CASCA
  • Cassius, what night is this!
  • CASSIUS
  • A very pleasing night to honest men.
  • CASCA
  • Who ever knew the heavens menace so?
  • CASSIUS
  • Those that have known the earth so full of faults. For my part, I have walked about the streets, submitting me unto the perilous night. When the cross blue lightning seemed to open the breast of heaven, I did present myself even in the aim and very flash of it.
  • CASCA
  • But wherefore 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 to Casca, No. 1
  •  
  • Casca, you lack those Roman sparks of life
  • Or choose them not. Your eyes are pale and rife
  • With fear, casting yourself in wonder to
  • See heaven’s strange impatience. The true cause
  • Of all these fires, these gliding ghosts, leads you
  • To find these changing acts of nature’s laws
  • As warnings of most fearful quality
  • Of a coming monstrous state. Who could we
  • Name as one dreadful as this night, who may
  • Lighten the night, roar as thunder and be
  • As this lion in the Capitol. A
  • Man no mightier than thyself or me
  • Has grown as prodigious and come as far,
  • And fearful, as these violent outbursts are.
  • CASCA
  • ‘Tis Caesar that you mean, is it not, Cassius?
  • CASSIUS
  • Let it be who it is. But, woe the while, our fathers’ minds are dead, and we are governed with our mothers’ spirits. Our yoke and sufferance show us womanish.
  • CASCA
  • Indeed, they say the Senators tomorrow mean to establish Caesar as a king.
  • CASSIUS
  • I know where I will wear this dagger then; Cassius from bondage will deliver Cassius.
  •  
  •  
  • Cassius to Casca, No. 2
  •  
  • If your gods make weak men most strong, then you
  • Tyrants do defeat. There’s nothing here to
  • Impede the strength of spirit. Life, being
  • Weary of worldly bars, ne’er lacks power
  • To dismiss itself. So with my knowing
  • This, the world knows this, and at my pleasure
  • I can shake off any tyranny I
  • Might bear. He a wolf, seeing Romans lie
  • As sheep; no lion, were not Romans deer.
  • How weak is Rome when it serves to throw light
  • On such a vile thing as Caesar. It’s here
  • I once said to a willing slave I might
  • Act, so I must now act, my message sent.
  • These dangers are to me indifferent.
  • CASCA
  • Hold. My hand.
  • They shake hands.
  • CASCA
  • I will set this foot of mine as far as who goes farthest.
  • CASSIUS
  • There’s a bargain made. Now know you Casca, I have moved already some certain of the noblest minded Romans to undergo with me an enterprise of honorable-dangerous consequence.
  • Enter Cinna.
  • CASSIUS
  • Cinna, where haste you so?
  • CINNA
  • Who’s that? Metellus Cimber?
  • CASSIUS
  • No, it is Casca, one incorporate to our attempts.
  • CINNA
  • I am glad on ‘t.
  • CASSIUS
  • Am I not stayed for? Tell me.
  • CINNA
  • Yes, you are. O Cassius, if you could but win the noble Brutus to our party.
  • CASSIUS
  • Be you content. Good Cinna, take this paper. Where Brutus may but find it; and throw this in at his window. All this done, repair to Pompey’s Porch, where you shall find us.
  • Cinna exits.
  • CASSIUS
  • Come, Casca, you and I will yet ere day see Brutus at his house.
  • CASCA
  • O, he sits high in all the people’s hearts, and that which would appear offense in us his countenance will change to virtue and to worthiness.
  • CASSIUS
  • Him and his worth and our great need of him you have right well conceited.
  • They exit.
  • Act 2, Scene 1
  • Brutus is in his garden late at night.
  • BRUTUS
  • I cannot by the progress of the stars give guess how near to day. When, Lucius, when? Awake, I say!
  • Lucius enters.
  • BRUTUS
  • Get me a taper in my study, Lucius.
  • He exits.
  • BRUTUS
  • It must be by his death. And for my part I know no personal cause to spurn at him, but for the general.
  •  
  •  
  • Brutus to himself
  •  
  • How being crowned will change his nature fair
  • Is the question. We here must walk with care,
  • Snakes being hatched on sunny days. Crown him
  • And we give him the viper’s sting; the line
  • Between power and sympathy’s drawn dim;
  • The mind must o’erreach the heart. History’s sign
  • Is proof that he who climbs the utmost rung
  • Looks above with his back to those who sung
  • Cheering praises. He may do what’s been done;
  • Lest he may, act. Since the present quarrel has
  • Weaknesses, say with the crown he would run
  • From these to those extremes. Think of him as
  • A serpent’s egg, which, as his kind, hatched, well
  • Could grow harmful. So kill him in the shell.
  • Lucius enters.
  • LUCIUS
  • Searching the window for a flint, I found this paper, thus sealed up.
  • BRUTUS
  • Is not tomorrow, boy, the ides of March? Look in the calendar, and bring me word.
  • Lucius exits. Brutus opens the letter. The letter reads: Brutus, thou sleep’st. Awake. Speak, strike, redress.
  • BRUTUS
  • My ancestors did from the streets of Rome the Tarquin drive when he was called a king. O Rome, I make thee promise, if the redress will follow, thou receivest thy full petition at the hand of Brutus.
  • Lucius enters.
  • LUCIUS
  • Sir, March is wasted fifteen days.
  • There’s a knock on the door. Lucius exits. Lucius re-enters.
  • LUCIUS
  • Sir, ‘tis your brother-in-law Cassius at the door, who doth desire to see you. There are more with him.
  • BRUTUS
  • Do you know them?
  • LUCIUS
  • No, sir. Their hats are plucked about their ears, and half their faces buried in their cloaks.
  • BRUTUS
  • Let ‘em enter.
  • Lucius exits.
  • BRUTUS
  • O conspiracy, sham’st thou to show thy dang’rous brow by night, when evils are most free? Seek none, conspiracy. Hide it in smiles and affability.
