Julius Caesar Act 3 Scene 1 - Brutus Stabs and Kills Caesar (Et tu, Brute! Then fall, Caesar)
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Julius Caesar

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ACT III SCENE I Rome. Before the Capitol; the Senate sitting above. 
 A crowd of people; among them ARTEMIDORUS and the Soothsayer. Flourish.

CAESAR (To the Soothsayer) The ides of March are come 
Soothsayer Ay, Caesar; but not gone. 
ARTEMIDORUS Hail, Caesar! read this schedule. 
DECIUS BRUTUS Trebonius doth desire you to o'erread, 
 At your best leisure, this his humble suit. 5
ARTEMIDORUS O Caesar, read mine first; for mine's a suit 
 That touches Caesar nearer: read it, great Caesar. 
CAESAR What touches us ourself shall be last served. 
ARTEMIDORUS Delay not, Caesar; read it instantly. 
CAESAR What, is the fellow mad?
PUBLIUS Sirrah, give place. 10 
CASSIUS What, urge you your petitions in the street? 
 Come to the Capitol. 
 CAESAR goes up to the Senate-House, the rest following 
POPILIUS I wish your enterprise to-day may thrive. 
CASSIUS What enterprise, Popilius?
POPILIUS Fare you well. 
 [Advances to CAESAR.] 
BRUTUS What said Popilius Lena? 15 
CASSIUS He wish'd to-day our enterprise might thrive. 
 I fear our purpose is discovered. 
BRUTUS Look, how he makes to Caesar; mark him.
CASSIUS Casca, be sudden, for we fear prevention. 
 Brutus, what shall be done? If this be known, 20 
 Cassius or Caesar never shall turn back, 
 For I will slay myself. 
BRUTUS Cassius, be constant:
 Popilius Lena speaks not of our purposes; 
 For, look, he smiles, and Caesar doth not change. 
CASSIUS Trebonius knows his time; for, look you, Brutus. 25 
 He draws Mark Antony out of the way. 
 [Exeunt ANTONY and TREBONIUS.] 
DECIUS BRUTUS Where is Metellus Cimber? Let him go,
 And presently prefer his suit to Caesar. 
BRUTUS He is address'd: press near and second him. 
CINNA Casca, you are the first that rears your hand. 30 
CAESAR Are we all ready? What is now amiss 
 That Caesar and his senate must redress?
METELLUS CIMBER Most high, most mighty, and most puissant Caesar,

