1. At the beginning of scene 1, Brutus is contemplating his reasons for joining the conspiracy against Julius Caesar. “It must be by his death: and, for my part, I know no personal reason to spurn him at him, but for the general.” He has nothing against Caesar personally, but fears he will become a tyrant. “He would be crown’d: how this might change his nature, there’s the question.” Brutus is gentle-natured and wishes there was some way to prevent Caesar from becoming a tyrant. “O, that we then could come by Caesar’s spirit, and not dismember Caesar.”
2. Brutus wants Lucius to look at the calendar to find out when the Ides of March is. “Is not to-morrow, boy, the Ides of March…Look in the Calendar and bring me word.” The Ides of March is when he and the other conspirators are planning to assassinate Caesar. “Beware the Ides of March.”
3. Brutus finds letters to him from commoners. These letters are important because they are actually from Cassius. He is trying to sway Brutus to join his cause. “[Cassius] will this night, in several hands, in at his window throw, as they all came from several citizens, writings all tending to the great opinion that Rome holds of his name.” This is significant because it pushes Brutus to join the cause. It makes him think the Citizens of Rome do not want Caesar to be crowned. “[Brutus, thou sleep’st: awake and see thy self…shall Rome stand under one man’s awe?…O Rome…if the redress will follow thou receivest thy full petition at the hand of Brutus!” Brutus is considerate and noble and Cassius plays off these traits.
4. The conspirators want Cicero to join them for similar reasons as to why they want Brutus to join. They feel he is well respected by the Romans because he is elderly and wise. “Let us have him, for his silver hairs will purchase us a good opinion.” Cassius wants him to join because he thinks Cicero “will stand strong” with them. They are trying to get people who are well respected and liked so their cause will seem noble and just to the citizens of Rome. “It shall be said his judgment ruled [the conspirators] hands.”
5. Brutus rejects Cicero because “he will never follow anything that other men have started.” Brutus fears if they ‘break with Cicero” the secret might get out. It seems personal that Brutus does not want Cicero to join. He does not want someone taking over his role in the group. “Let us have [Cicero], for his silver hairs will purchase us a good opinion.” Brutus is the guy that everyone likes and respects and does not want to share that with Cicero. The rest of the conspirators agree with Brutus because they would rather have him join than Cicero. “Then leave [Cicero] out.” “Indeed he is not fit.”
6. When Brutus says he does not want Cicero to be included in assassinating Julius Caesar, Cassius says “then leave him out.” Cassius allows Brutus to take over the leadership role because he knows that with Brutus he can get what he wants. He has to let Brutus have what he wants in order for him to join and so that the plan will look nobler and work.
7. The conspirators are contemplating killing Antony, how they will kill Caesar and how they will get Caesar to the Capitol. Cassius wants to kill Antony because he fears him to be a “shrewd contriver.” “I think it is not meet, Mark Antony, so beloved of Caesar, should outlive Caesar…let Antony and Caesar fall together.” Noble and trusting Brutus, of course, does not feel it necessary to silence Antony. “Antony is but a limb of Caesar…he can do no more than Caesar’s arm when Caesar’s head is cut off.” Brutus does not want the “course [to] seem too bloody,” which is why he wants to let Antony live and kill Caesar honourably. “Let us be sacrificers, but not butchers Caius.
We will stand up against the spirit of Caesar…let’s kill him boldly, but not wrathfully; let’s carve him as a dish fit for the gods, not hew him as a dish fit for hounds.” The conspirators fear that Caesar will not show up at the Capitol “for he is superstitious grown of late.” Decius solved this problem by volunteering to ensure Caesar’s arrival. Decius believes that he can convince Caesar with his stories and flattery. “Never fear that… [Decius] can o’ersway him; for he loves to hear that unicorns may be betrayed with trees…when [Decius] [tells] him he hates flatterers, he says he does, being then most flattered.”
