30 votes
Accepted

Why does Shakespeare's Julius Caesar switch to Latin for the "Et tu, Brute" line?

It's not for the sake of veracity Whether the historical Caesar pronounced or not the said words is disputed. Of five Antique sources on Caesar's death: Nicolaus of Damascus, Plutarch and Appian do ...
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18 votes

Did Shakespeare consider Julius Caesar a tyrant or a martyr?

It is left open by the playwright I am going to look at the three characters you have chosen, starting with Cassius. Cassius is not an honorable man no matter whether you think Caesar should have ...
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14 votes

Did Shakespeare consider Julius Caesar a tyrant or a martyr?

As asked, the question is close to unanswerable. Specifically, your main question is: What is the evidence - either from the text of the play itself, or from surrounding evidence, if any - of ...
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7 votes
Accepted

Is this part of Mark Antony's speech to the conspirators in the play "Julius Caesar" meant to be honest?

The nature of a play is that we have the character’s words, and not their thoughts, so that the same words are playable in multiple ways. An actor could play Antony as “overcome by genuine emotion” in ...
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6 votes
Accepted

What texts are the sources for the difference between "sometime were" and "some time are" in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar?

Some of Shakespeare's plays were printed individually in quarto editions during Shakespeare's lifetime, but Julius Caesar is one of the plays that was first printed after Shakespeare's death in the so-...
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6 votes
Accepted

What does this verse said by Portia in Julius Caesar mean?

Shakespeare’s main sources for Julius Caesar were Plutarch’s biographies of Julius Caesar and Marcus Brutus, which he read in the 1579 English translation of Thomas North. The episode you are asking ...
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4 votes

What does this verse said by Portia in Julius Caesar mean?

The main sources for Shakespeare's Julius Caesar are three of Plutarch's Lives, namely Marcus Brutus, Julius Caesar and Marcus Antonius. Shakespeare's use of Plutarch's work is documented in detail in ...
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4 votes

Why is "...Then fall, Caesar" always left out when talking about Caesar's last words?

The phrase et tu Brute was in common use among the Elizabethans before Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar”. It is a Latin translation of a Greek phrase which Suetonius ascribed to the dying Caesar in his “...
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4 votes
Accepted

Julius Caesar: "If it be aught toward the general good, Set honor in one eye and death i’ th’ other..."

Brutus is saying: What are you trying to tell me? If it is something that will advance the general good, then it makes no difference to me whether it brings me honor, death, or neither; I will do it ...
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3 votes

Why do we get some explicit references in Shakespearean plays that are meant for something else?

The discussion of sexual allusions or inferences in Shakespeare has been going on for a century or more. There can be no discussion, though, about the second quotation. (the bawdy hand of the dial is ...
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2 votes

Meaning of the words "Ambition should be made of sterner stuff" from Julius Caesar

The origin of the expression is Shakespeare's Julius Caesar Act III, Scene V: He was my friend, faithful and just to me: But Brutus says he was ambitious; And Brutus is an honourable man. He hath ...
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1 vote

Meaning of the words "Ambition should be made of sterner stuff" from Julius Caesar

In present-day English, the term ambition is often used with a positive connotation; see the third meaning listed in Wiktionary: A personal quality similar to motivation, not necessarily tied to a ...
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1 vote

Why do we get some explicit references in Shakespearean plays that are meant for something else?

The most famous study of Shakespeare's "explicit references" is Shakespeare's Bawdy: A Literary & Psychological Essay and A Comprehensive Glossary by Eric Partridge (first published in 1947). The ...
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  • 38.1k
1 vote

What does Cassius mean when he refers to his mother?

I would paraphrase "rash humour" as irascible temper or fickle temper. Based on what Brutus said earlier, Cassius does not so much have a persisting angry mood; his character is better described as ...
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