Posts Tagged ‘Julius Caesar’

Henry V – Act Two Scene Four

The French King – Charles VI –  is worried about England’s threat of war but his son the Dauphin is not worried by Henry V.


For, my good liege, she is so idly king’d,
Her sceptre so fantastically borne
By a vain, giddy, shallow, humorous youth,
That fear attends her not


O peace, Prince Dauphin!
You are too much mistaken in this king:
Question your grace the late ambassadors,
With what great state he heard their embassy,
How well supplied with noble counsellors,
How modest in exception, and withal
How terrible in constant resolution,
And you shall find his vanities forespent
Were but the outside of the Roman Brutus,
Covering discretion with a coat of folly;
As gardeners do with ordure hide those roots
That shall first spring and be most delicate.

Note the use of “Roman Brutus” as Shakespeare was probably thinking or even writing Julius Caesar at the time although this is not a reference to Marcus Brutus

From the Arden Edition of Henry V

Lucius Junius Brutus feigned mental incapacity as a safeguard when plotting to expel the tyrant Tarquinius Superbus, the last king of Rome

The Dauphin urges the King not to worry and not give in to Henry


Self-love, my liege, is not so vile a sin
As self-neglecting.

A nice phrase, but misplaced confidence of the Dauphin. Enter Exeter with a Message for the French King and gives his version of Henry’s right to the French throne


And when you find him evenly derived
From his most famed of famous ancestors,
Edward the Third, he bids you then resign
Your crown and kingdom, indirectly held
From him the native and true challenger.


Or else what follows?


Bloody constraint; for if you hide the crown
Even in your hearts, there will he rake for it:
Therefore in fierce tempest is he coming,
In thunder and in earthquake, like a Jove,
That, if requiring fail, he will compel;

Exeter has a message from Henry to the Dauphin.


For the Dauphin,
I stand here for him: what to him from England?


Scorn and defiance; slight regard, contempt,
And any thing that may not misbecome
The mighty sender, doth he prize you at.
Thus says my king; an’ if your father’s highness
Do not, in grant of all demands at large,
Sweeten the bitter mock you sent his majesty,
He’ll call you to so hot an answer of it,
That caves and womby vaultages of France
Shall chide your trespass and return your mock
In second accent of his ordnance.


Say, if my father render fair return,
It is against my will; for I desire
Nothing but odds with England: to that end,
As matching to his youth and vanity,
I did present him with the Paris balls.


He’ll make your Paris Louvre shake for it,
Were it the mistress-court of mighty Europe:
And, be assured, you’ll find a difference,
As we his subjects have in wonder found,
Between the promise of his greener days
And these he masters now: now he weighs time
Even to the utmost grain: that you shall read
In your own losses, if he stay in France.

The King, and probably the Dauphin is worried now and the next act will see War stamp his hooves in French soil.


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Julius Caesar

Act Four Scene Three

At the end of this scene Brutus sees Caesars ghost.

The Ghost

Now this scene puzzles me as I don’t understand the point of this. The Ghost does nothing significant apart from say I’ll see you later (Which we don’t see and is only reported by Brutus

When questioned “Who are you?” it replys “Your evil spirit, Brutus”

Now, could it be all in Brutus’ imagination? He is half asleep at the time and could be at the stage between asleep and awake where dreams seem real. He guilty conscience manifests this apparition to accuse him.

What do you think? Is it the ghost of Caesar or all in his mind?

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Julius Caesar Act Two Scene One

Clock strikes

BRUTUS Peace! count the clock.

CASSIUS The clock hath stricken three.

TREBONIUS‘ Tis time to part. 

What’s wrong with this passage?
The use of clocks in Julius Caesar is an anachronism. Back in Roman times, there were no such things as clocks with bells.
   From Wikipedia, “The word clock (from the Latin word clocca, “bell”), which gradually supersedes “horologe”, suggests that it was the sound of bells which also characterized the prototype mechanical clocks that appeared during the 13th century in Europe”

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"King Lear and the Fool in the Storm"...

Image via Wikipedia

Storms in Shakespeare

Julius Caesar is believed to be the first play performed at the Globe Theatre and includes the great storm scene which lasts over Act one Scene 3 and Act two Scene one.