  • Cassius, Casca, Decius, Cinna, Metellus and Trebonius, the Conspirators, enter.
  • CASSIUS
  • Good morrow, Brutus. Do we trouble you?
  • BRUTUS
  • I have been up this hour, awake all night. Know I these men that come along with you?
  • CASSIUS
  • Yes, every man of them; and no man here but honors you.
  • BRUTUS
  • They are all welcome. Give me your hands all over, one by one.
  • CASSIUS
  • And let us swear our resolution.
  • BRUTUS
  • No, not an oath.
  •  
  •  
  • Brutus to Conspirators
  •  
  • If these motives weak, let’s break it off now,
  • And each man hence to his idle bed vow
  • To return. But if these strong enough to
  • Kindle cowards, then countrymen, why need
  • We any spur more than our cause? What do
  • We need as a bond other than our creed
  • As resolute Romans? What other oath
  • Than that this shall be or we will die? Loath
  • Souls welcome wrongs and bad causes swear. So
  • Stain not the virtue of our plan or will
  • To think our cause needs an oath when would flow
  • Every drop of noble Roman blood still
  • If any one of us succumbed to fear
  • And broke the promise made by being here.
  • CASSIUS
  • But what of Cicero? O think he will stand very strong with us.
  • CASCA
  • Let us not leave him out.
  • DECIUS
  • Shall no man else be touched, but only Caesar?
  • CASSIUS
  • Decius, well urged. Let Antony and Caesar fall together.
  • BRUTUS
  • Our course will seem too bloody, Caius Cassius. We all stand up against the spirit of Caesar, and in the spirit of men there is no blood. We shall be called 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.
  • BRUTUS
  • Alas, good Cassius, do not think of him.
  • TREBONIUS
  • There is no fear in him. Let him not die, for he will live and laugh at this hereafter. ‘Tis time to part.
  • CASSIUS
  • But it is doubtful yet whether Caesar will come forth today or no, for he is superstitious grown of late.
  • DECIUS
  • Never fear that. Let me work. And I will bring him to the Capitol.
  • CASSIUS
  • The morning comes upon ‘s. We’ll leave you, Brutus. And, friends, disperse yourselves, but all remember what you have said, and show yourselves true Romans.
  • BRUTUS
  • Good gentlemen, look fresh and merrily. Let not our looks put on our purposes.
  • All but Brutus exit. Portia enters.
  • BRUTUS
  • Portia! Wherefore rise you now? It is not for your health thus to commit your weak condition to the raw cold morning.
  • PORTIA
  • Nor for yours neither.
  •  
  •  
  • Portia to Brutus
  •  
  • You’ve ungently, Brutus, stole from your bed;
  • So, to honor that vow when we did wed,
  • Which did incorporate and make us one,
  • Unfold to me by virtue of my place
  • What I ought know. A sick offense doth run
  • Within your mind; the secrets in your face
  • Should not be within our marriage bond. Shun
  • Me as I yourself in limitation?
  • Dwell I but in the suburbs of your life?
  • I grant I am a woman, but referred
  • As Cato’s daughter and Brutus’ wife.
  • Think I am not strong being so fathered
  • And so husbanded? Your heavy mind foretells
  • Your fears; fear not I’ll disclose your counsels.
  • PORTIA
  • What men tonight have had resort to you; for here have been some six or seven who did hide their faces even from darkness.
  • BRUTUS
  • You are my true and honorable wife, as dear to me as are the ruddy drops that visit my sad heart.
  • PORTIA
  • If this were true, then should I know this secret. I grant I am a woman, but withal a woman that Lord Brutus took to wife.
  • BRUTUS
  • O you gods, render me worthy of this noble wife! Portia, go in awhile, and by and by all my engagements I will construe to thee, all the charactery of my sad brows.
  • She exits.
  • Act 2, Scene 2
  • Thunder and lightening are cracking, and Caesar is up.
  • CAESAR
  • Nor heaven nor earth have been at peace tonight.
  • Calphurnia enters.
  • CALPHURNIA
  • What mean you, Caesar? Think you to walk forth? You shall not stir out of your house today.
  • CAESAR
  • Caesar shall forth.
  • CALPHURNIA
  • Caesar, I never stood on ceremonies, yet now they fright me. O, Caesar, these things are beyond all use, and I do fear them.
  •  
  •  
  • Caesar to Calphurnia
  •  
  • How can one avoid the end purposed by
  • The mighty gods? I shall go. Cowards die
  • Many times before their death; the valiant
  • Never taste of death but once. Of all the
  • Wonders, ‘tis most strange that men try to vent
  • Death, seeing that death, a necessary
  • End, will come when it will come. Caesar were
  • A beast would he stay for fear, Danger
  • Knowing well that I am more dangerous
  • Than he; I the elder and more fearsome,
  • But you do fear. The gods do this to us,
  • Calphurnia, to shame cowardice. Come,
  • Let not the Senate postpone their plans made
  • With such whispers that Caesar is afraid.
  • CALPHURNIA
  • Alas, my lord, your wisdom is consumed in confidence. Do not go forth today. We’ll send Mark Antony to the Senate House, and he shall say you are not well today.
  • CAESAR
  • Mark Antony shall say I am not well. And for thy humor I will stay at home.
  • Decius enters.
  • DECIUS
  • Worthy Caesar. I come to fetch you to the Senate House.
  • CAESAR
  • Tell them that I will not come today. Cannot is false, and that I dare not, falser. I will not come today. Tell them so, Decius.
  • CALPHURNIA
  • Say he is sick.
  • CAESAR
  • Shall Caesar send a lie? Have I in conquest stretched mine arm so far, to be afeard to tell graybeards the truth? Decius, go tell them Caesar will not come.
  • DECIUS
  • Let me know some cause, lest I be laughed at when I tell them so.
  • CAESAR
  • The cause is in my will. I will not come. That is enough to satisfy the Senate.
  • DECIUS
  • 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. If Caesar hide himself, shall they not whisper “Lo, Caesar is afraid?”
