Julius Caesar By William Shakespeare Study Help Top 5 Quotes Explained

"Beware the ides of March." (Act I, Scene II, line 23)

What does it mean? A soothsayer warns Julius Caesar about his impending assassination in this pivotal scene. What makes it especially important is Caesar's reaction. Caesar brushes off the soothsayer's words and doesn't give them a second thought. With his ego so inflated, Caesar is unable to recognize a warning when it is blatantly given to him. Such carelessness helps foreshadow Caesar's death in an ironic way. The warning of his assassination also foreshadows it.

"But, for my own part, it was Greek to me." (Act I, Scene II, line 285-286)

What does it mean? Casca is literally saying, "I don't know what he said, it was in Greek and I don't speak Greek." But on another level, his inability to understand the language develops Casca character further. Casca is unrefined and crude, sometimes brutish. Although not an original conspirator, Casca joins the night before Caesar's assassination and even stabs Caesar first.

"Et tu, Brute?" (Act III, Scene I)

What does it mean? After being stabbed by his comrades, Caesar addresses Brutus. Translated, the line reads, "and you too, Brutus?" Caesar cannot believe his friend participated in his assassination. Brutus is known as an honorable man, but also a tad naive. As one of the play's most complex characters, Brutus grapples with the murder of Caesar, even after the fact.

"Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears; I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him." (Act III, Scene II, line 77-78)

What does it mean? Antony opens his funeral speech with this famous line. He's acknowledging the crowd as his peers and says he has no motives besides burying Caesar. In this pivotal scene, Antony performs a masterful feat; he manages to turn the crowd against the conspirators. Antony's words about Caesar and Rome move the crowd to such an emotional frenzy the downfall of the conspirators is clearly on the horizon.

"This was the noblest Roman of them all." (Act V, Scene V, line 68)

What does it mean? In the final scene of the play, and in the wake of Brutus's suicide, Antony gives Brutus's eulogy. Antony cites Brutus's naive nature as to the reason for his nobleness. Of all the conspirators, Brutus was the only one to believe Caesar's death was for the good of all; everyone else acted out of jealousy. According to Antony, even in death Brutus was noble. He ran himself through with a sword rather than surrender.

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