Poor Brutus, With Himself At War

“Poor Brutus, with himself at war, forgets the shows of love to other men.”

Julius Caesar I.2


Well: now that we’ve opened, and my lungs are once again receiving oxygen, I thought I’d take time to share a few thoughts and observations about the play, and the role I’m playing.


Brutus is one tough nut.  A lot of questions. Here are some of my favourites, along with the answers I’ve come up with.


Why doesn’t Brutus simply talk to Caesar about his ambition, and try to reason with him, before agreeing to kill him?

I’m glad you asked.  Brutus actually says: “And to speak truth of Caesar, I have not known when his affections swayed more than his reason…”  So why not take him aside, as a friend, and tell him to ix-nay the own-cray?  For one thing, I think Brutus is afraid of what Caesar’s reaction might be: not for fear of personal consequence, but for fear that all of Cassius’ accusations (and Brutus’ own misgivings) might be proven true.  I think Brutus had rather see Caesar die than to see Caesar give over his honour to ego and ambition.  “Then, lest he may, prevent.”  


I also think that, in the assassination scene, when Brutus pleads on behalf of Metellus Cimber’s brother, he is genuinely pleading with Caesar to change his mind so that Caesar might save himself (body and soul), and when Caesar goes on instead to elaborate on his godlike infallibility, that’s when he (both Caesar and Brutus) dooms himself.


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