 Metellus Cimber throws before thy seat 
 An humble heart,-- 
CAESAR I must prevent thee, Cimber. 35 
 These couchings 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 40 
 That will be thaw'd from the true quality
 With that which melteth fools; I mean, sweet words, 
 Low-crooked court'sies and base spaniel-fawning. 
 Thy brother by decree is banished: 
 If thou dost bend and pray and fawn for him, 45 
 I spurn thee like a cur out of my way.
 Know, Caesar doth not wrong, nor without cause 
 Will he be satisfied. 
METELLUS CIMBER Is there no voice more worthy than my own 
 To sound more sweetly in great Caesar's ear 50 
 For the repealing of my banish'd brother?
BRUTUS I kiss thy hand, but not in flattery, Caesar; 
 Desiring thee that Publius Cimber may 
 Have an immediate freedom of repeal. 
CAESAR What, Brutus! 
CASSIUS Pardon, Caesar; Caesar, pardon:
 As low as to thy foot doth Cassius fall, 56 
 To beg enfranchisement for Publius Cimber. 
CASSIUS 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,
 Of whose true-fix'd and resting quality 
 There is no fellow in the firmament. 
 The skies are painted with unnumber'd sparks, 
 They are all fire and every one doth shine, 
 But there's but one in all doth hold his place: 65
 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, 
 Unshaked of motion: and that I am he, 70
 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?
DECIUS BRUTUS Great Caesar,-- 
CAESAR Doth not Brutus bootless kneel? 
CASCA Speak, hands for me! 
 [CASCA first, then the other Conspirators and BRUTUS stab CAESAR] 
CAESAR Et tu, Brute! Then fall, Caesar! 
CINNA Liberty! Freedom! Tyranny is dead!
 Run hence, proclaim, cry it about the streets. 
CASSIUS Some to the common pulpits, and cry out 80 
 'Liberty, freedom, and enfranchisement!' 
BRUTUS People and senators, be not affrighted; 
 Fly not; stand stiff: ambition's debt is paid.
CASCA Go to the pulpit, Brutus. 
DECIUS BRUTUS And Cassius too. 85 
BRUTUS Where's Publius? 
CINNA Here, quite confounded with this mutiny. 
METELLUS CIMBER Stand fast together, lest some friend of Caesar's
 Should chance-- 
BRUTUS Talk not of standing. Publius, good cheer; 90 
 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 people,
 Rushing on us, should do your age some mischief. 
BRUTUS Do so: and let no man abide this deed, 95 
 But we the doers. 
 Re-enter TREBONIUS. 
CASSIUS Where is Antony? 
TREBONIUS Fled to his house amazed:
 Men, wives and children stare, cry out and run 
 As it were doomsday. 
BRUTUS Fates, we will know your pleasures: 
 That we shall die, we know; 'tis but the time 100 
 And drawing days out, that men stand upon.
CASSIUS 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 105 
 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, 110 
 Let's all cry 'Peace, freedom and liberty!'
CASSIUS Stoop, then, and wash. How many ages hence 
 Shall this our lofty scene be acted over 
 In states unborn and accents yet unknown! 
BRUTUS How many times shall Caesar bleed in sport, 115 
 That now on Pompey's basis lies along
 No worthier than the dust! 
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 BRUTUS What, shall we forth?
CASSIUS Ay, every man away: 120 
 Brutus shall lead; and we will grace his heels 
 With the most boldest and best hearts of Rome. 
 Enter a Servant. 
BRUTUS Soft! who comes here? A friend of Antony's. 
Servant Thus, Brutus, did my master bid me kneel:
 Thus did Mark Antony bid me fall down; 125 
 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 fear'd Caesar, honour'd him and loved him. 130 
 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 135 
 The fortunes and affairs of noble Brutus 
 Thorough the hazards of this untrod state 
 With all true faith. So says my master Antony. 
BRUTUS Thy master is a wise and valiant Roman;
 I never thought him worse. 140 
 Tell him, so please him come unto this place, 
 He shall be satisfied; and, by my honour, 
 Depart untouch'd. 
Servant I'll fetch him presently.
BRUTUS I know that we shall have him well to friend. 
CASSIUS I wish we may: but yet have I a mind 145 
 That fears him much; and my misgiving still 
 Falls shrewdly to the purpose. 
BRUTUS But here comes Antony.
 Re-enter ANTONY. 
 Welcome, Mark Antony. 
ANTONY O mighty Caesar! dost thou lie so low? 
 Are all thy conquests, glories, triumphs, spoils, 150 
 Shrunk to this little measure? Fare thee well. 
 I know not, gentlemen, what you intend,
 Who else must be let blood, who else is rank: 
 If I myself, there is no hour so fit 
 As Caesar's death hour, nor no instrument 155 
 Of half that worth as those your swords, made rich 
 With the most noble blood of all this world.
 I do beseech ye, if you bear me hard, 
 Now, whilst your purpled hands do reek and smoke, 
 Fulfil your pleasure. Live a thousand years, 160 
 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. 165 
 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; 170 
 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: 
 Our arms, in strength of malice, and our hearts 175 
 Of brothers' temper, do receive you in 
 With all kind love, good thoughts, and reverence.
CASSIUS Your voice shall be as strong as any man's 
 In the disposing of new dignities. 
BRUTUS Only be patient till we have appeased 180 
 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: 185 
 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 last in love, yours, good Trebonius. 190 
 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: 195 
 If then thy spirit look upon us now,
 Shall it not grieve thee dearer than thy death, 
 To see thy thy Anthony making his peace, 
 Shaking the bloody fingers of thy foes, 
 Most noble! in the presence of thy corse? 200 
 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. 
 Pardon me, Julius! Here wast thou bay'd, brave hart; 205 
 Here didst thou fall; and here thy hunters stand,
 Sign'd in thy spoil, and crimson'd in thy lethe. 
 O world, thou wast the forest to this hart; 
 And this, indeed, O world, the heart of thee. 
 How like a deer, strucken by many princes, 210 
 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. 
CASSIUS I blame you not for praising Caesar so; 215
 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? 
ANTONY Therefore I took your hands, but was, indeed, 
 Sway'd from the point, by looking down on Caesar. 220
 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 spectacle: 
 Our reasons are so full of good regard 225
 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 market-place;
 And in the pulpit, as becomes a friend, 230 
 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 consent
 That Antony speak in his funeral: 
 Know you how much the people may be moved 235 
 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 
 He speaks by leave and by permission, 240 
 And that we are contented Caesar shall 
 Have all true rites and lawful ceremonies.
 It shall advantage more than do us wrong. 
CASSIUS 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; 
 Else shall you not have any hand at all 
 About his funeral: and you shall speak 250 
 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, 255 
 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,-- 260 
 Which, like dumb mouths, do ope 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 
 Shall cumber all the parts of Italy; 265 
 Blood and destruction shall be so in use
 And dreadful objects so familiar 
 That mothers shall but smile when they behold 
 Their infants quarter'd with the hands of war; 
 All pity choked with custom of fell deeds: 270 
 And Caesar's spirit, ranging for revenge,
 With Ate by his side come hot from hell, 
 Shall in these confines with a monarch's voice 
 Cry 'Havoc,' and let slip the dogs of war; 
 That this foul deed shall smell above the earth 275 
 With carrion men, groaning for burial.
 Enter a Servant. 
 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; 280 
 And bid me say to you by word of mouth--
 O Caesar!-- 
 [Seeing the body.] 
ANTONY Thy heart is big, get thee apart and weep. 
 Passion, I see, is catching; for mine eyes, 
 Seeing those beads of sorrow stand in thine, 285 
 Began to water. Is thy master coming?
Servant He lies to-night 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; 290 
 Hie hence, and tell him so. Yet, stay awhile;
 Thou shalt not back till I have borne this corse 
 Into the market-place: there shall I try 
 In my oration, how the people take 
 The cruel issue of these bloody men; 295 
 According to the which, thou shalt discourse
 To young Octavius of the state of things. 
 Lend me your hand. 
 Exeunt with CAESAR's body. 

