Julius Caesar

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

160Indeed he is not fit.
Indeed, he’s not right for this.
Shall no man else be touched but only Caesar?
But should we only go after Caesar? No one else?
Decius, well urged. I think it is not meet
Mark Antony, so well beloved of Caesar,
Should outlive Caesar. We shall find of him
165A shrewd contriver. And, you know, his means,
If he improve them, may well stretch so far
As to annoy us all; which to prevent,
Let Antony and Caesar fall together.
Good point, Decius. I don’t think it would be wise to let Mark Antony, whom Caesar is so fond of, outlive Caesar. We’d find that he was a dangerous plotter. And as you know, his connections, if he put them to good use, might be enough to hurt us all. To prevent this, Mark Antony should die along with Caesar.
Our course will seem too bloody, Caius Cassius,
170To cut the head off and then hack the limbs,
Like wrath in death and envy afterwards,
For Antony is but a limb of Caesar.
Let us be sacrificers but not butchers, Caius.
We all stand up against the spirit of Caesar,
175And in the spirit of men there is no blood.
Oh, that we then could come by Caesar’s spirit
And not dismember Caesar! But, alas,
Caesar must bleed for it. And, gentle friends,
Let’s kill him boldly but not wrathfully.
180Let’s carve him as a dish fit for the gods,
Not hew him as a carcass fit for hounds.
And let our hearts, as subtle masters do,
Stir up their servants to an act of rage
And after seem to chide 'em. This shall make
185Our purpose necessary and not envious,
Which so appearing to the common eyes,
We shall be called purgers, not murderers.
And for Mark Antony, think not of him,
For he can do no more than Caesar’s arm
190When Caesar’s head is off.
Our action will seem too bloody if we cut off Caesar’s head and then hack at his arms and legs too, Caius Cassius—because Mark Antony is merely one of Caesar’s arms. It’ll look like we killed Caesar out of anger and Mark Antony out of envy. Let’s be sacrificers but not butchers, Caius. We’re all against what Caesar stands for, and there’s no blood in that. Oh, how I wish we could oppose Caesar’s spirit—his overblown ambition—and not hack up Caesar himself! But, unfortunately, Caesar has to bleed if we’re going to stop him. Noble friends, let’s kill him boldly but not with anger. Let’s carve him up like a dish fit for the gods, not chop him up like a carcass fit for dogs. Let’s be angry only long enough to do the deed, and then let’s act like we’re disgusted by what we had to do. This will make our actions seem practical and not vengeful. If we appear calm to the people, they’ll call us surgeons rather than murderers. As for Mark Antony—forget him. He’ll be as useless as Caesar’s arm after Caesar’s head is cut off.