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Julius Caesar

William Shakespeare

  Act 2 Scene 1

page Act 2 Scene 1 Page 3

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LUCIUS exits.


45The exhalations whizzing in the air
Give so much light that I may read by them.
(opens the letter and reads)
“Brutus, thou sleep’st. Awake, and see thyself.
Shall Rome, etc. Speak, strike, redress!”
50“Brutus, thou sleep’st. Awake.”
Such instigations have been often dropped
Where I have took them up.
—“Shall Rome, etc.” Thus must I piece it out:
“Shall Rome stand under one man’s awe?” What, Rome?
55My ancestors did from the streets of Rome
The Tarquin drive when he was called a king.
—“Speak, strike, redress!” Am I entreated
To speak and strike? O Rome, I make thee promise,
If the redress will follow, thou receivest
60Thy full petition at the hand of Brutus!


The meteors whizzing in the sky are so bright that I can read by them. (he opens the letter and reads) “Brutus, you’re sleeping. Wake up and look at yourself. Is Rome going to … etc. Speak, strike, fix the wrongs!” “Brutus, you’re sleeping. Wake up.” I’ve noticed many such calls to action left where I would find them. “Is Rome going to … etc.” What does this mean? Will Rome submit to one man’s power? My ancestors drove Tarquin from the streets of Rome when he was pronounced a king. “Speak, strike, fix it!” Is this asking me to speak and strike? Oh, Rome, I promise you, if you’re meant to receive justice, you’ll receive it by my hand!
LUCIUS enters.


Sir, March is wasted fifteen days.


Sir, fifteen days of March have gone by.
Knock within
The sound of a knock offstage.


'Tis good. Go to the gate. Somebody knocks.


Good. Go to the gate. Somebody’s knocking.
LUCIUS exits.
Since Cassius first did whet me against Caesar,
I have not slept.
I haven’t slept since Cassius first began to turn me against Caesar.