17. In his argument with Cassius in Act IV scene 3, Brutus refers to Caesar in terms of both praise and censure. Find the
speech and decide whether
a. the praise is consistent with earlier references to Caesar’s qualities and
Remember March, the ides of March remember:
Did not great Julius bleed for justice' sake?
What villain touch'd his body, that did stab,
And not for justice? What, shall one of us
That struck the foremost man of all this world
But for supporting robbers, shall we now
Contaminate our fingers with base bribes,
And sell the mighty space of our large honours
For so much trash as may be grasped thus?
I had rather be a dog, and bay the moon,
Than such a Roman.
Brutus refers to the fact that they killed Caesar for his ambition, and reminds Cassius that they killed him for justice
because there was not further reason to kill Julius. He also calls Caesar the foremost man of this world, which is true because
of the rank Caesar held and the respect he earned from his actions through his ambition.
b. whether the criticism is so major that Brutus should have mentioned it earlier.
Let me tell you, Cassius, you yourself
Are much condemn'd to have an itching palm;
To sell and mart your offices for gold
Brutus puts together that he was the only person who killed Caesar for justice the rest of them did it out of greed with
their “itching palms.” Brutus should have recognized and mentioned this flaw in character earlier.
10. The quarrel scene (Act IV Scene 2) has been belittled by the critic Thomas Rymer in the seventeenth century; praised
by John Dryden, his contemporary, for its “masculinity” in the eighteenth century; admired as an example
of dramatic genius in the nineteenth century (by Samuel Taylor Coleridge); and dismissed as irrelevant by twentieth century
critic Henry Bradley. Read it carefully and decide for yourself
a. Whether Brutus is (i) unrealistic in expecting his allies always to act honorably or (ii) admirable in his inflexible
attitude toward corruption.
Brutus is a very honorable man, so much so that it gets him into trouble. He is unrealistic to think that his allies will
always act honorably, because they are greedy. His quality of honorability is admirable but not always the best trait to have
in the situation he is in.
b. Whether Brutus is (i) arrogant and insensitive towards Cassius at the beginning of the quarrel or (ii) properly firm
Brutus is not arrogant or insensitive towards Cassius, after all it was Cassius who corrupted Brutus to make him the man
he became. He was right to stand up to Cassius and call him out on the wrongs he committed and his lies he told.
d. affectionate: how does this show and is it surprising?
· My spirit from mine eyes! There is my dagger,
And here my naked breast; within, a heart
Dearer than Plutus' mine, richer than gold:
o This is shown through this passage and it is not surprising that he would show affection for himself.
e. jocular: which episode brings out a flash of humor, and what is its purpose?
Hath Cassius lived
To be but mirth and laughter to his Brutus,
When grief, and blood ill-temper'd, vexeth him?
When I spoke that, I was ill-temper'd too.
Do you confess so much? Give me your hand.
And my heart too.
What's the matter?
Have not you love enough to bear with me,
When that rash humour which my mother gave me
Makes me forgetful?
o Its purpose it to lighten up the scene and make it seem as if their lives are always so serious.
f. sympathetically emotional: would you have expected him to react to Portia’s death in the way he does? How
does it compare with Brutus’s own response?
No man bears sorrow better. Portia is dead.
She is dead.
How 'scaped I killing when I cross'd you so?
O insupportable and touching loss!
Upon what sickness?
Impatient of my absence,
And grief that young Octavius with Mark Antony
Have made themselves so strong:--for with her death
That tidings came;--with this she fell distract,
And, her attendants absent, swallow'd fire.
o Yes, Cassius is not usually so affectionate for other people just himself. Brutus’s reaction is just
g. dependent: what evidence is there to show that in his relationship with Brutus, there is another side to Cassius than
the one presented before the assassination?
All this! ay, more: fret till your proud heart break;
Go show your slaves how choleric you are,
And make your bondmen tremble. Must I budge?
Must I observe you? must I stand and crouch
Under your testy humour? By the gods
You shall digest the venom of your spleen,
Though it do split you; for, from this day forth,
I'll use you for my mirth, yea, for my laughter,
When you are waspish.
Is it come to this?
You say you are a better soldier:
Let it appear so; make your vaunting true,
And it shall please me well: for mine own part,
I shall be glad to learn of noble men.
You wrong me every way; you wrong me, Brutus;
I said, an elder soldier, not a better:
Did I say 'better'?
If you did, I care not.
When Caesar lived, he durst not thus have moved me.
Peace, peace! you durst not so have tempted him.
I durst not!
What, durst not tempt him!
For your life you durst not!
Do not presume too much upon my love;
I may do that I shall be sorry for.
You have done that you should be sorry for.
There is no terror, Cassius, in your threats,
For I am arm'd so strong in honesty
That they pass by me as the idle wind,
Which I respect not. I did send to you
For certain sums of gold, which you denied me:
For I can raise no money by vile means:
By heaven, I had rather coin my heart,
And drop my blood for drachmas, than to wring
From the hard hands of peasants their vile trash
By any indirection: I did send
To you for gold to pay my legions,
Which you denied me: was that done like Cassius?
Should I have answer'd Caius Cassius so?
When Marcus Brutus grows so covetous,
To lock such rascal counters from his friends,
Be ready, gods, with all your thunderbolts;
Dash him to pieces!
I denied you not.
I did not: he was but a fool that brought
My answer back. Brutus hath rived my heart:
A friend should bear his friend's infirmities,
But Brutus makes mine greater than they are.
I do not, till you practise them on me.
You love me not.
I do not like your faults.
· This shows that Cassius can not rule alone, he cannot go on with a plan without another. He is very dependent
on people rather than before the assassination he is very independent.