During the early course of the battle of Philippi, Brutus sends Messala with a message, urging Cassius to engage the enemy forces at once. Brutus believes that the forces under Octavius, which are positioned before him, are currently unspirited and vulnerable to attack.
Brutus' actions in this scene embody both hope and the rashness born of having nothing more to lose. It is a short scene, and the very quickness of its language is meant to heighten the tension of the battle for the audience. Remember that in an Elizabethan theater, there was no scenery to shift — the action was fast as actors left and came back on stage, sometimes in a matter of seconds. Remember, also, that the battle, for the most part, takes place offstage. The important action of this final act will lie in the fates of the characters, not in their swordplay.
bills statements, usually itemized, of charges for goods or services.
cold demeanor detached in one's outward behavior.