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Julius Caesar

William Shakespeare

  Act 1 Scene 2

page Act 1 Scene 2 Page 6

Original Text

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Is now become a god, and Cassius is
A wretched creature and must bend his body
120If Caesar carelessly but nod on him.
He had a fever when he was in Spain,
And when the fit was on him, I did mark
How he did shake. 'Tis true, this god did shake!
His coward lips did from their color fly,
125And that same eye whose bend doth awe the world
Did lose his luster. I did hear him groan,
Ay, and that tongue of his that bade the Romans
Mark him and write his speeches in their books—
“Alas,” it cried, “give me some drink, Titinius,”
130As a sick girl. Ye gods, it doth amaze me
A man of such a feeble temper should
So get the start of the majestic world
And bear the palm alone.
And this is the man who has now become a god, and I’m a wretched creature who must bow down if Caesar so much as carelessly nods my way. In Spain, Caesar had a fever, and it made him shake. It’s true, this so-called “god”—he shook. His cowardly lips turned white, and the same eye whose gaze terrifies the world lost its gleam. I heard him groan—yes, I did—and the same tongue that ordered the Romans to obey him and transcribe his speeches in their books cried, “Give me some water, Titinius,” like a sick girl. It astounds me that such a weak man could beat the whole world and carry the trophy of victory alone.
Shout within. Flourish
A shout offstage. Trumpets play.


    Another general shout!
I do believe that these applauses are
135For some new honors that are heaped on Caesar.


More shouting! I think this applause is for some new honors awarded to Caesar.


Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
Like a Colossus, and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs and peep about
To find ourselves dishonorable graves.
140Men at some time are masters of their fates.
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.
Brutus and Caesar—what should be in that “Caesar”?
Why should that name be sounded more than yours?
145Write them together, yours is as fair a name.
Sound them, it doth become the mouth as well.
Weigh them, it is as heavy. Conjure with 'em,


Why, Caesar straddles the narrow world like a giant, and we petty men walk under his huge legs and look forward only to dying dishonorably, as slaves. Men can be masters of their fate. It is not destiny’s fault, but our own faults, that we’re slaves. “Brutus” and “Caesar.” What’s so special about “Caesar”? Why should that name be proclaimed more than yours? Write them together—yours is just as good a name. Pronounce them—it is just as nice to say. Weigh them—it’s just as heavy.