  • CAESAR
  • How foolish do your fears seem now, Calphurnia! I am ashamed I did yield to them. Give me my robe, for I will go.
  • Brutus, Metellus, Casca, Trebonius, Cinna and Publius enter.
  • PUBLIUS
  • Good morrow, Caesar.
  • CAESAR
  • What, Brutus, are you stirred so early too? Good morrow, Casca,
  • Antony enters.
  • ANTONY
  • So to most noble Caesar.
  • CAESAR
  • Bid them prepare within. I am to blame to be thus waited for. We, like friends, will straightway go together.
  • They exit.
  • Act 2, Scene 3
  • Artemidorus is on stage reading a letter. In part the letter reads: Caesar, beware of Brutus, take heed of Cassius, come not near Casca, have an eye to Cinna, trust not Trebonius. There is but one mind in all these men, and it is bent against Caesar. Security gives way to conspiracy.
  • ARTEMIDORUS
  • Here will I stand till Caesar pass along. If thou read this, O Caesar, thou mayst live; if not, the fates with traitors do contrive.
  • He exits.
  • Act 2, Scene 4
  • Portia and Lucius are on stage.
  • PORTIA
  • I prithee, boy, run to the Senate House. Why dost thou stay?
  • LUCIUS
  • Madam, what should I do?
  • PORTIA
  • Yes, bring me word, boy, if thy lord look well. Hark, boy, what noise is that?
  • LUCIUS
  • Sooth, madam, I hear nothing.
  • The Soothsayer enters.
  • PORTIA
  • Thou hast some suit to Caesar, hast thou not?
  • 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.
  • PORTIA
  • Why, know’st thou any harms intended towards him?
  • SOOTHSAYER
  • None that I know will be, much that I fear may chance. I’ll get me to a place more void, and there speak to great Caesar as he comes along.
  • He exits.
  • PORTIA
  • I must go in.
  • PORTIA TO LUCIUS
  • Run, Lucius, and commend me to my lord. Say I am merry.
  • The exit separately.
  • Act 3, Scene 1
  • Caesar, the Soothsayer, Artemidorus, the Conspirators and many others are on stage.
  • CAESAR
  • The ides of March are come
  • SOOTHSAYER
  • Ay, Caesar, but not gone.
  • DECIUS
  • Trebonius doth desire you to o’erread, at your best leisure, this his humble suit.
  • ARTEMIDORUS
  • O Caesar, read mine first, for mine’s a suit that touches Caesar nearer. Read it, great Caesar. Delay not, Caesar; read it instantly.
  • CAESAR
  • What, is the fellow mad?
  • PUBLIUS
  • Sirrah, give place.
  • Caesar moves forward.
  • CAESAR
  • Are we all ready? What is now amiss that Caesar and his Senate must redress?
  • METELLUS
  • Most high, most mighty, and most puissant Caesar, Metellus Cimber throws before thy seat an humble heart.
  • CAESAR
  • I must prevent thee, Cimber. 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.
  • METELLUS
  • Is there no voice more worthy than my own to sound more sweetly in great Caesar’s ear for the repealing of my banished brother?
  • BRUTUS
  • I kiss thy hand, desiring thee that Publius Cimber may have an immediate freedom of repeal.
  • CASSIUS
  • Pardon, Caesar, pardon! As low as to thy foot doth Cassius fall to beg enfranchisement for Publius Cimber.
  • CAESAR
  • I could be well moved, if I were as you. If I could pray to move, prayers would move me. But I am constant as the Northern Star. I was constant Cimber should be banished and constant do remain to keep him so.
  • CINNA
  • O Caesar.
  • DECIUS
  • Great Caesar.
  • CASCA
  • Speak, hands, for me!
  • As Casca strikes, the others rise up and stab Caesar.
  • CAESAR
  • Et tu, Brute? Then fall, Caesar.
  • He dies.
  • CINNA
  • Liberty! Freedom! Tyranny is dead! Run hence, proclaim, cry it about the streets.
  • BRUTUS
  • People and senators, be not affrighted. Fly not; stand still. Ambition’s debt is paid.
  • All but the Conspirators exit. Trebonius enters.
  • CASSIUS
  • Where is Antony?
  • TREBONIUS
  • Fled to his house amazed. Men, wives, and children stare, cry out, and run as it were doomsday.
  • BRUTUS
  • That we shall die we know; ‘tis but the time, and drawing days out, that men stand upon.
  • CASCA
  • Why, he that cuts off twenty years of life cuts off so many years of fearing death.
  • BRUTUS
  • Grant that, and then is death a benefit. So are we Caesar’s friends, that have abridged his time of fearing death.
  • CASSIUS
  • How many ages hence shall this our lofty scene be acted over in states unborn and accents yet unknown!
  • DECIUS
  • What, shall we forth?
  • A servant enters.
  • BRUTUS
  • Soft, who comes here? A friend of Antony’s
  • SERVANT
  • Thus, Brutus, did my master bid me knee. If Brutus will vouchsafe that Antony may safely come to him and be resolved how Caesar hath deserved 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 through the hazards of this untrod state with all true faith. So says my master Antony.
  • BRUTUS
  • Tell him, so please him come unto this place, he shall be satisfied and, by my honor, depart untouched.
  • Servant exits.
  • BRUTUS
  • I know that we shall have him well to friend.
  • CASSIUS
  • I wish we may; but yet have I a mind that fears him much.
  • Antony enters.
  • ANTONY
  • I do beseech you, if you bear me hard, now fulfill your pleasure. Live a thousand years, I shall not find myself so apt to die; no place will please me so, no mean of death, as here by Caesar, and by you cut off, the choice and master spirits of this age.
