From Julius Caesar. Ed. Henry Norman Hudson. New York: Ginn and Co., 1908.
10. [Exit ... pulpit] Ff omit.
11. "The rest followed in troupe, but Brutus went
foremost, very honourably compassed in round about with the
noblest men of the city, which brought him from the Capitol,
through the market-place, to the pulpit for orations. When the
people saw him in the pulpit, although they were a multitude
of rakehels of all sorts, and had a good will to make some
stir; yet, being ashamed to do it, for the reverence they bare
unto Brutus, they kept silence to hear what he would say. When
Brutus began to speak, they gave him quiet audience: howbeit,
immediately after, they shewed that they were not all
contented with the murther."--Plutarch, Marcus Brutus.
13.lovers: Pope changed this to 'friends.' But in the
sixteenth century 'lover' and 'friend' were synonymous. In l.
44 Brutus speaks of Cęsar as 'my best lover.' So 'Thy lover'
in II, iii, 8.
16.censure: judge. The word may have been chosen for
the euphuistic jingle it makes here with 'senses.'
26.There is tears: So in I, iii, 138. See Abbott, §
36-39. The reason of his death is made a matter of
solemn official record in the books of the Senate, as showing
that the act of killing him was done for public ends, and not
from private hate. His fame is not lessened or whittled down
in those points wherein he was worthy. 'Enforc'd' is in
antithesis to 'extenuated.' Exactly the same antithesis is
found in Antony and Cleopatra, V, ii, 125.
43-46. In this speech Shakespeare seems to have aimed at
imitating the manner actually ascribed to Brutus. "In some of
his Epistles, he counterfeited that brief compendious manner
of speech of the Lacedęmonians."--Plutarch, Marcus Brutus.
Shakespeare's idea is sustained by the Dialogus de
Oratoribus, ascribed to Tacitus, wherein it is said that
Brutus's style of eloquence was censured as otiosum et
disjunctum. Verplanck remarks, "the disjunctum, the
broken-up style, without oratorical continuity, is precisely
that assumed by the dramatist." Gollancz finds a probable
original of this speech in Belleforest's Histoires Tragiques
(Hamlet); Dowden thinks Shakespeare received hints from the
English version (1578) of Appian's Roman Wars.
65.beholding: This Elizabethan corruption of
'beholden' occurs constantly in the Folios of 1623, 1632, and
1664. The Fourth Folio usually has 'beholden.' Here Camb has
'Goes into the pulpit.'
72. "Afterwards when Cęsar's body was brought into the
market-place, Antonius making his funeral oration in praise of
the dead, according to the ancient custom of Rome, and
perceiving that his words moved the common people to
compassion, he framed his eloquence to make their hearts yearn
the more; and taking Cęsar's gown all bloody in his hand, he
laid it open to the sight of them all, shewing what a number
of cuts and holes it had upon it. Therewithal the people fell
presently into such a rage and mutiny, that there was no more
order kept amongst the common people."--Plutarch, Marcus
Brutus.[A] How Shakespeare elaborates this!
A. There is a similar passage in Plutarch, Marcus
75-76. So in Henry VIII, IV, ii, 45: "Men's evil
manners live in brass; their virtues We write in water."
89. Cęsar's campaigns in Gaul put vast sums of money
into his hands, a large part of which he kept to his own use,
as he might have kept it all; but he did also, in fact, make
over much of it to the public treasury. This was a very
popular act, as it lightened the taxation of the city.
95.on the Lupercal: at the festival of the Lupercal.
99. These repetitions of 'honourable man' are intensely
ironical; and for that very reason the irony should be
studiously kept out of the voice in pronouncing them. Speakers
and readers utterly spoil the effect of the speech by
specially emphasizing the irony. For, from the extreme
delicacy of his position, Antony is obliged to proceed with
the utmost caution, until he gets the audience thoroughly in
his power. The consummate adroitness which he uses to this end
is one of the greatest charms of this oration.
103.to mourn: from mourning. The gerundive use of the
104. 'Brutish' is by no means tautological here, the
antithetic sense of human brutes being most artfully implied.
110. It was here, as the first words of the reply of the
Third Citizen, that Pope would have inserted the quotation
preserved in Jonson's Discoveries, discussed in note, p. 83,
ll. 47-48. Pope's note is:
"Cęsar has had great wrong.
3 PLEB. Cęsar had never wrong, but with just cause.
If ever there was such a line written by Shakespeare, I should
fancy it might have its place here, and very humorously in the
character of a Plebeian." Craik inserted 'not' after 'Has
120. And there are none so humble but that the great
Cęsar is now beneath their reverence, or too low for their
133.napkins: handkerchiefs. In the third scene of the
third act of Othello the two words are used
150.o'ershot myself to tell: gone too far in telling.
