Act II


Lucius, a character invented by Shakespeare, who throughout the play reveals the humanity of Brutus. Brutus contemplates the symbolism of the starlit sky that follows the thunderstorm. In lines 10-34 Brutus considers his position. He resolves to act against Caesar only on the theoretical premise that he will become tyrannical. This is the moment when Brutus' commitment to the conspiracy is fulfilled; Cassius' letter has the desired effect in stimulating Brutus' sense of duty, as a Roman, in terms of his family

'O Rome, I make thee promise,
If the redress will follow, thou receivest
Thy full petition at the hand of Brutus.' (ll. 56- 8)

Brutus then asks Lucius what day it is, and he informs his master that it is the ides of March, or March 15th. A knock sounds on the door and Lucius leaves to answer it. Brutus takes this opportunity to inform the audience that he has not slept since Cassius first incited him against Caesar.

Cassius is at the door, along with Casca, Decius, Cinna, Metellus and Trebonius, all of them conspirators against Caesar. Brutus invites them in and Cassius takes him aside. Soon Brutus rejoins the group of men and shakes all their hands, having agreed to join them. The men then discuss whether they should invite Cicero, the great orator, to join their plot, but Brutus convinces them against inviting him in. Cassius is further of the opinion that Mark Antony should be killed along with Caesar, but again Brutus is against the plan, calling it too "bloody."

They plan to commit their murder of Caesar at the Senate at eight o'clock that morning (it is only three in the morning at this point). However, they are worried that Caesar will not show up because he has become so superstitious over the past few months. Decius tells them that he knows how to flatter Caesar, and assures them that he will convince Caesar to go to the Senate. Cassius and his followers then depart, leaving Brutus alone.

Brutus' wife Portia arrives and tells him that he has left her bed and given her unkind looks. She begs him to tell her why he is so upset. He tells her that he is sick, to which she responds that it appears to be a sickness of the mind, not of the body. She again begs him to tell her what is wrong, asking him, "Think you I am no stronger than my sex, / Being so fathered and so husbanded?" (II.1.295-6). She then stabs herself in the thigh as proof of her courage. Brutus finally agrees to tell her what is going on, but sends her away before telling her because there is another knock on the door.

Ligarius enters, pretending to be sick. He tells Brutus that he could be cured if only Brutus had a noble undertaking in mind. Brutus tells him that he does, and Ligarius pledges to follow Brutus on whatever task he leads him to.


Caesar, still in his nightgown, is terrified by a dream his wife Calpurnia has had in which she cried out, "Help, ho! They murder Caesar!" He orders a servant to go to the priests and have them sacrifice an animal in order to read the entrails for predictions of the future. Calpurnia arrives and tells him that he dare not leave the house that day. Caesar acts bravely and tells her that he fears nothing, and that he will die when it is necessary for him to die. The servant returns and tells him that the sacrificed animal showed a very bad omen, namely the beast did not have a heart. Caesar insists on misinterpreting the omens, but Calpurnia begs him to blame her for his absence from the Senate, to which he finally agrees.

However, Decius arrives at that moment in order to fetch Caesar to the Senate House. Caesar tells him to inform the Senate that he will not come this day. Decius claims that he will be mocked if he cannot provide a better reason than that. Caesar then tells him about Calpurnia's dream, which Decius reinterprets in a positive light. Decius then overwhelms Caesar's resistance by asking him if the Senate should dissolve until a better time when Calpurnia has more favourable dreams. Caesar tells Calpurnia that he was acting foolishly, and agrees to go to the Senate. Cassius and the other conspirators arrive at that moment to accompany him to the Senate. Antony also appears and joins the group of men who then escort Caesar out of his house.


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