  • BRUTUS
  • O Antony, beg not your death of us! For your part, to you our swords have leaden points, Mark Antony. Our arms in strength of malice, and our hearts of brothers’ temper, do receive you in with all kind love, good thoughts, and reverence. Only be patient till we have appeased 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. Gentlemen all----alas, what shall I say? My credit now stands on such slippery ground that one of two bad ways you must conceit me, either a coward or a flatterer. That I did love thee, Caesar, O, ‘tis true! O world, the heart of thee. How like a deer stricken by many princes dost thou here lie!
  • CASSIUS
  • I blame you not for praising Caesar so. But what compact mean you to have with us? Will you be pricked in number of our friends, or shall we on and not depend on you?
  • ANTONY
  • 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 where this a savage spectacle. 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 produce his body to the marketplace, and in the pulpit, as becomes a friend, speak in the order of his funeral.
  • BRUTUS
  • You shall, Mark Antony.
  • CASSIUS ASIDE TO BRUTUS
  • You know not what you do. Do not consent that Antony speak in his funeral. Know you how much the people may be moved by that which he will utter?
  • BRUTUS ASIDE TO CASSIUS
  • 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 he speaks by leave and by permission.
  • CASSIUS ASIDE TO BRUTUS
  • I know not what may fall. I like it not.
  • BRUTUS
  • Mark Antony, here, take you Caesar’s body. 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. 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.
  • All but Antony exit.
  • ANTONY
  • O pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth, 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!
  • Octavius Caesar’s servant enters.
  • ANTONY
  • You serve Octavius Caesar, do you not?
  • SERVANT
  • I do, Mark Antony.
  • ANTONY
  • Caesar did write for him to come to Rome.
  • SERVANT
  • He did receive his letters and is coming. He lies tonight within seven leagues of Rome.
  • ANTONY
  • Post back with speed and tell him what hath chanced. Here is a mourning Rome, a dangerous Rome, no Rome of safety for Octavius yet. Lend me your hand.
  • They exit with Caesar’s body.
  • Act 3, Scene 2
  • Brutus and Cassius are on stage with Plebeians.
  • PLEBEIANS
  • We will be satisfied! Let us be satisfied!
  • BRUTUS
  • Then follow me and give me audience, friends.
  • FIRST PLEBEIAN
  • I will hear Brutus speak.
  • Brutus goes into the pulpit.
  • THIRD PLEBEIAN
  • The noble Brutus is ascended. Silence.
  • BRUTUS
  • Be patient till the last.
  •  
  •  
  • Brutus to Plebeians
  •  
  • Romans, hear me for my cause. Silent be
  • That you hear. For my honour, believe me;
  • Respect mine honour that you may believe.
  • Wake your senses that you be a better
  • Judge. As for my dear friend, Brutus doth grieve
  • For Caesar, as you would, if this death were
  • Of any in this assembly’s best friend.
  • Not that I loved Caesar less; in the end
  • I loved Rome more. Had you rather Caesar
  • Alive and die slaves? As he ambitious,
  • I slew him. As he valiant, I honour
  • Him. Who here offended; who among us
  • Is not a Roman? With this I depart.
  • When needed, this dagger goes through my heart.
  • BRUTUS
  • If any, speak, for him have I offended. I pause for a reply.
  • PLEBEIANS
  • None, Brutus, none.
  • BRUTUS
  • Then none have I offended.
  • Mark Antony and others enter with Caesar’s body.
  • BRUTUS
  • Good countrymen, let me depart alone, and, for my sake, stay here with Antony. I do entreat you, not a man depart, save I alone, till Antony have spoke.
  • He descends and exits.
  • ANTONY
  • For Brutus’ sake, I am beholding to you.
  • He goes into the pulpit.
  • FIRST PLEBEIAN
  • This Caesar was a tyrant.
  • THIRD PLEBEIAN
  • Nay that’s certain. We are blest that Rome is rid of him.
  • SECOND PLEBEIAN
  • Peace, let us hear what Antony can say.
  •  
  •  
  • Antony to Plebeians, No. 1
  •  
  • Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears.
  • I come not to praise good that was Caesar’s,
  • But to bury him. The evil that men
  • Do lives after them; good is oft interred
  • With their bones. Caesar was my friend, but then
  • Brutus says it was ambition that blurred
  • Caesar’s vision and you know Brutus is
  • A just and honorable man. When his
  • Poor have cried, Caesar hath wept. Ambition
  • Should be of sterner stuff. He refused to
  • Accept the crown. This ambition? As one,
  • You loved him, with just cause; what cause holds you
  • To mourn for him? O judgment, thou hath run
  • To brutish beasts. Men have lost their reason!
  • ANTONY
  • Bear with me; My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar, and I must pause till it come back to me.
  • FIRST PLEBEIAN
  • Methinks there is much reason in his sayings.
  • THIRD PLEBEIAN
  • Has he, masters? I fear there will a worse come in his place.
  • FOURTH PLEBEIAN
  • Marked you his words? He would not take the crown; therefore ‘tis certain he was not ambitious.
  • THIRD PLEBEIAN
  • There’s not a nobler man in Rome than Antony.
  • FOURTH PLEBEIAN
  • Now mark him. He begins again to speak.
  •  
  •  
  • Antony to Plebeians, No. 2
  •  
  • If I were disposed to stir at this stage
  • Your hearts and minds to mutiny and rage,
  • I should do Brutus and just Cassius wrong,
  • Both honorable men, as you all know.
  • With the seal intact, I have found this long
  • Parchment. ‘Tis his will, which I dare not show,
  • But that the commons hear, they’d beg a hair
  • Of him as a legacy unto their
  • Issue. Being men, ‘tis best you not hear
  • Caesar’s will. Gentle friends, ‘tis best I bar
  • You from it; that you know not how Caesar
  • Loved you. ‘Tis good you know not that you are
  • His heirs; better to know not what’s here writ,
  • For if you should, O, what would come of it?
  • FOURTH PLEBEIAN
  • Read the will! We’ll hear it, Antony.
  • ANTONY
  • I have o’ershot myself to tell you of it. I fear I wrong the honorable men whose daggers have stabbed Caesar. I do fear it.
