Explanatory Notes for Act 4, Scene 2
From Julius Caesar. Ed. Samuel Thurber. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
Historically this scene takes place nearly a year after the meeting between Antony, Octavius, and Lepidus. The remaining events of the play occur in the autumn of 42 B.C., about two years and a half after the feast of the Lupercalia in 44, when the action of the drama began.
Sardis. An ancient city of Asia Minor, the capital of Lydia. The account of the action about Sardis, and the quarrel between Brutus and Cassius, is taken with but slight change from Plutarch.
5. To do you salutation: to salute you. So in "Richard III," "The early village cock hath twice done salutation to the morn," and similarly we have had already in this play "none too poor to do him reverence," and "Do grace to Caesar's corse."
6. He greets me well. That is, his greeting finds me well, or possibly "his greeting is friendly."
7. In his own change, etc. By a change of his feelings toward
me, or through the misconduct of his officers.
12. full of regard: full of qualities worthy of esteem, as in III, I, 225, "Our reasons are so full of good regard."
14. How: as to how, -- as often in Shakespeare. resolved: informed.
16. familiar instances: instances or examples of familiarity; "assurances of friendship."
21. enforced ceremony: artificial courtesy.
23. hot at hand: restless, spirited when held in check. Notice
that the figure from horsemanship continues through the four
26. fall their crests: let fall, lower their crests -- that is lose their courage, are crestfallen. jades: old, worn-out, worthless horses; nags. [Used over twenty times in Shakespeare's works.]
40. sober: serious.
41. be content: contain, restrain yourself; be calm.
46. enlarge your griefs: set forth your grievances at large or
48. charges: troops under their charge, or command.
How to cite the explanatory notes and scene questions:
Shakespeare, William. Julius Caesar. Ed. Samuel Thurber. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1919. Shakespeare Online. 26 Feb. 2013. < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/julius_4_2.html >.
Scene Questions for Review
1. What do you imagine has been taking place since Brutus and Cassius were driven from Rome?
2. In what way does Brutus here remind you of Brutus the conspirator?
3. Does it seem more natural for Brutus than for Cassius to suggest that they conceal their quarrel from the soldiers? Why?
4. Is this scene necessary to the development of the plot? What would be lost were it omitted on the stage?
5. Has your interest in the play begun to flag now that Caesar is dead?
Just Who is the Hero?... "In ordinary times of civil repose, we should say of Brutus, what a noble citizen! No one could be more ready to fulfil his duties to his family, his fellow-men, and his country. But it must be recollected that these duties were the prescribed usages, customs, and beliefs, of his nation; they were given to him, transmitted from his ancestors. But when prescription no longer points out the way, such a man must fall, for he has no intellectual basis of action. Still the morality of mankind in general is prescriptive, and does not rest upon rational insight; they follow the footsteps of their fathers. Hence it is that most people think that Brutus is the real hero of the play, and that it is wrongly named. But this was certainly not Shakespeare's design, for it was very easy to construct a drama in which Brutus should appear as triumphant, by having it terminate at the assassination of Caesar with a grand flourish of daggers, frantic proclamations of liberty, and "sic semper tyrannis." Shakespeare, however, takes special pains not to do any such thing, but to show the triumph of Caesar's thought in the destruction of the conspirators." (J. D. Snider) Read on...