Next: Julius Caesar, Act 3, Scene 2


Explanatory Notes for Act 3, Scene 1
From Julius Caesar. Ed. Samuel Thurber. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.



Scene 1

It is a little after nine o'clock in the morning of the ides of March. The outcome of the conspiracy is approaching, and with it the first great climax of the tragedy.

Flourish. Notice that here, as in Act I, a flourish or notes on a trumpet, precedes the entrance of Caesar and a formal procession of nobles. This, again, was an English rather than a Roman custom.

2. Ay: yes, -- pronounced like "I." In line 38 of the previous scene the word is used in a different sense.

8. us ourself. The poet here has Caesar assume the language of royalty. Do you see why? served: presented, -- as in the expression "to serve a summons."

18. he makes to: he advances or presses toward.

19. Be sudden, for, etc.: Be quick, for we fear interference.

21. Cassius or Caesar, etc. That is, one of us two shall not return alive, for I will slay myself if we do not succeed in killing him.

22. constant: firm, as already twice in the play.

28. presently: immediately.

29. addressed: ready.

33. puissant: powerful, -- pronounced here in two syllables instead of three as today.

36. couchings. Same as crouchings.

38. pre-ordinance and first decree: that which has been ordained and decreed from the beginning. Notice the grandiloquence, -- the "big talk," -- of Caesar in this passage.

39. the law of children. That is, into childish laws, -- unstable, liable to change. Be not fond: be not so foolish as to think, etc.; fond: foolish, simple, silly, as frequently in Shakespeare.
Grant I may never prove so fond
To trust man on his oath or bond. ("Timon of Athens.")
41, 42. That will be thawed, etc. As will be softened or changed from its true nature by that sort of pleading which melts fools.

43. Low-crooked courtesies. Curtsies in which the knee is crouched or bent low.

46. I spurn thee, etc. Shylock in "The Merchant" says to Antonio, "You ... foot me as you spurn a stranger cur Over your threshold." Where did Brutus say, "I know no personal cause to spurn at him"?