  • FOURTH PLEBEIAN
  • They were traitors. Honorable men?
  • SECOND PLEBEIAN
  • They were villains, murderers. The will! Read the will.
  • ANTONY
  • You will compel me, then, to read the will? Then make a ring about the corpse of Caesar, and let me show you him that made the will.
  • Antony descends.
  • PLEBEIANS
  • Stand back! Room! Bear back!
  •  
  •  
  • Antony to Plebeians, No. 3
  •  
  • ‘Twas a summer’s evening when Caesar wore
  • First this cloak. Here, Cassius’ dagger tore
  • Through. See the rip envious Casca made.
  • And through here the well beloved Brutus thrust.
  • Now mark how as he plucked the cursed blade
  • Away, Caesar’s blood rushed out in distrust
  • That it could be Brutus, for Brutus was
  • His angel. It the least kind cut, because
  • Caesar loved him. The ingratitude, when
  • Great Caesar saw him stab, burst his mighty
  • Heart, and noble Caesar fell, a fall then
  • Heard by peaceful men throughout the country,
  • While you and I and others fell useless,
  • While bloody treason flourished over us.
  • Antony lifts Caesar’s cloak.
  • ANTONY
  • Here is himself, marred as you see with traitors.
  • THIRD PLEBEIAN
  • O woeful day!
  • FIRST PLEBEIAN
  • O most bloody sight!
  • PLEBEIANS
  • Revenge! About! Seek! Burn! Fire! Let not a traitor live.
  • ANTONY
  • Stay, countrymen.
  • FIRST PLEBEIAN
  • Peace there! Hear the noble Antony.
  • SECOND PLEBEIAN
  • We’ll hear him, we’ll follow him, we’ll die with him.
  •  
  •  
  • Antony to Plebeians, No. 4
  •  
  • Good friends, sweet friends, let me not stir you up
  • To a flood of revenge o’er this abrupt
  • Deed. They are wise and honorable men
  • And I know not their private griefs that led
  • Them to it. No doubt there’ll be a time when
  • With reasons they’ll answer you. As I’ve said,
  • I’m a plain blunt man, not an orator,
  • As Brutus is. I have neither wit nor
  • Words, nor worth, nor action, nor do I bear
  • The strength of speech to stir men’s blood. But were
  • I Brutus, and Brutus Antony, there
  • Be an Antony to ruffle up your
  • Wills. With his golden tongue, this Antony
  • Could move the stones of Rome to mutiny.
  • PLEBEIANS
  • We’ll mutiny.
  • FIRST PLEBEIAN
  • We’ll burn the house of Brutus.
  • THIRD PLEBEIAN
  • Come, seek the conspirators.
  • ANTONY
  • You have forgot the will I told you of.
  • PLEBEIANS
  • Most true. The will! Let’s stay and hear the will.
  • ANTONY
  • Here is the will, and under Caesar’s seal; to every Roman citizen he gives, to every several man, seventy-five drachmas. Moreover, he hath left you all his walks, his private arbors, and new-planted orchards. Here was a Caesar! When comes such another?
  • Plebeians exit with Caesar’s body.
  • ANTONY
  • Now let it work. Mischief, thou art afoot; take thou what course thou wilt.
  • A servant enters.
  • SERVANT
  • Sir, Octavius is already come to Rome.
  • ANTONY
  • Where is he?
  • SERVANT
  • He and Lepidus are at Caesar’s house. I heard him say Brutus and Cassius are rid like madmen through the gates of Rome.
  • ANTONY
  • Belike they had some notice of the people how I had moved them. Bring me to Octavius.
  • They exit.
  • Act 3, Scene 3
  • Cinna the poet enters, followed by the plebeians.
  • CINNA
  • I dreamt tonight that I did feast with Caesar.
  • FIRST PLEBEIAN
  • What is your name?
  • SECOND PLEBEIAN
  • Whither are you going?
  • FOURTH PLEBEIAN
  • Are you a married man or a bachelor?
  • CINNA
  • What is my name? Whither am I going? Am I a married man or a bachelor? Wisely I say, I am a bachelor.
  • SECOND PLEBEIAN
  • That’s as much as to say they are fools that marry.
  • THIRD PLEBEIAN
  • Your name, sir, truly.
  • CINNA
  • Truly, my name is Cinna.
  • FIRST PLEBEIAN
  • He’s a conspirator.
  • CINNA
  • I am Cinna the poet, I am Cinna the poet! I am not Cinna the conspirator.
  • FIRST PLEBEIAN
  • It is no matter. His name is Cinna.
  • THIRD PLEBEIAN
  • Tear him. To Brutus’, to Cassius’, burn all! Some to Decius’ house.
  • The plebeians exit, carrying off Cinna.
  • Act 4, Scene 1
  • Antony, Octavius and Lepidus are on stage.
  • ANTONY
  • These many, then, shall die; their names are marked for death.
  • OCTAVIUS
  • Your brother too must die. Consent you, Lepidus?
  • LEPIDUS
  • I do consent. Who is your sister’s son, Mark Antony.
  • ANTONY
  • He shall not live. Lepidus, go you to Caesar’s house; fetch the will hither.
  • Lepidus exits.
  • ANTONY
  • This is a slight, unmeritable man, meet to be sent on errands. Is it fit, the threefold world divided, he should stand one of the three to share it?
  • OCTVIUS
  • You may do your will, but he’s a tried and valiant soldier.
  • ANTONY
  • So is my horse. Do not talk of him but as a property. And now, Octavius, listen great things. Brutus and Cassius are levying powers. Therefore let our alliance be combined, our best friends made, our means stretched.
  • OCTAVIUS
  • Let us do so, for we are at the stake and bayed about with many enemies, and some that smile have in their hearts, I fear, millions of mischiefs.
  • They exit.
  • Act 4, Scene 2
  • Brutus, Lucilius, others and their army are on stage.
  • BRUTUS
  • What now, Lucilius, is Cassius near?
