Table of Contents
ACT 2 SCENE 2
Julius Caesar Act 2 Scene 2 Summary
Caesar remarks on the stormy night and his wife’s bad dreams. He requests that the priests perform an animal sacrifice in order to discover what the future holds for him. Calpurnia appears and begs Caesar not to go to the Senate that day because she believes he would be in danger due to a horrible dream. Caesar insists on being fearless. The priests report finding no heart in the sacrificial animal, which Caesar interprets as the gods chastising any possible cowardice. Nonetheless, Calpurnia demands that he stay at home, and Caesar complies, sending Mark Antony to explain his illness to the Senate. When Decius Brutus arrives, Caesar orders him to inform the rest of the senators that he would not be there that day merely because he does not want to. However, Decius forewarns Caesar that the senators would mock him and presents a more favourable interpretation of Calpurnia’s dream. Caesar agrees to go to the Capitol, and several conspirators, along with Mark Antony, arrive to accompany him. Before they go, Caesar invites them in for a glass of wine.
Julius Caesar Act 2 Scene 2 translation
|Original Text||Modern Text|
|[Thunder and lightning. Enter CAESAR, in his night-gown]|
CAESAR: Nor heaven nor earth have been at peace to-night:
Thrice hath Calpurnia in her sleep cried out,
‘Help, ho! they murder Caesar!’ Who’s within?
Enter a Servant
SERVANT: My lord?
CAESAR: Go bid the priests do present sacrifice
And bring me their opinions of success.
SERVANT: I will, my lord.
CALPURNIA: What mean you, Caesar? think you to walk forth?
You shall not stir out of your house to-day.
CAESAR: Caesar shall forth: the things that threaten’d me
Ne’er look’d but on my back; when they shall see
The face of Caesar, they are vanished.
CALPURNIA: Caesar, I never stood on ceremonies,
Yet now they fright me. There is one within,
Besides the things that we have heard and seen,
Recounts most horrid sights seen by the watch.
A lioness hath whelped in the streets;
And graves have yawn’d, and yielded up their dead;
Fierce fiery warriors fought upon the clouds,
In ranks and squadrons and right form of war,
Which drizzled blood upon the Capitol;
The noise of battle hurtled in the air,
Horses did neigh, and dying men did groan,
And ghosts did shriek and squeal about the streets.
O Caesar! these things are beyond all use,
And I do fear them.
CAESAR: What can be avoided
Whose end is purposed by the mighty gods?
Yet Caesar shall go forth; for these predictions
Are to the world in general as to Caesar.
CALPURNIA: When beggars die, there are no comets seen;
The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes.
CAESAR: Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard.
It seems to me most strange that men should fear;
Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come.
What say the augurers?
SERVANT: They would not have you to stir forth to-day.
Plucking the entrails of an offering forth,
They could not find a heart within the beast.
CAESAR: The gods do this in shame of cowardice:
Caesar should be a beast without a heart,
If he should stay at home to-day for fear.
No, Caesar shall not: danger knows full well
That Caesar is more dangerous than he:
We are two lions litter’d in one day,
And I the elder and more terrible:
And Caesar shall go forth.
CALPURNIA: Alas, my lord,
Your wisdom is consumed in confidence.
Do not go forth to-day: call it my fear
That keeps you in the house, and not your own.
We’ll send Mark Antony to the senate-house:
And he shall say you are not well to-day:
Let me, upon my knee, prevail in this.
CAESAR: Mark Antony shall say I am not well,
And, for thy humour, I will stay at home.
[Enter DECIUS BRUTUS]
Here’s Decius Brutus, he shall tell them so.
DECIUS BRUTUS: Caesar, all hail! good morrow, worthy Caesar:
I come to fetch you to the senate-house.
CAESAR: And you are come in very happy time,
To bear my greeting to the senators
And tell them that I will not come to-day:
Cannot, is false, and that I dare not, falser:
I will not come to-day: tell them so, Decius.
CALPURNIA: Say he is sick.
CAESAR: Shall Caesar send a lie?
Have I in conquest stretch’d mine arm so far,
To be afraid to tell graybeards the truth?
Decius, go tell them Caesar will not come.
DECIUS BRUTUS: Most mighty Caesar, let me know some cause,
Lest I be laugh’d at when I tell them so.
CAESAR: The cause is in my will: I will not come;
That is enough to satisfy the senate.
But for your private satisfaction,
Because I love you, I will let you know:
Calpurnia here, my wife, stays me at home:
She dreamt to-night she saw my statua,
Which, like a fountain with an hundred spouts,
Did run pure blood: and many lusty Romans
Came smiling, and did bathe their hands in it:
And these does she apply for warnings, and portents,
And evils imminent; and on her knee
Hath begg’d that I will stay at home to-day.
DECIUS BRUTUS: This dream is all amiss interpreted;
It was a vision fair and fortunate:
Your statue spouting blood in many pipes,
In which so many smiling Romans bathed,
Signifies that from you great Rome shall suck
Reviving blood, and that great men shall press
For tinctures, stains, relics and cognizance.
This by Calpurnia’s dream is signified.
CAESAR: And this way have you well expounded it.
DECIUS BRUTUS: I have, when you have heard what I can say:
And know it now: the senate have concluded
To give this day a crown to mighty Caesar.