Other storm scenes include

  • King Lear
  • The Tempest
  • Othello
  • Macbeth

Are there any other storm scenes in Shakespeare?

Which is the most effective?

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Et tu Brute

Image by lynnsta via Flickr

I’ll spend a couple of weeks posting interesting things about Julius Caesar before I continue on my Reading Challange with Henry V

Found this on the phrase “Et tu, Brute”

The only ancient authority, I believe, for this famous exclamation is in Suetonius, I. 82, where Caesar is made to address Brutus (And thou too, my son?). It may have occurred as it stands here in the Latin play on the same subject which is recorded to have been acted at Oxford in 1582; and it is found in The True Tragedy of Richard Duke of York, printed in 1600, on which the Third Part of King Henry VI is founded, as also in a poem by S. Nicholson, entitled Acolastus his Afterwit, printed the same year, in both of which contemporary productions we have the same line: “Et tu, Brute? Wilt thou stab Caesar too?”It may just be noted, as a historical fact, that the meeting of the Senate at which Caesar was assassinated was held, not, as is here assumed, in the Capitol, but in the Curia in which the statue of Pompey stood, being, as Plutarch tells us, one of the edifices which Pompey had built, and had given, along with his famous theatre, to the public….The mistake which we have here is found also in Hamlet, where (iii.2) Hamlet questions Polonius about his histrionic performances when at the University: “I did enact Julius Caesar,” says Polonius; “I was killed in the Capitol; Brutus killed me;” to which the Prince replies, “It was a brute part of him to kill so capital a calf there” (191).


Craik, George L. The English of Shakespeare. London: Chapman and Hall, 1857.

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Julius Caesar Act 5 Scene 4

The battle rages on. Cato is killed and Lucilius, pretending to be Brutus, is captured.

Scene 5

Enter Brutus and Soldiers. Knowing the battle is lost, he asks them to help him kill himself. They all refuse except Strato


I prithee, Strato, stay thou by thy lord:
Thou art a fellow of a good respect;
Thy life hath had some smatch of honour in it:
Hold then my sword, and turn away thy face,
While I do run upon it. Wilt thou, Strato?


Give me your hand first. Fare you well, my lord.


Farewell, good Strato.

Runs on his sword

Caesar, now be still:
I kill’d not thee with half so good a will.


He dies with Caesar on his lips, just like Cassius in Act 5 Scene 3

Enter Antony and Octavius. They see Brutus lying dead.


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 mix’d in him that Nature might stand up
And say to all the world ‘This was a man!


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Julius Caesar Act Five Scene 2 & 3 

Scene 2

Brutus orders all the troops to attack Octavius’ side. He hopes for a quick victory.

Scene 3

With Brutus’ troops attacking Octavius. Cassius is overrun. He asks Titinius to ride and see how the battle is going, whether the troops in the distance are his or the enemy. He rides off and Pindarus reports that he is captured. Cassius realises he is beaten, on his birthday too.


This day I breathed first: time is come round,
And where I did begin, there shall I end;
My life is run his compass. 

He orders Pindarus to stab him, even with the sword that killed Caesar.

O, coward that I am, to live so long,
To see my best friend ta’en before my face!

PINDARUS descends

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: here, take thou the hilts;
And, when my face is cover’d, as ’tis now,
Guide thou the sword.

PINDARUS stabs him

Caesar, thou art revenged,
Even with the sword that kill’d thee.


He dies with Caesar on his lips.

Titinius returns with Messala. Titinius was not captured as Cassius thought. They see the body on the ground.


Is not that he?


No, this was he, Messala,
But Cassius is no more. O setting sun,
As in thy red rays thou dost sink to-night,
So in his red blood Cassius’ day is set;
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.


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? O error, soon conceived,
Thou never comest unto a happy birth,
But kill’st the mother that engender’d thee

Titinius, alone gives Cassius a garland of victory and then kills himself with Cassius’ sword.

Enter Brutus, he mourns the death of Titinius and Cassius but vows to keep fighting.

At the RSC in 2007, we saw this play and the fake blood was in full force. When Titinius stabbed himself the blood spurted out.

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