  • LUCILIUS
  • He is at hand.
  • Brutus and Lucilius walk aside.
  • BRUTUS
  • A word Lucilius. How he received you.
  • LUCILIUS
  • With courtesy and with respect enough, but not with such familiar instances, nor with such free and friendly conference as he hath used of old.
  • BRUTUS
  • Thou hast described a hot friend cooling. Ever note, Lucilius, when love begins to sicken and decay it useth an unnatural ceremony. Comes his army on?
  • Cassius and his powers enter.
  • BRUTUS
  • Hark, he is arrived. March gently on to meet him.
  • CASSIUS
  • Most noble brother, you have done me wrong.
  • BRUTUS
  • Judge me, you gods! Wrong I mine enemies? And if not so, how should I wrong a brother?
  • CASSIUS
  • Brutus, this sober form of yours hides wrongs.
  • BRUTUS
  • Cassius, be content. Speak your griefs softly. I do know you well. In my tent, Cassius, enlarge your griefs, and I will give you audience. Lucius, let no man come to our tent till we have done our conference.
  • All but Brutus and Cassius exit.
  • Act 4, Scene 3
  • Cassius and Brutus are in their tent.
  • CASSIUS
  • You have condemned and noted Lucius Pella for taking bribes here of the Sardians.
  • BRUTUS
  • Let me tell you, Cassius, you yourself are much condemned to have an itching palm, to sell and mart your offices for gold to undeservers.
  • CASSIUS
  • I an itching palm? You know that you are Brutus that speaks this, or, this speech were else your last.
  • BRUTUS
  • Did not great Julius bleed for justice’ sake? 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? I had rather be a dog and bay the moon than such a Roman.
  • CASSIUS
  • Brutus, bait not me. I’ll not endure it. I am a soldier, I, older in practice, abler than yourself to make conditions.
  • BRUTUS
  • You are not, Cassius.
  • CASSIUS
  • I am.
  • BRUTUS
  • I say you are not.
  • CASSIUS
  • Urge me no more. Tempt me no farther.
  • BRUTUS
  • Hear me, for I will speak.
  • CASSIUS
  • O you gods, must I endure all this?
  • BRUTUS
  • Fret till your proud heart break. Must I stand and crouch under your testy humor? For, from this day forth, 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.
  • CASSIUS
  • You wrong me every way, you wrong me, Brutus. I said an elder soldier, not a better. Did I say “better?”
  • BRUTUS
  • If you did, I care not.
  • CASSIUS
  • When Caesar lived he durst not thus have moved me.
  • BRUTUS
  • You durst not so have tempted him.
  • CASSIUS
  • Do not presume too much upon my love. I may do that I shall be sorry for.
  • BRUTUS
  • You have done that you should be sorry for.
  •  
  •  
  • Brutus to Cassius, No. 1
  •  
  • There is no terror, Cassius, in your threat,
  • For my honesty is such that threats get
  • In my way as the idle wind, which I
  • Respect not. You denied me when I asked
  • For funds, since I can raise no money by
  • Vile means. I would rather my heart be tasked
  • To coin drachmas than to wring from the hands
  • Of peasants their money earned from their lands.
  • When I asked for help, Cassius, you turned me
  • Down. Was that you, Cassius? Would I have come
  • To such action? If ever Brutus be
  • So callous as to keep a few coins from
  • His friends, be ready, gods, with all your fits,
  • Storms and thunderbolts to dash him to bits.
  • CASSIUS
  • I denied you not.
  • BRUTUS
  • You did.
  • CASSIUS
  • I did not. He was but a fool that brought my answer back.
  • BRUTUS
  • I do not like your faults.
  • CASSIUS
  • A friendly eye could never see such faults.
  • BRUTUS
  • A flatterer’s would not, though they do appear as huge as high Olympus.
  • CASSIUS
  • Come, Antony, and young Octavius, come! Revenge yourselves alone on Cassius, for Cassius is aweary of the world. O, I could weep my spirit from mine eyes! There is my dagger.
  • Cassius offers his dagger to Brutus.
  • CASSIUS
  • If that thou be’st a Roman, take it forth. I that denied thee gold will give my heart. Strike as thou didst at Caesar.
  • BRUTUS
  • Sheathe your dagger. O Cassius, you are yoked with a lamb that carriers anger as the flint bears fire.
  • CASSIUS
  • Hath Cassius loved to be but mirth and laughter to his Brutus when grief and blood ill-tempered vexeth him?
  • BRUTUS
  • When I spoke that, I was ill-tempered too.
  • CASSIUS
  • Do you confess so much? Give me your hand.
  • They clasp hands. A poet enters, followed by Lucius.
  • CASSIUS
  • How now, what’s the matter?
  • POET
  • For shame, you generals, what do you mean? 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 rhyme!
  • BRUTUS
  • Get you hence, sirrah! Saucy fellow, hence!
  • The Poet exits.
  • BRUTUS
  • Lucius, a bowl of wine.
  • Lucius exits.
  • CASSIUS
  • I did not think you could have been so angry.
  • BRUTUS
  • O Cassius, I am sick of many griefs. No man bears sorrow better. Portia is dead.
  • CASSIUS
  • How ‘scaped I killing when I crossed you so? 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.
  • Lucius enters with the wine and candles.
  • BRUTUS
  • Speak no more of her. Give me a bowl of wine. In this I bury all unkindness, Cassius.
  • CASSIUS
  • My heart is thirsty for that noble pledge. Fill, Lucius, till the wine o’erswell the cup; I cannot drink too much of Brutus’ love.
  • They drink. Lucius exits. Titinius and Messala enter.
  • BRUTUS
  • Messala, I have here received letters that young Octavius and Mark Antony come down upon us with a mighty power, bending their expedition toward Philippi.
  • MESSALA
  • Myself have letters of the selfsame tenor.
  • BRUTUS
  • With what addition?
  • MESSALA
  • Octavius, Antony and Lepidus have put to death an hundred senators.
