Julius Caesar By William Shakespeare Summary and Analysis Act V: Scene 4

Summary

On the battlefield, in the midst of fighting, Brutus enters with Young Cato, Lucilius, and others. He urges them all to stand upright and brave. He exits, and Young Cato shouts his name and his loyalty to Rome, although some texts credit these lines, showing this loyalty to Brutus and Rome, to Lucilius. Young Cato is killed, and Lucilius is captured by Antony's soldiers who think that he is Brutus. He is then left under guard as one of the soldiers runs to bring Antony to the prisoner whom he believes to be Brutus. When Antony arrives and asks for Brutus, Lucilius tells him that Brutus is alive and will never be taken prisoner. Antony sets guard over the loyal Lucilius, and he sends his soldiers to search for Brutus and report to him later at Octavius' tent.

Analysis

The mistakes keep piling up. In this scene, Antony's soldiers mistake Lucilius for Brutus, the former having taken on the latter's identity in order to protect him, hoping to convince the soldiers that they have captured Brutus, and thus give up looking for him. Antony enters the scene, however, tells the soldiers of their mistake, and robs Lucilius of a noble death.

Now that he is taken prisoner, and not killed, will Lucilius be as valuable a friend as Antony suggests? Lucilius seems the least likely person to switch allegiances, and by the end of the play there is no clear answer whether he will. Antony believes that soldiers will always choose what is best for themselves without consideration for their principles and loyalty. This belief is an indication of the type of ruler he will be — one who is willing to forget both principles and loyalties. Yet Antony gives a glimpse of the decidedly unromantic realities of war. Loyalty lasts as long as the battle, and when faced with the reality of life among the winners, one ought to change sides. These are Antony's perceptions of reality (and are only partially right, as evidenced in the final scene). In fact, his views indicate, to some degree, that when Antony and the triumvirate rule — for they surely will — they will rule a world devoid of the nobility of men like Brutus and Lucilius.

Glossary

bastard here, one who is so cowardly that he will not keep fighting.

only I yield to die I yield in order to die, not to escape death.

there is so much that thou wilt kill me straight here is what will make you kill me (that he is Brutus).

Back to Top

Take the Quiz

After discovering Cassius’ body, Brutus decides to




Quiz