Julius Caesar Explanations
On 28th Feb Rohan asked for the explanation of some passages. These are given below:
Act I Scene II Lines 160-170 : “As easily……..chew upon this”
These lines are spoken by Brutus and he refers to Cassius over here. Cassius has been trying to work up Brutus to join the conspiracy against Caesar. Brutus tells Cassius that he has no doubt that Cassius loves and respects him and he also understands the direction in which Cassius wants to lead Brutus and what he wants for Rome. However, he (Brutus) does not want to make any commitment at that moment. He wants to reflect on the matter and think about the whole thing in a more composed state of mind. He promises Cassius that he will consider all of Cassius’s words and find a suitable time to “hear and answer such high things”. Till that time, he asks Cassius to “chew” (think about, ponder) on the fact that Brutus would prefer to be a village peasant than call himself a oppressed citizen of Rome.
Act I Scene II LInes 135-150: “Like a colossus….noble blood”
These lines are spoken by Cassius as he tries to motivate Brutus to join the conspiracy to assassinate Caesar. Cassius compares Caesar to the giant statue of the Colossus striding over the city of Rome. He says that the Romans are small men who walk under the huge legs of Caesar. The Romans lead a cowardly life, living and dying in the shadow of the huge Caesar. However, the fault behind this is not in their fates but in themselves. It is the fault of the Romans themselves that choose to lead such a un-heroic life. The name of Caesar is in no way special or more powerful than that of Brutus: neither in spelling nor in sound nor its ability to conjure spirits. Yet Caesar has grown to be powerful because Rome has lost its noble blood and that is indeed a matter of shame.
Act IV Scene III Lines 65-80 : “You have done that…..his friends”
These lines are spoken by Brutus to Cassius. There has been a misunderstanding between these erstwhile friends and each accuses the other of neglect and hurt. As Cassius threatens Brutus, the latter scoffs Cassius’ threats as having little in them to be worth being afraid of. Brutus tells Cassius that he should be sorry for what he has done (taken bribe). Brutus says that his honesty is his armour and thus Cassius’ threats pass by him as if they were like the weak wind that touches us as it passes by but does little harm.
Brutus then charges Cassius for not honouring his request for some gold coins. He says that he had to ask for the gold from Cassius because he could not raise it himself by unfair means. He tells Cassius that he could never become so greedy as Cassius had lately become nor could he ever refuse Cassius if the latter would have asked for monetary help.
Act IV Scene III Lines 92-105 : “Come Anthony… him better”
In these lines we see that Cassius is extremely pained by the disagreement and misunderstanding that he has had with Brutus. He invokes his enemies, that is Antony and Octavius, to revenge themselves on him as his dearest friend Brutus has now lost faith in him. Cassius is now world weary and tired as he is hated by the one he loved most, corrected and rebuked as though he were a slave. All his faults are being carefully noted and flung on his face. He says that he is so sad that he could die of grief. He asks Brutus to strike his heart out with the dagger for his heart is richer then gold, more bounteous than the reserves of gold that lie with Plutus, the god of gold. So he says that since Brutus doubts his integrity Cassius is ready to prove himself by giving his heart (life) to Brutus.
Act V Scene V Line 35-42 : “I found no……….attain this hour”
In these lines Brutus reminisces that though he is on the verge of defeat, all his life he has never met a man who deceived him. Brutus knows that he will have more honour even in his defeat than Antony and Octavius will have by their victory. He says that it is almost night (night is a metaphor for death here), his life’s story is at an end and he needs some sleep (eternal rest- death) for he is very tired.
Act V Scene III Lines 60-65 : “But Cassius……this deed”
These lines are spoken by Titinius as he mourns the death of Cassius who killed himself due to a misunderstanding. Cassius killed himself thinking that Titinius was unsuccessful. Titinius mourns that with the setting of the sun Cassius’s glorious life also comes to an end. He understands that the death of Cassius is a signal for defeat and danger.
Act V Scene III Lines 98-110 : “Are yet two …..second fight”
These lines are Brutus’ tribute to Cassius. Brutus calls Cassius “The last of all the Romans” as he bids him farewell. Brutus says that it is impossible that Rome should ever again witness a man equal to Cassius. He tells his fellow men that he may not spend a lot of tears over Cassius as this the time for war not tears, but Brutus is weeping in his heart. He tells Cassius that he shall find a suitable time for mourning his loss. Brutus instructs Cassius’ body to be sent to Thasos because if the funerals are held in the campit might dampen the spirits of the soldiers.. Saying this Brutus prepares to go to the field. He calls Cato, Labeo and Flavius and pledges to try his fortune (luck) once more before the fall of night (here synonymous with death).