  • BRUTUS
  • What do you think of marching to Philippi presently?
  • CASSIUS
  • I do not think it good.
  • BRUTUS
  • Your reason?
  • CASSIUS
  • ‘Tis better that the enemy seek us; so shall he waste his means, weary his soldiers, doing himself offense, whilst we, lying still, are full of rest, defense, and nimbleness.
  • BRUTUS
  • Good reasons must of force give way to better.
  •  
  •  
  • Brutus to Cassius, No. 2
  •  
  • The people ‘twixt Philippi and this ground
  • Do support us grudgingly, but it’s found
  • A forced affection. Marching along by
  • Them, the enemy will add men they lack
  • Who are refreshed with their emotions high,
  • Where we’ll have then these people at our back
  • If we meet him at Philippi. The tide
  • In the affairs of men taken when wide
  • Leads on to fortune; omitted, men see
  • Their life voyages shattered and they tote
  • Life in the shallows, bound in misery.
  • On such a full sea we are now afloat,
  • And act we must as this fortune occurs
  • And the current serves, or lose our ventures.
  • CASSIUS
  • Then, with your will, go on; we’ll along ourselves and meet them at Philippi.
  • BRUTUS
  • The deep of night is crept upon our talk, and nature must obey necessity.
  • CASSIUS
  • Early tomorrow will we rise and hence.
  • All but Brutus and Lucius exit. Lucius falls asleep.
  • BRUTUS
  • Let me see, where I left reading? Here it is, I think. How ill this taper burns.
  • The Ghost of Caesar enters.
  • BRUTUS
  • Ha, who comes here? I think it is the weakness of mine eyes that shapes this monstrous apparition. Speak to me what thou art.
  • GHOST
  • Thy evil spirit, Brutus.
  • BRUTUS
  • Why com’st thou?
  • GHOST
  • To tell thee thou shalt see me at Philippi.
  • BRUTUS
  • Why, I will see thee at Philippi, then.
  • The Ghost exits.
  • BRUTUS
  • Boy, Lucius! Awake. Claudius!
  • LUCIUS
  • My lord?
  • BRUTUS
  • Didst thou dream, Lucius, that thou so criedst out?
  • LUCIUS
  • My lord, I do not know that I did cry.
  • BRUTUS
  • Yes, that thou didst. Didst thou see anything?
  • LUCIUS
  • Nothing, my lord.
  • BRUTUS
  • Sleep again, Lucius. Sirrah Claudius! Varro!
  • CLAUDIUS
  • My lord?
  • VARRO
  • My lord?
  • BRUTUS
  • Why did you so cry out in your sleep?
  • BOTH
  • Did we, my lord?
  • BRUTUS
  • Ay. Saw you anything?
  • VARRO
  • No, my lord, I saw nothing.
  • CLAUDIUS
  • Nor I, my lord.
  • BRUTUS
  • Go and commend me to my brother Cassius. Bid him set on his powers betimes before. And we will follow.
  • They exit.
  • Act 5, Scene 1
  • Octavius, Antony and their army are on stage.
  • OCTAVIUS
  • Now, Antony, our hopes are answered. They mean to warn us at Philippi here, answering before we do demand of them.
  • A messenger enters.
  • MESSENGER
  • Prepare you, generals. The enemy comes on in gallant show.
  • Brutus, Cassius and their army enters. Octavius and Antony step forward.
  • BRUTUS
  • Words before blows; is it so, countrymen?
  • ANTONY
  • Brutus, you give good words. Witness the hole you made in Caesar’s heart. You bowed like bondmen, kissing Caesar’s feet, whilst Casca, like a cur, behind struck Caesar on the neck. O you flatterers!
  • CASSIUS
  • Flatterers?
  • OCTAVIUS
  • Come, come, the cause. If arguing make us sweat, the proof of it will turn to redder drops. Look, I draw a sword against Conspirators.
  • BRUTUS
  • Caesar, thou canst not die by traitors’ hands unless thou bring’st them with thee.
  • OCTAVIUS
  • So I hope. I was not born to die on Brutus’ sword.
  • BRUTUS
  • O, young man, thou couldst not die more honorable.
  • CASSIUS
  • A peevish schoolboy, worthless of such honor, joined with a masker and a reveler!
  • ANTONY
  • Old Cassius still.
  • OCTAVIUS
  • Come, Antony, away! If you dare fight today, come to the field; if not, when you have stomachs.
  • Octavius, Antony and their army exit. Brutus steps aside.
  • CASSIUS
  • Messala.
  • MESSALA
  • What says my general?
  • CASSIUS
  • This is my birthday, as this very day was Cassius born. This morning 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.
  • MESSALA
  • Believe it not.
  • CASSIUS
  • I but believe it partly, for I am fresh of spirit and resolved to meet all perils very constantly.
  • Brutus returns.
  • CASSIUS
  • Now, most noble Brutus, the gods today stand friendly that we may, lovers in peace, lead on our days to age.
  •  
  •  
  • Cassius to Brutus, No. 3
  •  
  • Since the affairs of men vest uncertain,
  • Let’s pause, for if we lose this battle, then
  • This is the last time we two speak. What do
  • You now plan, Brutus? Through providence I
  • Find it vile to fear what might fall and to
  • Prevent the time of life; rather led by
  • Some high powers that govern us below.
  • If we lose, are you willing to be so
  • Led through Rome as a prisoner in tow?
  • This same day must end that work to defeat
  • What we began. If we not to be, so
  • Our forever farewells take. If we meet
  • Again, we shall smile; if not, we’ll have bade
  • Our final farewells, this parting well made.
  • BRUTUS
  • Why then, lead on. Sufficeth that the day will end, and then the end is known. Come on, away!
  • They exit.
  • Act 5, Scene 2
  • Brutus sends his legions into battle.
  • BRUTUS
  • Let them set on at once. Ride, ride, Messala! Let them all come down.
