List iconJulius Caesar:
Act 2, scene 1
List icon

Julius Caesar
Act 2, scene 1



Characters in the Play

Entire Play

Caesar’s assassination is just the halfway point of Julius Caesar. The first part of the play leads to his death; the…

Act 1, scene 1

In Rome the people are taking a holiday to celebrate the triumphant return of Julius Caesar. The tribunes Marullus and…

Act 1, scene 2

A soothsayer advises Caesar that the fifteenth of March will be a dangerous day for him. When Caesar and others…

Act 1, scene 3

Casca, meeting Cicero, describes the marvels visible in the streets that night and suggests that the marvels foretell important events…

Act 2, scene 1

Brutus anxiously ponders joining the conspiracy against Caesar. When he is brought one of the unsigned letters that Cassius has…

Act 2, scene 2

It is now the fifteenth of March. Calphurnia, Caesar’s wife, persuades him to stay home because she fears for his…

Act 2, scene 3

Artemidorus waits in the street for Caesar in order to give him a letter warning him of the conspiracy.

Act 2, scene 4

Portia, who has been told of the conspirators’ plan to kill Caesar, waits anxiously for news of their success. She…

Act 3, scene 1

In the street Caesar brushes aside Artemidorus’s attempt to warn him of the conspiracy. Once inside the Capitol, the conspirators…

Act 3, scene 2

Brutus explains to the people that the cause of Caesar’s assassination was the preservation of the Roman Republic from Caesar’s…

Act 3, scene 3

Cinna the poet is attacked and killed by the Roman mob because his name is the same as that of…

Act 4, scene 1

Antony, Lepidus, and Octavius meet to condemn to death those who may oppose them. Sending Lepidus for Caesar’s will, Antony…

Act 4, scene 2

Brutus and Cassius each feel wronged by the other. They prepare to withdraw from the view of their armies to…

Act 4, scene 3

Brutus and Cassius exchange accusations in Brutus’s tent. They grow angry with each other but are quickly reconciled, and Brutus…

Act 5, scene 1

The opposing armies confront each other at Philippi. Before the battle, Brutus and Cassius exchange insults with Antony and Octavius….

Act 5, scene 2

Brutus sends Messala to throw all Brutus’s legions into the battle.

Act 5, scene 3

Cassius, mistakenly believing that the battle has been lost and that Titinius has been taken captive, orders Pindarus to kill…

Act 5, scene 4

Brutus’s forces are defeated in the second battle. Lucilius calls attention to himself and away from Brutus by announcing himself…

Act 5, scene 5

Brutus begs four of his followers to assist him in his suicide. All but the fourth decline. Brutus kills himself….

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Scene 1
Enter Brutus in his orchard.

BRUTUS What, Lucius, ho!—
 I cannot by the progress of the stars
 Give guess how near to day.—Lucius, I say!—
 I would it were my fault to sleep so soundly.—
5 When, Lucius, when? Awake, I say! What, Lucius!

Enter Lucius.

LUCIUS Called you, my lord?
 Get me a taper in my study, Lucius.
 When it is lighted, come and call me here.
LUCIUS I will, my lord.He exits.
10 It must be by his death. And for my part
 I know no personal cause to spurn at him,
 But for the general. He would be crowned:
 How that might change his nature, there’s the
15 It is the bright day that brings forth the adder,
 And that craves wary walking. Crown him that,
 And then I grant we put a sting in him
 That at his will he may do danger with.
 Th’ abuse of greatness is when it disjoins

Julius Caesar
ACT 2. SC. 1

20 Remorse from power. And, to speak truth of Caesar,
 I have not known when his affections swayed
 More than his reason. But ’tis a common proof
 That lowliness is young ambition’s ladder,
 Whereto the climber-upward turns his face;
25 But, when he once attains the upmost round,
 He then unto the ladder turns his back,
 Looks in the clouds, scorning the base degrees
 By which he did ascend. So Caesar may.
 Then, lest he may, prevent. And since the quarrel
30 Will bear no color for the thing he is,
 Fashion it thus: that what he is, augmented,
 Would run to these and these extremities.
 And therefore think him as a serpent’s egg,
 Which, hatched, would, as his kind, grow
35 mischievous,
 And kill him in the shell.

Enter Lucius.

 The taper burneth in your closet, sir.
 Searching the window for a flint, I found
 This paper, thus sealed up, and I am sure
40 It did not lie there when I went to bed.
Gives him the letter.
 Get you to bed again. It is not day.
 Is not tomorrow, boy, the ides of March?
LUCIUS I know not, sir.
 Look in the calendar, and bring me word.
LUCIUS 45I will, sir.He exits.
 The exhalations, whizzing in the air,
 Give so much light that I may read by them.
Opens the letter and reads.

