Would he were fatter! But I fear him not.
Yet if my name were liable to fear,
I do not know the man I should avoid
So soon as that spare Cassius. He reads much.
He is a great observer, and he looks
Quite through the deeds of men. He loves no plays,
As thou dost, Antony. He hears no music.
Seldom he smiles, and smiles in such a sort
As if he mocked himself and scorned his spirit
That could be moved to smile at anything.
Such men as he be never at heart’s ease
Whiles they behold a greater than themselves,
And therefore are they very dangerous.
I rather tell thee what is to be feared
Than what I fear, for always I am Caesar. (1.2.198-212)
Here, Caesar is speaking to Antony about why he would fear Cassius. He describes Cassius as a man who rarely smiles, does not enjoy life, and is always observing the hidden motives in others. Caesar continues to describe Cassius as being uncomfortable when someone outranks him and therefore, dangerous with ambition. Caesar’s observations of Cassius reveals details of Cassius’s character.
Thou hast described
A hot friend cooling. Ever note, Lucillius,
When love begins to sicken and decay,
It useth an enforcèd ceremony.
There are no tricks in plain and simple faith.
But hollow men, like horses hot at hand,
Make gallant show and promise of their mettle.
But when they should endure the bloody spur,
They fall their crests and, like deceitful jades,
Sink in the trial. Comes his army on? (4.2.19-28)
In this scene, Brutus is discussing Cassius with Lucillius. Brutus explains that he is beginning to doubt Cassius’s loyalty and intentions and warns Lucillius of Cassius’s change in personality. Brutus even goes on to describe Cassius as deceitful, showing a strong loyal friendship at first, but later becoming unreliable. Even though Brutus ends up making peace with Cassius, this quote reveals how their friendship has weakened.
Now be a free man, and with this good sword
That ran through Caesar’s bowels, search this bosom.
Stand not to answer. Here take thou the hilts
And, when my face is covered, as ’tis now,
Guide thou the sword. . .
Caesar, thou art revenged,
Even with the sword that killed thee. (5.3.44-50)
Here are Cassius’s final words in the play. Cassius orders Pindarus to kill him because Cassius believes he is personally responsible for Titinius’s death. While Cassius thinks he is being honorable and fulfilling his fate, he does not have the courage to kill himself. Instead, he asks Pindarus to do it for him, an action that strongly contrasts with the death of the tragic hero, Brutus. Again, Cassius pales in comparison to Brutus’s true honor.
I know where I will wear this dagger then.
Cassius from bondage will deliver Cassius.
Therein, ye gods, you make the weak most strong.
Therein, ye gods, you tyrants do defeat.
Nor stony tower, nor walls of beaten brass,
Nor airless dungeon, nor strong links of iron
Can be retentive to the strength of spirit.
But life, being weary of these worldly bars,
Never lacks power to dismiss itself.
If I know this, know all the world besides,
That part of tyranny that I do bear
I can shake off at pleasure. (1.3.98-101)
In this scene, Cassius talks to Brutus about the oppression of Caesar’s rule and how he would kill himself before succumbing to this current atmosphere. Through this quote, Cassius speaks on his own character’s ability to free himself from Caesar’s slavery. Cassius is declaring that he is stronger than the tyranny because he can end it at any time by killing himself.
Let me tell you, Cassius, you yourself
Are much condemned to have an itching palm,
To sell and mart your offices for gold
To undeservers. (4.3.9-11)
While Brutus and Cassius argue about their loyalty to one another, Brutus describes how Cassius has been accused of bribery in the past. This fact causes Brutus to worry that Caesar was killed for the wrong reason. Whether this accusation is true or not, this statement by Brutus casts suspicion on Cassius’s character simply because even the rumors of such a crime reveal Cassius as untrustworthy.