Act II, Scene 1

Brutus' orchard in Rome

There are no stars in the sky
To tell me how close it is to morning. Lucius, I say!
I wish I could sleep that soundly.
When are you coming, Lucius, when? Wake up, I say! Lucius!

[Enter Lucius from the house.]

Did you call, my lord?

Get a candle and put it in my study, Lucius.
When it is lit, come and find me here.

I will, my lord.


[Brutus returns to his brooding.]

It can only be solved by Caesar's death; for my part,
I have no personal grudge against him;
I'm thinking only of the general welfare. He wants to be crowned.
The question is, how would that change his personality?
It is the sunshine that brings out the snake,
So walk carefully. Give him a crown,
And then we have put a poisonous bite in him
That he can cause trouble with whenever he wants.
Greatness is abused when it separates
Pity from power. And to tell the truth about Caesar,
I have never known him to be controlled by his heart
Instead of his head. But people often say
That humility is a ladder for young ambition,
Which the person climbing up looks toward;
But once he reaches the top rung,
He then turns his back to the ladder,
And looks into the clouds, scorning the lower levels
Which he climbed upon to reach this high position. This is what Caesar may do.
Then rather than let him do that, we must prevent it. And since the case against Caesar
Can't be proved from what he is like now,
We must shape our argument in this way: That Caesar's true nature, if allowed to develop
Would reach terrible extremes;
So we must think of him as a serpent's egg,
Which, if it hatched, would like all serpents grow dangerous,
And kill him before he hatches.

[Reenter Lucius with a letter.]

The candle is burning in your private room, sir.
While I was searching the window for a match, I found
This paper, sealed up, and I am sure
It wasn't there when I went to bed.

[Gives him the letter.]

Go back to bed; the sun isn't even up.
Isn't tomorrow, boy, the ides of March?

I don't know, sir.

Look in the calendar and come tell me.

I will, sir.


The meteors, falling through the air,
Give off so much light that I can read by them.

[Opens the letter and reads.]

"Brutus, you are asleep. Wake up, and see yourself!
Shall Rome, etc. Speak, strike, right a wrong!
Brutus, you are asleep. Wake up!"
Suggestions like this have often been dropped
Where I have picked them up.
"Shall Rome, etc." I must guess the rest of the sentence:
Should Rome have such fear and respect for just one man? What, Rome?
My ancestors drove the Tarquin
From the streets of Rome when he was called a king.
"Speak, strike, right a wrong!" Am I encouraged
To speak and strike? O Rome, I promise you,
If a solution for our troubles will come from my action, you will get
Everything you ask for from Brutus!

[Reenter Lucius.]

Sir, we are fifteen days into March.

[Knocking within.]

That's good. Go to the door; somebody is knocking.

[Exit Lucius.]

Since Cassius first aroused my suspicions concerning Caesar,
I have not slept.
The time between the earliest thought of a terrible act
And the actual performance of it is
Like a nightmare or a hideous dream.
The heart and mind
Debate the subject, while the man himself,
Like a small country, undergoes
A civil war.

[Reenter Lucius.]

Sir, it's your friend Cassius at the door,
Who wants to see you.

Is he alone?

No, sir, there are more people with him.

Do you know them?

No, sir. Their hats are pulled down around their ears
And half their faces are buried in their cloaks,
So that there is no way I can tell who they are.

Let them in.


[Exit Lucius.]

They are the faction. O consiracy,
Are you afraid to show your dangerous face at night,
When evil things are mostly left alone? O, then during the day,
Where will you find a cave dark enough
To hide your horrible face? Don't look for one, conspiracy;
Hide your plans in smiles and friendliness!
If you go out showing your true natures,
Even the gateway to hell is not dark enough
To hide you and keep your plans from being discovered.

[Enter the conspirators, Cassius, Casca, Decius, Cinna, Metellus Cimber, and Trebonius.]

I think we may have come too early.
Good morning, Brutus. Are we disturbing you?

I was already up, awake all night.
Do I know these men who have come with you?

Yes, every one of them; and there is no man here
Who doesn't honor you; and every one wishes
You had the same opinion of yourself
Which every noble Roman has of you.
This is Trebonius.

He is welcome here.

This, Decius Brutus.

He is welcome too.

This, Casca; this, Cinna; and this, Metellus Cimber.

They are all welcome.
What trouble keep you
Awake at night?

Could I speak with you privately?

[They whisper.]

Here is the east. Doesn't the sun rise here?


Excuse me, sir, but it does; and those grey lines
That stripe the clouds are messengers of day.