Another example of the infinitive used as a gerund. Cf. l. 103
and II, i, 135.
152. Antony now sees that he has the people wholly with
him, so that he is perfectly safe in stabbing the stabbers
with these words.
166.far: farther. The old comparative of 'far' is
'farrer' (sometimes 'ferrar') still heard in dialect, and the
final -er will naturally tend to be slurred. So The
Winter's Tale, IV, iv, 441, "Far than Deucalion off." So
'near' for 'nearer' in Richard II, III, ii, 64.
178.resolv'd: informed, assured. See note, p. 90, l.
172. This is the artfullest and most telling stroke in
Antony's speech. The Romans prided themselves most of all upon
their military virtue and renown: Cęsar was their greatest
military hero; and his victory over the Nervii was his most
noted military exploit. It occurred during his second campaign
in Gaul, in the summer of the year B.C. 57, and is narrated
with surpassing vividness in the second book of his Gallic
War. Plutarch, in his Julius Cęsar, gives graphic details
of this famous victory and the effect upon the Roman people of
the news of Cęsar's personal prowess, when "flying in amongst
the barbarous people," he "made a lane through them that
fought before him." Of course the matter about the 'mantle' is
purely fictitious: Cęsar had on the civic gown, not the
military cloak, when killed; and it was, in fact, the mangled
toga that Antony displayed on this occasion; but the fiction
has the effect of making the allusion to the victory seem
perfectly artless and incidental.
180. 'Angel' here seems to mean his counterpart, his
good genius, or a kind of better and dearer self. See note, p.
47, l. 66.
193. 'Dint' (Anglo-Saxon dynt; cf. provincial 'dunt')
originally means 'blow'; the text has it in the secondary
meaning of 'impression' made by a blow. Shakespeare uses the
word in both senses.
207. The Folios give this speech like that in 203-204 to
'Second Citizen,' but it should surely be given to 'All.'
219. Johnson suggests that the 'writ' of the First Folio
may not be a printer's slip but used in the sense of a 'penned
or premeditated oration.' Malone adopted and defended the
First Folio reading.
239. "For first of all, when Cęsar's testament was
openly read among them, whereby it appeared that he bequeathed
unto every citizen of Rome seventy-five drachmas a man; and
that he left his gardens and arbors unto the people, which he
had on this side of the river Tiber, in the place where now
the temple of Fortune is built: the people then loved him, and
were marvellous sorry for him."--Plutarch, Marcus Brutus.
241. The drachma (lit. 'what can be grasped in the
hand') was the principal silver coin of the ancient Greeks,
and while the nominal value of it was about that of the
modern drachma (by law of the same value as the French franc)
its purchasing power was much greater. Cęsar left to each
citizen three hundred sesterces; Plutarch gives seventy-five
drachmas as the Greek equivalent.
248. As this scene lies in the Forum, near the Capitol,
Cęsar's gardens are, in fact, on the other side of the Tiber.
But Shakespeare wrote as he read in Plutarch. See quotation,
p. 111, l. 239.
252. "Therewithal the people fell presently into such a
rage and mutiny, that there was no more order kept amongst the
common people. For some of them cried out 'Kill the
murderers'; others plucked up forms, tables, and stalls about
the market-place, as they had done before at the funerals of
Clodius, and having laid them all on a heap together, they set
them on fire, and thereupon did put the body of Cęsar, and
burnt it in the midst of the most holy places. When the fire
was throughly kindled, some took burning firebrands, and ran
with them to the murderers' houses that killed him, to set
them on fire."--Plutarch, Marcus Brutus.
254.fire: Cf. III, i, 172. Monosyllables ending in
'r' or 're,' preceded by a long vowel or diphthong, are often
pronounced as dissyllabic.
258.forms: benches. The word used in preceding
quotation from Plutarch. The Old Fr. forme, medięval Lat.
forma, was sometimes applied to choir-stalls, with back, and
book-rest. "For the origin of this use of the word, cf. Old
French s'asseoir en forme, to sit in a row or in fixed
order."--Murray. Nowhere in literature is there a more
realistic study and interpretation of the temper of a mob (a
word that has come into use since Shakespeare's time) than in
this scene and the short one which follows. Here is the true
mob-spirit, fickle, inflammable, to be worked on by any
demagogue with promises in his mouth.
265.upon a wish: as soon as wished for. Cf. I, ii,
268.rid: ridden. So 'writ' for 'written,' IV, iii,
How to cite the explanatory notes:
Shakespeare, William. Julius Caesar. Ed. Henry Norman Hudson. New York: Ginn and Co., 1908. Shakespeare Online. 20 Dec. 2009. (date when you accessed the information) < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/julius_3_2.html >.