  • They exit.
  • Act 5, Scene 3
  • A trumpet calls to arms. Cassius and Titinius are on stage.
  • CASSIUS
  • O, look, Titinius, look, the villains fly!
  • TITINIUS
  • O Cassius, Brutus gave the word too early, who, having some advantage on Octavius. His soldiers fell to looting, whilst we by Antony are all enclosed.
  • Pindarus enters.
  • PINDARUS
  • My lord, fly further off! Mark Antony is in your tents, my lord.
  • CASSIUS
  • Look, look, Titinius, are those my tents where I perceive the fire?
  • TITINIUS
  • They are, my lord.
  • CASSIUS
  • Titinius, mount thou my horse and hide thy spurs in him till he have brought thee up to yonder troops and here again, that I may rest assured whether yond troops are friend or enemy.
  • Titinius exits.
  • CASSIUS
  • Go, Pindarus, get higher on that hill. Regard Titinius and tell me what thou not’st about the field.
  • Pindarus goes up the hill.
  • PINDARUS
  • Titinius is enclosed round about with horsemen that make to him on the spur, yet he spurs on. Now they are almost on him. He’s ta’en.
  • Pindarus comes down from the hill.
  • CASSIUS
  • 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. And, when my face is covered, as ‘tis now, guide thou the sword.
  • Pindarus stabs him. Cassius dies.
  • PINDARUS
  • So I am free. O Cassius! Far from this country Pindarus shall run, where never Roman shall take note of him.
  • He exits. Titinius and Messala enter.
  • MESSASLA
  • It is but change, Titinius, for Octavius is overthrown by noble Brutus’ power, as Cassius’ legions are by Antony.
  • TITINIUS
  • These tidings will well comfort Cassius.
  • MESSALA
  • Is not that he?
  • TITINIUS
  • No, this was he, Messala, but Cassius is no more. 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.
  • MESSALA
  • Mistrust of good success hath done this deed. O hateful error, melancholy’s child, why dost thou show to the apt thoughts of men the things that are not?
  • TITINIUS
  • What, Pindarus! Where art thou, Pindarus?
  • MESSALA
  • Seek him, Titinius, whilst I go to meet the noble Brutus, thrusting this report into his ears.
  • TITINIUS
  • Hie you, Messala, and I will seek for Pindarus the while.
  • Messala exits.
  • TITINIUS
  • Alas, thou hast misconstrued everything. But hold thee, take this garland on thy brow.
  • He lays the garland on Cassius’ brow.
  • TITINIUS
  • Brutus, come apace, and see how I regarded Caius Cassius. Come, Cassius’ sword, and find Titinius’ heart!
  • He dies on Cassius’ sword. Brutus, Messala, Cato and others enter.
  • BRUTUS
  • O Julius Caesar, thou art mighty yet; thy spirit walks abroad and turns our swords in our own proper entrails.
  • CATO
  • Brave Titinius! Look whe’er he have not crowned dead Cassius.
  • BRUTUS
  • Are yet two Romans living such as these? The last of all the Romans, fare thee well. Friends, I owe more tears to this dead man than you shall see me pay. I shall find time, Cassius, I shall find time. Let us to the field. ‘Tis three o’clock, and, Romans, yet ere night we shall try fortune in a second fight.
  • They exit.
  • Act 5, Scene 4
  • Brutus, Messala, Lucilius and others are on stage.
  • BRUTUS
  • Yet, countrymen, O, yet hold up your heads!
  • Brutus, Messala, and Flavius exit. Antony’s legions enter.
  • LUCILIUS
  • And I am Brutus, Marcus Brutus, I!
  • A soldier seizes Lucilius.
  • SOLDIER
  • Yield, or thou diest.
  • LUCILIUS
  • Only I yield to die. Kill Brutus and be honored in his death.
  • Antony enters.
  • SOLDIER
  • Here come the General. Brutus is ta’en.
  • ANTONY
  • Where is he?
  • LUCILIUS
  • Safe, Antony. I dare assure thee that no enemy shall ever take alive the noble Brutus.
  • ANTONY
  • This is not Brutus. Keep this man safe. I had rather have such men my friends than enemies.
  • They exit in different directions.
  • Act 5, Scene 5
  • Brutus and others are on stage.
  • Dardanus and Clitus step aside.
  • CLITIS
  • What ill request did Brutus make to thee?
  • DARDANUS
  • To kill him, Clitus. Look, he meditates.
  • CLITUS
  • Now is that noble vessel full of grief, that it runs over even at his eyes.
  • BRUTUS
  • Come hither, good Volumnius.
  • VOLUMNIUS
  • What says my lord?
  • BRUTUS
  • The ghost of Caesar hath appeared to me two several times by night-----at Sardis once and this last night here in Philippi fields.
  •  
  •  
  • Brutus to his Men
  •  
  • Men, my hour has now come. Our enemy
  • Hath thrust us to the edge. ‘Tis more worthy
  • To leap over ourselves than tarry till
  • They push us. Countrymen, my heart doth joy
  • That yet in all my life I find men still
  • True to me. I have honor, as deploy
  • They their vile conquest. Brutus’ tongue hath
  • Reached an end; mine eyes tired, seeing this wrath;
  • My bones would rest, having worked to attain
  • This hour. Strato, hold my sword. ‘Twill foretell
  • A man of respect; allow you to gain
  • More honor. Your hand, good Strato, farewell.
  • Turn as I run to it. Caesar, be still.
  • I killed not thee with half so good a will.
  • Brutus dies. Antony, Octavius, Messala, Lucilius and the army enter.
  • MESSALA
  • Strato, where is thy master?
  • STRATO
  • Free from the bondage you are in, Messala. Brutus only overcame himself and no man else hath honor by his death.
  • MESSALA
  • How died my master, Strato?
  • STRATO
  • I held the sword, and he did run on it.
  • 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. His life was gentle and the elements so mixed in him that nature might stand up and say to all the world “This was a man.”

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