47, 48. Know, Caesar doth not wrong, etc. To the student of Shakespeare these are two of the most interesting lines in the play, for they seem to be an alteration of the words as they stood in the tragedy when it was acted in 1601, and the change may be traced to a criticism by the poet's friend, Ben Jonson. In his "Discoveries" Jonson says of Shakespeare, "Many times he fell into those things [that] could not escape laughter, as when he said ..., 'Caesar, thou dost me wrong,' Caesar replied, 'Caesar did never wrong but with just cause.'" If Jonson is quoting the lines as he actually heard them at the theatre, it may be that his ridicule of them in "Discoveries" resulted in their being altered to the form we find in the Folio, that is, as they stand here in our text. Some of the editors have even gone so far as to print Jonson's quotation as being the words that Shakespeare really wrote.

51. repealing: recalling, -- and so "repeal" four lines further on.

57. enfranchisement: the rights of citizenship.

60. constant: fixed, firm, -- as in line 22 above.

61. resting: steadfast.

62. fellow: equal, -- as often in Shakespeare.

67. apprehensive: endowed with apprehension, -- hence, intelligent, quick of mind.

69, 70. holds on his rank, unshaked, etc.: "continues to 'hold his place' (like the star), resisting every attempt to move him." (Rolfe.)

74. wilt thou lift up Olympus? That is, "Wilt thou attempt what is impossible?" It is significant, and in keeping with his style of speech here, that Caesar should compare himself with Olympus, the great mountain in Greece which was the abode of the gods.

75. bootless kneel: kneel in vain.

76. Speak, hands, for me! Brutus, Cassius, Cinna, and Decius have spoken in behalf of Metellus' brother with words. So far Casca has said nothing, but now he calls upon his hands to speak instead of his tongue. Remember it was agreed (line 30) that Casca should be the first to strike.

77. Et tu, Brute! "And thou, too, Brutus!" There seems to be no ancient authority for these famous words. They do not occur in Plutarch; but, as has been pointed out many times, this very exclamation is found in two different works which were printed shortly before Shakespeare wrote "Julius Caesar." Thus in "The True Tragedie of Richard Duke of Yorke," printed six or seven years before our play was acted, Edward cries to Clarence, "Et tu. Brute, wilt thou stab Caesar too?"

80. the common pulpits. The pulpits, or rostra, from which speakers addressed the people of Rome.

90. good cheer. Much as we say, "Cheer up!"

92. Nor to no Roman else. Another double negative construction like "Yet 'twas not a crown neither'" (I, 2, 236), and "No figures nor no fantasies" (II, i, 231).

95. abide: be held responsible for, suffer for.

99. As it were doomsday: as though it were the Day of Judgment.

100. 'tis but the time, etc. "How long we can draw out our life, is the only question we concern ourselves about." (Hudson.)

107. let us bathe our hands in Caesar's blood. Remember Calpurnia's dream in which she saw "many lusty Romans" bathing their hands in Caesar's blood.

113. this our lofty scene: this scene of our great deed.

116. on Pompey's basis lies along: lying prostrate at the base of Pompey's statue.

118. the knot of us: our band.

120. shall we forth? The verb "go" is omitted, as in "Caesar shall forth" (II, 2, 10).

122. most boldest. Another double superlative like this occurs later: "This was the most unkindest cut of all," and a similar double comparative often quoted is Shylock's "How much more elder art thou than thy looks!" ("The Merchant of Venice," IV, I, 240.)

123. Soft!: But wait! Stop! -- an exclamation common in Elizabethan plays.

131. vouchsafed: grant, permit.

132. resolved: informed, satisfied.

137. Thorough. Shakespeare uses this spelling (pronounced in two syllables) and also through. In "The Merchant" he has "through fares" where we should use "thoroughfares." the hazards of this untrod state: the risks of this unexplored state of affairs.

141. so please him come. Expanded to its full form this would be, "If it so be that it please him to come."

143. presently: at once, immediately, -- as in line 28 above, and generally in Shakespeare.

144. to friend: as a friend, -- an idiom we still use in the expression "to take, or have, to wife."

146, 147. my misgiving still, etc.: my suspicions always hit the mark; things always happen just about as I expect they will. Still usually means always in Shakespeare's English.

153. be let blood. That is, be bled, referring to the ancient custom of bleeding people for all kinds of ailments, whence the word "leech" for a doctor. Here, of course, Antony really means "bled to death" or killed. rank: too full of blood or life, and therefore needing to be "let blood." Johnson explains rank as "grown too high for public safety," as we speak of rank grass or rank weeds.

