Julius Caesar


Act 2

Summary: Act II, scene i

Alone in his orchard, Brutus wonders what to do about Caesar. He is deeply troubled, for he has nothing against Caesar personally and even believes that Caesar has acted virtuously up to now. However, he fears that if Caesar is crowned, he will be corrupted by his power and become a tyrant. He also knows that, because of the kind of man Caesar is, there is no way to stop him except to kill him. By the end of the soliloquy, Brutus has resolved that he must kill Caesar. His decision is reinforced by the arrival of the forged letters, which Lucius delivers to him. Now believing that it is the will of the people, Brutus feels even more strongly that it is his duty to kill Caesar.

Lucius announces the arrival of Cassius and a group of men with their faces covered. Brutus meets the other conspirators—Casca, Decius Brutus, Cinna, Metellus Cimber and Trebonius. Cassius suggests that they swear an oath together, but Brutus insists that they do not need to swear to anything because they are all honorable men and their cause is just. Brutus also rejects the idea of including Cicero in the conspiracy, on the grounds that Cicero is too independently minded and cannot follow other men. Cassius believes that Marc Antony should also be assassinated, because he is so close to Caesar and will surely cause trouble. Brutus will not agree to this, insisting that they will dishonor themselves and lose the good opinion of the people if they drench their hands in so much blood. Brutus believes that he will be able to convince Antony of the correctness of their actions after the fact, and that Antony will pose no threat. The conspirators depart, having agreed to assassinate only Caesar.

Brutus’s wife, Portia, comes to speak with him. She wants to know why he seems so troubled, but he is reluctant to tell her. She insists that she is strong enough to handle anything he has to tell her, and seeks to demonstrate her strength by revealing a self-inflicted stab wound in her thigh. Brutus is moved by her demonstration, and...

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Essays About Julius Caesar