Julius Caesar
ACT 2. SC. 1

 Brutus, thou sleep’st. Awake, and see thyself!
 Shall Rome, etc. Speak, strike, redress!

50 “Brutus, thou sleep’st. Awake.”
 Such instigations have been often dropped
 Where I have took them up.
 “Shall Rome, etc.” Thus must I piece it out:
 Shall Rome stand under one man’s awe? What,
55 Rome?
 My ancestors did from the streets of Rome
 The Tarquin drive when he was called a king.
 “Speak, strike, redress!” Am I entreated
 To speak and strike? O Rome, I make thee promise,
60 If the redress will follow, thou receivest
 Thy full petition at the hand of Brutus.

Enter Lucius.

LUCIUS Sir, March is wasted fifteen days.
Knock within.
 ’Tis good. Go to the gate; somebody knocks.
Lucius exits.
 Since Cassius first did whet me against Caesar,
65 I have not slept.
 Between the acting of a dreadful thing
 And the first motion, all the interim is
 Like a phantasma or a hideous dream.
 The genius and the mortal instruments
70 Are then in council, and the state of man,
 Like to a little kingdom, suffers then
 The nature of an insurrection.

Enter Lucius.

 Sir, ’tis your brother Cassius at the door,
 Who doth desire to see you.

Julius Caesar
ACT 2. SC. 1

BRUTUS 75 Is he alone?
 No, sir. There are more with him.
BRUTUS  Do you know
 No, sir. Their hats are plucked about their ears,
80 And half their faces buried in their cloaks,
 That by no means I may discover them
 By any mark of favor.
BRUTUS  Let ’em enter.Lucius exits.
 They are the faction. O conspiracy,
85 Sham’st thou to show thy dang’rous brow by night,
 When evils are most free? O, then, by day
 Where wilt thou find a cavern dark enough
 To mask thy monstrous visage? Seek none,
90 Hide it in smiles and affability;
 For if thou path, thy native semblance on,
 Not Erebus itself were dim enough
 To hide thee from prevention.

Enter the conspirators, Cassius, Casca, Decius, Cinna,
Metellus, and Trebonius.

 I think we are too bold upon your rest.
95 Good morrow, Brutus. Do we trouble you?
 I have been up this hour, awake all night.
 Know I these men that come along with you?
 Yes, every man of them; and no man here
 But honors you, and every one doth wish
100 You had but that opinion of yourself
 Which every noble Roman bears of you.
 This is Trebonius.

Julius Caesar
ACT 2. SC. 1

BRUTUS  He is welcome hither.
 This, Decius Brutus.
BRUTUS 105 He is welcome too.
 This, Casca; this, Cinna; and this, Metellus Cimber.
BRUTUS They are all welcome.
 What watchful cares do interpose themselves
 Betwixt your eyes and night?
CASSIUS 110Shall I entreat a word?
Brutus and Cassius whisper.
 Here lies the east; doth not the day break here?
 O pardon, sir, it doth; and yon gray lines
 That fret the clouds are messengers of day.
115 You shall confess that you are both deceived.
 Here, as I point my sword, the sun arises,
 Which is a great way growing on the south,
 Weighing the youthful season of the year.
 Some two months hence, up higher toward the
120 north
 He first presents his fire, and the high east
 Stands, as the Capitol, directly here.
BRUTUS, coming forward with Cassius 
 Give me your hands all over, one by one.
 And let us swear our resolution.
125 No, not an oath. If not the face of men,
 The sufferance of our souls, the time’s abuse—
 If these be motives weak, break off betimes,
 And every man hence to his idle bed.
 So let high-sighted tyranny range on

Julius Caesar
ACT 2. SC. 1

130 Till each man drop by lottery. But if these—
 As I am sure they do—bear fire enough
 To kindle cowards and to steel with valor
 The melting spirits of women, then, countrymen,
 What need we any spur but our own cause
135 To prick us to redress? What other bond
 Than secret Romans that have spoke the word
 And will not palter? And what other oath
 Than honesty to honesty engaged
 That this shall be or we will fall for it?
140 Swear priests and cowards and men cautelous,
 Old feeble carrions, and such suffering souls
 That welcome wrongs; unto bad causes swear
 Such creatures as men doubt; but do not stain
 The even virtue of our enterprise,
145 Nor th’ insuppressive mettle of our spirits,
 To think that or our cause or our performance
 Did need an oath, when every drop of blood
 That every Roman bears, and nobly bears,
 Is guilty of a several bastardy
150 If he do break the smallest particle
 Of any promise that hath passed from him.
 But what of Cicero? Shall we sound him?
 I think he will stand very strong with us.
 Let us not leave him out.
CINNA 155 No, by no means.
 O, let us have him, for his silver hairs
 Will purchase us a good opinion
 And buy men’s voices to commend our deeds.
 It shall be said his judgment ruled our hands.
160 Our youths and wildness shall no whit appear,
 But all be buried in his gravity.