158. bear me hard: bear me any ill-will. Where did Cassius say that Caesar bore him hard?

159. reek: smoke, steam, -- with Caesar's hot blood.

160. Live: If I live, -- just as Portia says to Bassanio, "Live thou, I live," when he is about to make his choice of the caskets. ("The Merchant," III, 2, 61.)

161. so apt: so ready, so fit.

162. mean: means. Shakespeare uses both singular and plural forms.

163. by Caesar. That is, here near Caesar, referring to the place where he would wish to die. Antony then plays upon this meaning of "by" in his next few words.

168. we do. That is, "we do appear bloody and cruel."

170. pitiful. Not pathetic, but literally "full of pity or compassion."

172. As fire drives out fire. This was a familiar saying. It is an allusion to the old custom of taking the pain out of a burn by holding it up to the fire. Thus in "Romeo and Juliet" Benvolio says to Romeo:
Tut, man, one fire burns out another's burning,
One pain is lessened by another's anguish.
174. leaden points in contrast to sharp iron points. That is, "our swords to you are harmless."

175. Our arms in strength of malice, etc. "Our arms, even in the intensity of their hatred for Caesar's tyranny, and our hearts in their brotherly love for all Romans, do receive you in." (White.) Or, as explained by Professor Neilson, "Our arms, though their strength has just been manifested in what seems malice, and our hearts in genuine brotherly affection, do receive you." The passage has been freely altered by the critics to get rid of "malice," which seems to them to be a blunder. "Welcome" and "amity" are two of the words suggested in place of "malice." [Hudson: "Strong as they have shown themselves to be in malice towards tyranny. Though the Folio text may be corrupt, and at least twelve emendations have been suggested, the figure as it stands is intelligible, though elliptically obscure. In previous editions of Hudson's Shakespeare, Singer's conjecture of 'amity' for 'malice' was adopted. What makes this conjecture plausible is Shakespeare's frequent use of 'amity,' and "strength of their amity" occurs in "Antony and Cleopatra", II, vi, 137"]

182. deliver: declare, relate, tell.

193. conceit: conceive of, think of, judge. So earlier in the play Cassius said to Casca, "You have right well conceited Brutus."

197. dearer: more intensely. Shakespeare often uses "dear" in the older sense of "keen," "heartfelt," "coming home to one closely."

203. close: agree, make a compact, -- as in our expression "to close an agreement."

205. bayed: brought to bay, cornered. The picture is that of a deer, or hart, hemmed in by the hounds. Notice how Antony carries on this figure in the next few lines.

207. Signed in thy spoil: bearing the marks of thy destruction, i.e. covered with blood. Hunters sometimes dipped their hands in the blood of the slaughtered game. thy lethe: thy slaughter. In Greek mythology Lethe was the river of Oblivion, or Forgetfulness, in the lower world. From it all souls drank before passing to Elysium, that they might forget the sorrows of this world. Thus the expression "crimsoned in thy lethe" may be rendered "crimsoned, in the stream that bears thee to oblivion, -- to Heaven." This interpretation, however, seems far fetched, and the word remains a puzzle to the critics.

209. the heart of thee. Notice the play on the words "heart" and "hart." The same pun occurs in "As You Like It":
Celia : He was furnished like a hunter.
Rosalind: O, ominous ! He comes to kill my heart.
210. strucken. We have already had the expressions "'Tis strucken eight," and "The clock hath stricken three." Can you find them?

214. cold modesty: moderation.

217. pricked: marked, -- as in IV, i: "Their names are pricked." A pin, or some other sharp point, was formerly used instead of a pencil or pen to mark off names on a list.

220. Swayed from the point: turned from the subject in hand.

225. full of good regard: entitled to favorable consideration.

229. Produce: carry, bear forth, -- the literal meaning of the Latin produco. the market-place. By this Shakespeare of course means the Forum, in which there were several rostra, or pulpits, as the poet calls them, for addressing the people.

231. in the order of: in the course of the funeral ceremonies.

236. By your pardon: Excuse me, let me explain.

243. advantage more than do us wrong. That is, letting Antony speak will help us more than harm us.

244. fall: happen, befall.