You must admit that you are both wrong.
Here, where I point my sword, the sun rises,
From a southerly direction,
Since it is still early in the year.
Two months from now, the sun will rise
Up higher toward the north; and the true east
Is where the Capitol is, right here.

[Brutus and Cassius rejoin the others.]

Give me your hands, one at a time.

And let us swear our loyalty.

No, we do not need to swear. The sadness of people's faces,
Our own suffering, and the awful time we live in--
If these aren't strong enough reasons to hold us together, then let's quit early
And all go home to bed.
In that case, let arrogant tyranny live,
While we die off, one at a time, by chance. But if these reasons
(As I am sure they do) are strong enough
To motivate cowards and to give courage to
The weak spirits of women, then, countrymen,
Why do we need any incentive other than our own cause
To encourage us to correct these evils?
Why do we need any bond
Other than that of Romans who secretly made an agreement
And will not go back on our word? and
Why do we need any oath other
Than personal honor promised
That this will be done, or we will die for it?
Swearing oaths is for priests, cowards, and crafty men,
Old dying men, and unhappy people who enjoy lying.
creatures like these that men don't trust swear to bad causes; don't disgrace
The steady virtue of our enterprise
Nor the unfailing courage of our spirits
To think that either what we believe or what we are about to do
Needs an oath when every drop of blood
In every Roman, and every noble,
Is not truly Roman
If he breaks even the smallest part
Of any promise he has made.

But what about Cicero? Shall we see what he thinks?
I think he will support us.

Let us not leave him out.

Yes, by all means.

O, let us get Cicero to join us! His age
Will get us popular support
And people to praise what we do.
People will say that his sound judgement controlled us;
Our youth and wildness will not be noticed
but will be hidden in his seriousness.

Don't mention him! Let us not confide in him,
For he will never follow anything
That is started by anyone but himself.

Then leave him out.

Indeed, he is not suitable.

Shall we kill only Caesar?

Decius, good point. I think it is not proper
That Mark Antony, Caesar's good friend,
Should outlive Caesar. We will find that he is
A schemer, and you know,
If he had more power, he could be
Trouble for us; To prevent this,
Let Antony and Caesar die together.

Our actions will seem too violent, Caius Cassius,
If we cut the head off and then hack at the limbs,
Like we were killing in anger with hatred afterwards;
Antony is only a limb of Caesar.
Let us be sacrificers, but not butchers, Caius.
We all stand up against the spirit of Caesar,
And in the spirit of men there is no blood.
If only we could remove Caesar's soul
Without destroying his body! But, alas,
Caesar must bleed for it! And, good friends,
Let's kill him boldly but not angrily;
Let's carve him like a dish fit for the gods,
Not chop him up like the body of an animal to be fed to dogs.
Let our hearts treat our hands the way sly masters do;
We will provoke our hands to do our dirty work in anger,
Then later scold them for what they have done. This will make
Our purpose necessary and not the result of jealousy.
When the public sees this,
We will be called healer, not murderers.
As far as Mark Antony's concerned, forget about him;
He cannot do any more damage than Caesar's arm can do
When Caesar's head is removed.

Still I'm afraid of him,
For in his deep-rooted friendship to Caesar--

Alas, good Cassius, don't think about him!
If he cares for Caesar, the only thing he can do
Is to himself--Become depressed, and die for Caesar.
Mark Antony isn't likely to kill himself; he loves
Sports, wildness, and socializing too much to do such a thing.

We have nothing to fear from him. Let's not kill him,
For he will live and laugh at this later.

[Clock strikes.]

Quiet! Count the chimes of the clock.

The clock struck three.

It's time to go.

But we still don't know
Whether Caesar will leave his house today or not;
He has become superstitious lately,
In contrast to the strong views he once had
Of fantasies, dreams, and omens.
These strange events,
The unusual terrors tonight,
And the arguments of his fortune-tellers
May keep him away from the Capitol today.

Don't be afraid of that. If he decides to stay home,
I can change his mind; he loves to hear
That unicorns can be trapped with trees
And bears with mirrors, elephants with pitfalls,
Lions with nets, and men with flatterers;
But when I tell him that he hates flatterers,
He says he does, although at that moment he is flattered.
Let me work,
For I can get him into the right mood,
And I will bring him to the Capitol.

No, all of us will be there to bring him.

By eight o'clock. Do we all agree that eight is the latest we'll be there?

That's the latest, and don't fail then.

Caius Ligarius has a grudge against Caesar,
Who criticized him for supporting Pompey.
I'm surprised none of you thought of him.

Now, good Metellus, go get him.
He is my friend, for good reason.
Send him to me, and I'll persuade him.