Julius Caesar
ACT 2. SC. 1

 O, name him not! Let us not break with him,
 For he will never follow anything
 That other men begin.
CASSIUS 165Then leave him out.
CASCA Indeed, he is not fit.
 Shall no man else be touched, but only Caesar?
 Decius, well urged. I think it is not meet
 Mark Antony, so well beloved of Caesar,
170 Should outlive Caesar. We shall find of him
 A shrewd contriver; and, you know, his means,
 If he improve them, may well stretch so far
 As to annoy us all; which to prevent,
 Let Antony and Caesar fall together.
175 Our course will seem too bloody, Caius Cassius,
 To cut the head off and then hack the limbs,
 Like wrath in death and envy afterwards;
 For Antony is but a limb of Caesar.
 Let’s be sacrificers, but not butchers, Caius.
180 We all stand up against the spirit of Caesar,
 And in the spirit of men there is no blood.
 O, that we then could come by Caesar’s spirit
 And not dismember Caesar! But, alas,
 Caesar must bleed for it. And, gentle friends,
185 Let’s kill him boldly, but not wrathfully.
 Let’s carve him as a dish fit for the gods,
 Not hew him as a carcass fit for hounds.
 And let our hearts, as subtle masters do,
 Stir up their servants to an act of rage
190 And after seem to chide ’em. This shall make
 Our purpose necessary and not envious;
 Which so appearing to the common eyes,
 We shall be called purgers, not murderers.

Julius Caesar
ACT 2. SC. 1

 And for Mark Antony, think not of him,
195 For he can do no more than Caesar’s arm
 When Caesar’s head is off.
CASSIUS  Yet I fear him,
 For in the engrafted love he bears to Caesar—
 Alas, good Cassius, do not think of him.
200 If he love Caesar, all that he can do
 Is to himself: take thought and die for Caesar.
 And that were much he should, for he is given
 To sports, to wildness, and much company.
 There is no fear in him. Let him not die,
205 For he will live and laugh at this hereafter.
Clock strikes.
 Peace, count the clock.
CASSIUS  The clock hath stricken
 ’Tis time to part.
CASSIUS 210 But it is doubtful yet
 Whether Caesar will come forth today or no,
 For he is superstitious grown of late,
 Quite from the main opinion he held once
 Of fantasy, of dreams, and ceremonies.
215 It may be these apparent prodigies,
 The unaccustomed terror of this night,
 And the persuasion of his augurers
 May hold him from the Capitol today.
 Never fear that. If he be so resolved,
220 I can o’ersway him, for he loves to hear
 That unicorns may be betrayed with trees,
 And bears with glasses, elephants with holes,
 Lions with toils, and men with flatterers.

Julius Caesar
ACT 2. SC. 1

 But when I tell him he hates flatterers,
225 He says he does, being then most flatterèd.
 Let me work,
 For I can give his humor the true bent,
 And I will bring him to the Capitol.
 Nay, we will all of us be there to fetch him.
230 By the eighth hour, is that the uttermost?
 Be that the uttermost, and fail not then.
 Caius Ligarius doth bear Caesar hard,
 Who rated him for speaking well of Pompey.
 I wonder none of you have thought of him.
235 Now, good Metellus, go along by him.
 He loves me well, and I have given him reasons.
 Send him but hither, and I’ll fashion him.
 The morning comes upon ’s. We’ll leave you,
240 And, friends, disperse yourselves, but all remember
 What you have said, and show yourselves true
 Good gentlemen, look fresh and merrily.
 Let not our looks put on our purposes,
245 But bear it, as our Roman actors do,
 With untired spirits and formal constancy.
 And so good morrow to you every one.
All but Brutus exit.
 Boy! Lucius!—Fast asleep? It is no matter.
 Enjoy the honey-heavy dew of slumber.
250 Thou hast no figures nor no fantasies

Julius Caesar
ACT 2. SC. 1

 Which busy care draws in the brains of men.
 Therefore thou sleep’st so sound.

Enter Portia.