258. in the tide of times. That is, in the ebb and flow, -- in the ever changing course, -- of the times.

259. costly: precious, rare.

263. the limbs of men. We should be more likely to say "the heads of men." Many substitutes for "limbs" have been suggested by doubting editors, such as, "sons," "lives," "times," "tombs," "minds," etc. Do you think any change is necessary?

265. cumber: burden, oppress, -- more common today in the form encumber.

266. so in use: so usual, so common.

269. quartered with: torn to pieces by the hands of war.

270. All pity choked, etc.: All sense of pity being choked by the frequency of cruel deeds.

271. ranging: wandering over the earth.

272. Ate. In Greek mythology the goddess of discord and vengeance.

273. these confines: these regions; within the confines of this empire.

274. "Havoc." It is said that in battles of ancient times this cry was the signal that no quarter was to be given to prisoners, let slip the dogs of war. Here Antony comes back once more to the language of hunting. (See lines 205-211 above.) To "let slip" a dog was to release it from the leash when it was time to begin the pursuit. It has been suggested that "the dogs of war" are fire, sword, and famine, for in "Henry V" the poet says of the warlike king,
and, at his heels,
Leashed in like hounds, should Famine, Sword, and Fire
Crouch for employment.
275. That: so that, -- as often in Shakespeare.

276. With carrion men: with the decaying bodies of men.

284. Passion, I see, is catching: Emotion, sorrow, I see, is contagious.

290. No Rome of safety. Possibly we have here again the pun that Cassius made in I, 2, 156: "Now is it Rome indeed and room enough.

295. issue: deed, or "result of the action" of these bloody men.

296. According to the which: according to which way they take my oration.

298. Lend me your hand. As there was no curtain at the front of the stage in Shakespeare's theatre, the body of Caesar must be removed by some of the actors before the scene closes.

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_3_1.html >.

Scene Questions for Review

microsoft images 1. What is the effect of the reference again (line 1) to the "ides of March"?

2. Explain the crisis when Artemidorus tries to present his schedule. How would you manage the scene between Decius and Artemidorus?

3. Why do you think Shakespeare has Popilius say, "I wish your enterprise to-day may thrive"? What do these words suggest?

4. How would an audience naturally be influenced by the uncertainty of the conspiracy during the first lines of the scene?

5. Are your sympathies at this point with Caesar or with the conspirators? How does the dramatist wish the audience to feel?

6. Point out how skilfully the poet gathers the conspirators about Caesar for the fatal blow. Do you feel that this scene is natural and convincing?

7. What effect upon our feelings for Caesar does his last speech have? (Lines 58-73.) Is it in keeping with his words in II, 2?

8. What is the signal to strike? Are the words significant? Can you suggest any reason for having Casca rather than Brutus or Cassius speak them?

9. What do you believe are Brutus' thoughts as he uses his dagger? How would you have him look at this moment and directly after?

10. Why is it that none of the senators rush to Caesar's aid? Explain the situation in detail as you imagine it.

11. What was Antony's purpose, in your judgment, when he sent the messenger to the conspirators? Why did he not go to them himself?

12. What do you think of Antony's action in pretending to join the conspirators? Was it justifiable?

13. Does Shakespeare mean to have Antony win the sympathy of the audience? Does he succeed?

14. What is your opinion of Antony's speech when left alone with Caesar's body? (Lines 255-277.)


More to Explore

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 Julius Caesar Summary (Act 5)

 Julius Caesar Study Questions (with Detailed Answers)
 The Two Themes of Julius Caesar
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Thoughts on Antony ... "Antony's speeches require particularly close attention throughout. They abound in 'irony' in the sense that their superficial meaning, intended for the conspirators, is different from what the same words would convey to one who knew what Antony's designs were: a meaning which a slight intonation would at once convey even to the unsuspecting Brutus. There is nothing for the most suspicious to catch hold of, and yet there is no phrase inconsistent with his subsequent action. Here, he is feeling his way -- not as to his ultimate course, which is decided, but to see how far he can make the conspirators unconscious instruments in his own hands. Cassius, who alone knows that the man they are dealing with is "a shrewd contriver", is not deceived, but is completely baffled in the attempt to make Brutus see with his own acuteness." -- (Arthur D. Innes. The Warwick Shakespeare.)


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