Morning is coming. We'll leave you, Brutus.
And, friends, scatter yourselves; but everyone remember
What you have said and prove yourselves true Romans.

Good gentlemen, look rested and happy.
Let's not let our appearances reveal what we are planning to do,
But carry it off like our Roman actors do,
With untired spirits and consistent dignity,
And so good day to each of you.

[Exit all but Brutus.]

Boy! Lucius! Fast asleep? It doesn't matter.
Enjoy your rest.
You have no dreams
Which busy worry puts in the brains of men;
That's why you sleep so soundly.

[Enter Portia, Brutus' wife.]

Brutus, my lord!

Portia! What are you doing? Why are you up at this hour?
It is not healthy for you to expose
Your weak body to the raw cold morning.

It is not good for you, either. You have unkindly, Brutus,
Sneaked out of my bed. And last night at supper
You suddenly got up and walked around,
thinking and sighing with your arms crossed;
And when I asked you what the matter was,
You stared at me with unfriendly expressions.
I asked again, then you scratched your head
And too impatiently stamped with your foot.
Still I insisted, and still you would not answer,
But with an angry gesture of your hand
You motioned for me to leave you. So I did,
Because I was afraid of making your impatience even greater, and also
I hoped it was only an effect of your mood,
Which affects every man at some time.
It will not let you eat or talk or sleep,
And if it could change your appearance
The way it has changed your personality,
I would not recognize you, Brutus. Dear husband,
Tell me what is upsetting you.

I am not feeling well, and that is all.

Brutus is wise, and, if he were sick,
He would do what was necessary to get well.

That's what I'm doing. Good Portia, go to bed.

Do you expect me to believe that you're sick? Is it healthy
To walk without a coat and breathe the air
Of a damp morning? Is Brutus sick,
And he will sneak out of his wholesome bed
To risk the terrible diseases of the night,
And tempt the unhealthy air that is not yet cleansed by the sun,
To make him even sicker? No, my Brutus,
You have a sickness of the mind,
Which, because I am your wife,
I ought to know about; and on my knees
I beg you, by my once-praised beauty,
By all your vows of love, and that great vow
That joined us and made us one,
That you tell me, yourself, your half,
Why you are sad, and what men tonight
Have met with you; for six or seven men
Have been here, who hid their faces
Even from darkness.

Don't kneel, gentle Portia.

I would not need to if you were gentle Brutus.
Within the bond of marriage, tell me, Brutus,
Is it accepted that I shouldn't know any secrets
That relate to you? Am I yourself
Only partially or in a limited way?
To keep you company at meals, comfort your bed,
And talk to you sometimes? Do I live only on the outskirts
Of your life? If that's all,
Portia is Brutus' prostitute, not his wife.

You are my true and honorable wife,
As important to me as the blood
That visits my sad heart.

If this were true, then I would know this secret.
I admit that I am a woman, but also
A woman that Lord Brutus chose as his wife.
I admit that I am a woman, but also
A well-respected woman, Cato's daughter.
Do you think I am no stronger than my gender,
With such a father and such a husband?
Tell me your secret; I will not disclose it.
I have proved my strength
By wounding myself
Here, in the thigh. Can I stand that pain,
And not my husband's secrets?

O you gods,
Make me worthy of this noble wife.

[Knocking within.]

Listen! Someone's knocking. Portia, go inside for awhile,
And soon you shall hear
The secrets of my heart.
I will explain all my dealings
And the reason for my sad looks.
Leave me quickly.

[Exit Portia.]

Lucius, who's knocking?

[Reenter Lucius with Caius-Ligarius.]

Here is a sick man who wishes to speak with you.

Caius Ligarius, the man Metellus spoke about.
Boy, step aside. Caius Ligarius, how are you?

Accept a good morning from a sick man.

O, what a time you have chosen, brave Caius,
To wear a kerchief! I wish you were not sick!

I am not sick if Brutus is planning
Any honorable action.

I am planning such an action, Ligarius,
If you had a healthy ear to hear about it.

By all the gods that Romans bow to,
I declare myself cured! Soul of Rome!
Brave son, descended from noble Romans!
You are like an exorcist who has conjured up
My dead spirit. Now ask me to run,
And I will struggle with impossible things;
Yes, I will defeat them. What must be done?

A piece of work that will make sick men well.

But aren't some men well whom we need to make sick?

We must do that too. I will tell you the plan, Caius,
While we go
To see the person to whom it must be done.

Lead the way,
And with a newly enthusiastic heart I will follow,
Although I don't know what we are going to do; it is enough
That Brutus is leading me.


Follow me, then.