8. Decius says he can make sure Caesar is at the Capitol on the Ides of March. He says he will do this by telling him stories and flattering Caesar. “[Decius] can o’ersway him; for he loves to hear that unicorns may be betray’d with trees…when [Decius] [tells] him he hates flatterers, he says he does, being then most flattered.” Decius will use his wit to deceive Caesar.
9. Portia slashes herself to show Brutus she is worthy of knowing his secrets. “[Portia] [has] made strong proof of [her] constancy, giving [herself] a voluntary wound.” She hopes that this will prove to Brutus that she can handle knowing his secret. “Can [she] bear that and not [her] husbands secrets?” She also gives various other reasons why she is worthy. “[Portia] [is] a woman that Lord Brutus took to wife…a woman well-reputed, Cato’s daughter.”
10. Ligarius is a sick man. “To wear a kerchief! Would [Ligarius] [was] not sick!” Ligarius says “[Ligarius] [is] not sick, if Brutus have in hand any exploit worthy of the name of honour.” He means that he will not stay in bed and act in the normal ways as a sick man does if there is something worthy for him to do. Brutus says “Such an exploit [has] [Brutus] in hand, Ligarius, had [Ligarius] a healthy ear to hear it.” Ligarius responds by saying “[Ligarius] here by discards [his] sickness.” His quickness to get out of bed at the word of Brutus shows that he respects Brutus and thinks he is noble. His miraculous recovery shows his eagerness to be a part of the enterprise and is a testimony to the healing power of Brutus. The audience knows that Ligarius respects Brutus when he says “Set on …and with a heart new-fired [Ligarius] [follows] [Brutus], to do [Ligarius] [knows] not what: but it sufficeth that Brutus leads.” This exchange reveals Brutus’s healing qualities, his respect for Ligarius and vice versa.
1. Calpurnia “recounts the most horrid sights ever seen by the watch” to Caesar. In her dreams she imagined “a lioness…whelped in the streets; and graves have yawn’d, and yielded up their dead; fierce fiery warriors fought upon the clouds, in ranks and squadrons and right form of war which drizzled blood upon the Capitol…horses did neigh, an dying men did groan, and ghosts did shriek and squeal about the streets.” The audience has already been introduced to these wonders when Casca was telling of them. It is interesting that Calpurnia would have dreams about the same things that have been spotted by another while awake. This is important to the plot because Calpurnia believe her dreams are omens and tries to convince Caesar not to go to the Capitol. Caesar ignores this warning.
2. This quote is important because Calpurnia is still trying to convince her husband to stay home. She means that nobody really pays any attention or would take the time to conspire against them. “When beggars die, there are not comets seen.” When she says “The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes” she is trying to convince Caesar that it is possible that people want to see him dead. He is an important figure in Rome and everybody has an opinion about him, unlike the beggars.
3. Decius convinces Caesar to go to the Capitol by telling him falsehoods that appeal to his vanity. He flatters Caesar and makes it look like Calpurnia’s dream was a good omen. “This dream is all amiss interpreted; it was a vision far and fortunate.” Decius also makes him think that if he does not go today, he might not be offered a crown. “The senate have concluded to give this day a crown to mighty Caesar. If you shall send them word you shall not come, their minds may change.” Decius’ final move it to call Caesar a wimp, which Caesar will not stand for. “If Caesar hide himself, shall they not whisper, ‘Lo, Caesar is afraid’?” Caesar does not want to tarnish his reputation and agrees to go to the Capitol. Overall it is Decius’ cleverness and Caesar’s ego that make Decius’ plan work.
4. Like many times before, in this scene Caesar appears superstitious. “Go bid the priests do present the sacrifice and bring me their opinions of success.” Later in the scene when the servant he sent on this errand returns, Caesar ignores the warning. “They would not have [Caesar] stir forth to-day.” Caesar has been warned three times of what is to come. First, when the soothsayer says, “beware the Ides of March.” Calpurnia told him of her nightmares and begged him not to go. “Do not go forth to-day: call it my fear.” The third warning was from the augurers who would not have Caesar “stir forth to-day.” Caesar’s excess of hubris is his downfall. It makes him believe that nothing bad can happen to him which is why he chooses to ignore the warnings.
