Julius Caesar

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 2 Scene 1

page Act 2 Scene 1 Page 9

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CASSIUS

    Yet I fear him.
For in the engrafted love he bears to Caesar—

CASSIUS

But I’m still afraid of him, because the deep-rooted love he has for Caesar—

BRUTUS

Alas, good Cassius, do not think of him.
If he love Caesar, all that he can do
Is to himself: take thought and die for Caesar.
195And that were much he should, for he is given
To sports, to wildness and much company.

BRUTUS

Alas, good Cassius, don’t think about him. If he loves Caesar, then he can only hurt himself—by grieving and dying for Caesar. And I’d be surprised if he even did that, for he prefers sports, fun, and friends.

TREBONIUS

There is no fear in him. Let him not die,
For he will live and laugh at this hereafter.

TREBONIUS

There’s nothing to fear in him. Let’s not kill him. He’ll live and laugh at this afterward.
Clock strikes
A clock strikes.

BRUTUS

Peace! Count the clock.

BRUTUS

Quiet! Count how many times the clock chimes.

CASSIUS

200The clock hath stricken three.

CASSIUS

The clock struck three.

TREBONIUS

'Tis time to part.

TREBONIUS

It’s time to leave.

CASSIUS

    But it is doubtful yet
Whether Caesar will come forth today or no.
For he is superstitious grown of late,
Quite from the main opinion he held once
205Of fantasy, of dreams and ceremonies.
It may be, these apparent prodigies,
The unaccustomed terror of this night,
And the persuasion of his augurers
May hold him from the Capitol today.

CASSIUS

But we still don’t know whether Caesar will go out in public today or not, because he’s become superstitious lately, a complete turnaround from when he used to have such a bad opinion of fortune-tellers, dream interpreters, and ritual mumbo-jumbo. It might happen that these strange signs, the unusual terror of this night, and the urgings of his fortune-tellers will keep him away from the Capitol today.

DECIUS

210Never fear that. If he be so resolved,
I can o'ersway him. For he loves to hear
That unicorns may be betrayed with trees,
And bears with glasses, elephants with holes,
Lions with toils, and men with flatterers.
215But when I tell him he hates flatterers,
He says he does, being then most flatterèd.
Let me work.
For I can give his humor the true bent,
And I will bring him to the Capitol.

DECIUS

Don’t worry about that. If he’s reluctant, I can convince him. He loves to hear me tell him how men can be snared by flatterers, just like unicorns can be captured in trees, elephants in holes, and lions with nets. When I tell him he hates flatterers, he agrees, just at the moment when I’m flattering him the most.
Let me work on him. I can put him in the right mood, and I’ll bring him to the Capitol.