PORTIA  Brutus, my lord.
 Portia! What mean you? Wherefore rise you now?
255 It is not for your health thus to commit
 Your weak condition to the raw cold morning.
 Nor for yours neither. You’ve ungently, Brutus,
 Stole from my bed. And yesternight at supper
 You suddenly arose and walked about,
260 Musing and sighing, with your arms across,
 And when I asked you what the matter was,
 You stared upon me with ungentle looks.
 I urged you further; then you scratched your head
 And too impatiently stamped with your foot.
265 Yet I insisted; yet you answered not,
 But with an angry wafture of your hand
 Gave sign for me to leave you. So I did,
 Fearing to strengthen that impatience
 Which seemed too much enkindled, and withal
270 Hoping it was but an effect of humor,
 Which sometime hath his hour with every man.
 It will not let you eat nor talk nor sleep,
 And could it work so much upon your shape
 As it hath much prevailed on your condition,
275 I should not know you Brutus. Dear my lord,
 Make me acquainted with your cause of grief.
 I am not well in health, and that is all.
 Brutus is wise and, were he not in health,
 He would embrace the means to come by it.

Julius Caesar
ACT 2. SC. 1

280 Why so I do. Good Portia, go to bed.
 Is Brutus sick? And is it physical
 To walk unbracèd and suck up the humors
 Of the dank morning? What, is Brutus sick,
 And will he steal out of his wholesome bed
285 To dare the vile contagion of the night
 And tempt the rheumy and unpurgèd air
 To add unto his sickness? No, my Brutus,
 You have some sick offense within your mind,
 Which by the right and virtue of my place
290 I ought to know of. She kneels. And upon my
 I charm you, by my once commended beauty,
 By all your vows of love, and that great vow
 Which did incorporate and make us one,
295 That you unfold to me, your self, your half,
 Why you are heavy, and what men tonight
 Have had resort to you; for here have been
 Some six or seven who did hide their faces
 Even from darkness.
BRUTUS 300 Kneel not, gentle Portia.
He lifts her up.
 I should not need, if you were gentle Brutus.
 Within the bond of marriage, tell me, Brutus,
 Is it excepted I should know no secrets
 That appertain to you? Am I your self
305 But, as it were, in sort or limitation,
 To keep with you at meals, comfort your bed,
 And talk to you sometimes? Dwell I but in the
 Of your good pleasure? If it be no more,
310 Portia is Brutus’ harlot, not his wife.

Julius Caesar
ACT 2. SC. 1

 You are my true and honorable wife,
 As dear to me as are the ruddy drops
 That visit my sad heart.
 If this were true, then should I know this secret.
315 I grant I am a woman, but withal
 A woman that Lord Brutus took to wife.
 I grant I am a woman, but withal
 A woman well-reputed, Cato’s daughter.
 Think you I am no stronger than my sex,
320 Being so fathered and so husbanded?
 Tell me your counsels; I will not disclose ’em.
 I have made strong proof of my constancy,
 Giving myself a voluntary wound
 Here, in the thigh. Can I bear that with patience,
325 And not my husband’s secrets?
BRUTUS  O you gods,
 Render me worthy of this noble wife!Knock.
 Hark, hark, one knocks. Portia, go in awhile,
 And by and by thy bosom shall partake
330 The secrets of my heart.
 All my engagements I will construe to thee,
 All the charactery of my sad brows.
 Leave me with haste.Portia exits.
 Lucius, who ’s that knocks?

Enter Lucius and Ligarius.

335 Here is a sick man that would speak with you.
 Caius Ligarius, that Metellus spoke of.—
 Boy, stand aside.Lucius exits.
 Caius Ligarius, how?
 Vouchsafe good morrow from a feeble tongue.

Julius Caesar
ACT 2. SC. 1

340 O, what a time have you chose out, brave Caius,
 To wear a kerchief! Would you were not sick!
 I am not sick, if Brutus have in hand
 Any exploit worthy the name of honor.
 Such an exploit have I in hand, Ligarius,
345 Had you a healthful ear to hear of it.
 By all the gods that Romans bow before,
 I here discard my sickness.
He takes off his kerchief.
 Soul of Rome,
 Brave son derived from honorable loins,
350 Thou like an exorcist hast conjured up
 My mortifièd spirit. Now bid me run,
 And I will strive with things impossible,
 Yea, get the better of them. What’s to do?
 A piece of work that will make sick men whole.
355 But are not some whole that we must make sick?
 That must we also. What it is, my Caius,
 I shall unfold to thee as we are going
 To whom it must be done.
LIGARIUS  Set on your foot,
360 And with a heart new-fired I follow you
 To do I know not what; but it sufficeth
 That Brutus leads me on.Thunder.
BRUTUS  Follow me then.
They exit.