5. Caesar prides himself on being constant and resolute. The audience knows this because when Calpurnia says “You shall not stir out of your house to-day,” he says “Caesar shall forth.” He is extremely concerned about his vanity. There are evidently two sides of Caesar; the private side and the public side. When Caesar is alone with his wife, the private side shines through. Calpurnia suggest “[calling] it [her] fear that keeps [him] in the house, and is not [his] own,” Caesar readily agrees.
This is something he would never agree to in public. When Decius says “break up the senate till another time, when Caesar’s wife shall meet with better dreams” Caesar goes against what he said earlier and goes to the Capitol. He does not want people thinking his wife makes his decisions or that he is scared. This is the public side of Caesar that is seen often. When Calpurnia suggests that Caesar “say he is sick,” Caesar says “shall Caesar send a lie? [Has][Caesar] not in conquest stretch’d [his] own arm so far, to be afraid to tell the greybeards the truth? Decius, go tell them Caesar will not come.” He does not want to lie because he takes pride in being constant and resolute.
1. Artemidorus has written a letter to Caesar reveal that a group of men he trusts are conspiring against him and who they are. He is planning on waiting “till Caesar pass along, and as a suitor…give him [the letter].” Atremidorus hopes that Caesar will not be killed if he reads and believe the letter. “If thou read this, O Caesar, thou mayst live.”
2. This short scene encourages suspense. It has the audience wondering if Caesar will get the letter in time. Everybody knows that Caesar will die, but they would still wonder if his ego would prevent him from seeing the truth in the letter. If he believes it, he may be able to put up a good fight. “If thou read this, O Caesar, thou mayst live.” This scene shows that the conspiracy is not a secret and that one of the conspirators must have betrayed the group. It also displays that not all Romans think poorly of Caesar, “My heart laments that virtue cannot live,” and that not everyone will think killing Caesar is a noble cause just because Brutus is a part of it. Atremidorus is the first to expose the conspirators as envious.
1. Portia is nervous and upset because she is aware that her husband is planning on murdering Caesar. This is why she is sending Lucius to the Capitol; she wants to know if it has happened yet or if anything has gone wrong. “Bring [Portia] word, boy, if thy lord look well.” She fears that the soothsayer knows what is going on, “which way hast thou been?” and that he will try to stop it. In doing this, a major battle could break out and Brutus could be killed. If Caesar lives and is crowned, all those who conspired against him would surely be executed. She then finds out that the soothsayer does not know anything, “None that [the soothsayer] [knows] will be, much that [the soothsayer] [fears] may chance,” but is going to warn Caesar nonetheless. This makes her more anxious.
2. Portia sends Lucius to the Capitol because she wants to know if Caesar is dead yet. “Run to the senate-house…bring [Portia] word, boy, if thy lord look well…and take good note what Caesar doth, what suitors press to him.” Since Portia knows what Brutus is planning, she has grown anxious. She wants Lucius to go to the Capitol so he can tell her if Caesar is dead or if anything has happened to Brutus. She does not reveal to Lucius that she is apprehensive of this.
3. Portia shows in this scene that she has been told the details of the plot. Her agitation on account of her husband is so acute that she cannot sit still. She sends Lucius off to the Capitol, but in her excitement, she forgets to tell him what to do. “Boy, run to the senate-house…Why dost thou stay?” “To know my errand, madam.” She shows her anxiety in her urgent, unthinking demands. Finally she orders him to observe Brutus and Caesar. “Yes, bring me word, boy, if thy lord look well…and take good note what Caesar doth.” Lines 13 to 16 show her agitation. The soothsayer’s appearance heightens Portia’s anxiety, for she fears that he knows of the plot. “Why, know’st thou any harm’s intended towards [Caesar]?” The audience also learns that Portia never questions the morality of the assassination or tries to stop Brutus.