Act II Scene i

In this Scene:
  • Brutus
  • Cinna
  • Lucius
  • Metellus
  • Cassius
  • Trebonius
  • Decius
  • Portia
  • Casca
  • Caius Ligarius

Brutus cannot sleep, which reveals
that he is starting to fear that Caesar has become too powerful. Lucius then presents a letter to Brutus, which fires him up to join the conspiracy. Soon after, the other conspirators arrive at Brutus's house in order to begin some planning. Brutus reluctantly welcomes all of the shady conspirators into his home. During the plotting, Cassius asks everyone to "Swear their resolution (Act II i 112)," which means to swear an oath. Brutus is taken back by Cassius' statement and immediately explains that this should not be so official if it is for the good of Rome. Cassius backs down along with the other co-conspirators. The conspirators believe they should also assassinate Mark Antony, Caesar's right hand man, but Brutus does not believe that this should take place because he is no threat to them. Trebonius and Cassius do not agree with Brutus, but they still go along with his idea. Portia, being worried and troubled about Brutus, tries to find out what Brutus is planning. She demonstrates her strength to Brutus by stabbing herself in the leg. Portia also goes on about how much she loves him and how she will stand by him as long as she knows what is going on. Brutus is deeply conflicted because he knows that she would do anything to protect him, but he would do anything to protect not only Portia, but Rome as well. This leaves Brutus choosing between Portia or Rome. Brutus decides to leave Portia uninformed in the hope that he can protect her because he does not think she would be able to handle his plans if he were to tell her.
As Brutus talks to Portia, they are interrupted by a knock at the door. An ill-looking Caius Ligarius enters and asks if Brutus has "any exploit worthy the name of honor" (l. 317). The scene ends with Brutus telling Caius of their plans.

Pictures and Explanations
Portia Proceeds to stab herself in the
thigh as a symbol of her dedication to Brutus.
external image woundingthigh.jpg

In this scene, Portia (Diana Rigg) is talking to Brutus (James Mason) because she realizes something is wrong.
She felt the only way to show Brutus her ability to know anything he was hiding, was to stab herself in the thigh.
The wound that Portia gave herself showed him that she can be strong and that she is trustworthy to him.
Portia is a very strong, independent woman and shows these qualities during this scene.

Cassius (left) played by Richard Johnson and Brutus played by James Mason in the 1953 version of Julius Caesar
Cassius (left) played by Richard Johnson and Brutus played by James Mason in the 1953 version of Julius Caesar

Also in this scene, Brutus knows that Caesar will become King. He questions whether or not Caesar will be corrupted by his power; that he will forget and scorn all of his supporters only being blinded with power. He admits to never have seeing Caesar swayed by power in the past but he believes that it may be possible because it has happened to past rulers.


Important Quotes

It must be by his death, and for my part
Caesar must die,
I know no personal cause to spurn at him

I have no personal reason to kill him
But for the general. He would be crowned.
But only for the best interest of the public. He wishes to be crowned
How that might change his nature, there's the question.
Will he change, there’s the question
It is the bright day that brings forth the adder
Evil can come from good, just as poisonous snakes tend to come out into the open on bright sunny days
And that craves wary walking. Crown him that,
And that demands careful walking. Make him king,
And then I grant we put a sting in him
And the I say we stop him
That at his will he may do danger with.
He will put us in danger
Th' abuse of greatness is when it disjoins
They abuse their power when it is given to them
Remorse from power. And, to speak truth of Caesar,
And truthfully,
I have not known when his affections swayed
I have no known when Caesar’s affection influenced his reason
More than his reason. But 'tis a common proof
But it’s a common experience
That lowliness is young ambition's ladder,
That humility is a young ambitious man’s key to the top
Whereto the climber upward turns his face.
Whereas that climber gets towards the top he ignores others.
He then unto the ladder turns his back,
He turns his hack,
Looks in the clouds, scorning the base degrees
Looking in the clouds, scorning those you were his base, those who helped him
By which he did ascend. So Caesar may.
So if he did succeed. Caesar may act like this.
Then, lest he may, prevent. And since the quarrel
If he does, we must prevent it. And since the quarrel
Will bear no color for the thing he is,
Over who he will become,
Fashion it thus: that what he is, augmented,
I must say this: If he is to act

Would run to these and these extremities.
In a way this extreme
And therefore think him as a serpent's egg—
And therefore think him as a serpent's egg—

Which, hatched, would as his kind grow mischievous—
Which means once it has hatched, it becomes dangerous.
And kill him in the shell.
And we must kill him before he breaks out of his shell