If you shall send them word you will not come,
Their minds may change. Besides, it were a mock
Apt to be render’d, for some one to say
‘Break up the senate till another time,
When Caesar’s wife shall meet with better dreams.’
If Caesar hide himself, shall they not whisper
‘Lo, Caesar is afraid’?
Pardon me, Caesar; for my dear dear love
To our proceeding bids me tell you this;
And reason to my love is liable.
CAESAR: How foolish do your fears seem now, Calpurnia!
I am ashamed I did yield to them.
Give me my robe, for I will go.
[Enter PUBLIUS, BRUTUS, LIGARIUS, METELLUS, CASCA,
TREBONIUS, and CINNA]
And look where Publius is come to fetch me.
PUBLIUS: Good morrow, Caesar.
CAESAR: Welcome, Publius.
What, Brutus, are you stirr’d so early too?
Good morrow, Casca. Caius Ligarius,
Caesar was ne’er so much your enemy
As that same ague which hath made you lean.
What is ‘t o’clock?
BRUTUS: Caesar, ’tis strucken eight.
CAESAR: I thank you for your pains and courtesy.
See! Antony, that revels long o’ nights,
Is notwithstanding up. Good morrow, Antony.
ANTONY: So to most noble Caesar.
CAESAR: Bid them prepare within:
I am to blame to be thus waited for.
Now, Cinna. now, Metellus. what, Trebonius!
I have an hour’s talk in store for you;
Remember that you call on me to-day:
Be near me, that I may remember you.
TREBONIUS: Caesar, I will:
and so near will I be,
That your best friends shall wish I had been further.
CAESAR: Good friends, go in, and taste some wine with me;
And we, like friends, will straightway go together.
BRUTUS: [Aside] That every like is not the same, O Caesar,
The heart of Brutus yearns to think upon!
|[Thunder and lightning. Enter CAESAR, in his night-gown]|
CAESAR: Neither heaven nor earth has been at peace tonight. Three times now Calpurnia has cried out in her sleep, “Help, ho! They’re murdering Caesar!” Who’s in there?
[Enter a Servant]
SERVANT: My lord?
CAESAR: Go tell the priests to perform a sacrifice And bring me their opinions on its success.
SERVANT: I will, my lord.
CALPURNIA: What are you thinking, Caesar? Do you intend to go out? You must not leave your house today.
CAESAR: Caesar will go out. The things that threaten me Have only looked upon my back. When they see Caesar’s face, they will vanish.
CALPURNIA: Caesar, I have never been one for superstitions, But now they terrify me. Besides the things we’ve heard and seen, There’s one inside who tells of horrible sights witnessed by the watch. A lioness has given birth in the streets, Graves have opened, and the dead have risen, Fierce, fiery warriors have fought in the clouds, Raining blood down upon the Capitol. The sound of battle echoed in the air, Horses neighed, dying men groaned, And ghosts shrieked and squealed in the streets. Oh, Caesar! These things go beyond all reason, And I am afraid.
CAESAR: What can be avoided When the mighty gods have already decided its end? Yet Caesar will go out, for these prophecies Apply to the world at large, not just to Caesar.
CALPURNIA: When beggars die, there are no comets in the sky. The heavens themselves announce the death of princes.
CAESAR: Cowards die many times before their actual deaths; The brave experience death only once. Of all the wonders I’ve heard of so far, It seems most strange to me that men should fear death, Considering that death, a necessary end, Will come when it comes.
What do the augurs say?
SERVANT: They advise you not to go out today. After examining the entrails of a sacrificed animal, They could not find a heart within the beast.
CAESAR: The gods do this out of shame for cowardice: Caesar should be a heartless creature, If he were to stay home today out of fear. No, Caesar will not do that. Danger knows very well That Caesar is more dangerous than it is: We are like two lions born on the same day, And I am the older and more terrifying one. And Caesar will go out.
CALPURNIA: Oh, my lord, Your wisdom is overwhelmed by overconfidence. Don’t go out today. Call it my fear That keeps you at home, not your own. We’ll send Mark Antony to the Senate House. He’ll say you’re not feeling well today. Let me, on my knees, persuade you in this.
CAESAR: Mark Antony will say I’m not well, And, for your sake, I’ll stay at home.
[Enter DECIUS BRUTUS]
Here’s Decius Brutus; he will tell them so.
DECIUS BRUTUS: Caesar, all hail! Good morning, honorable Caesar. I’ve come to take you to the Senate House.
CAESAR: And you’ve arrived at a very fortunate moment, To convey my greetings to the senators And tell them that I won’t come today. “Cannot” is false, and “dare not” is even more false. I simply won’t come today. Tell them that, Decius.
CALPURNIA: Say that he’s ill.
CAESAR: Shall Caesar send a lie? Have I extended my reach so far through conquest, Only to be afraid of telling the truth to old men? Decius, go and tell them that Caesar won’t come.
DECIUS BRUTUS: Most mighty Caesar, let me know the reason, Or else I’ll be laughed at when I tell them.
CAESAR: The reason lies in my will. I won’t come. That’s enough to satisfy the Senate. But for your personal satisfaction, Because I love you, I’ll tell you why. My wife Calpurnia here wants me to stay home. She dreamt last night that she saw my statue, Which, like a fountain with a hundred spouts, Gushed forth pure blood. Many strong Romans Came smiling and dipped their hands in it. She interprets this as a warning, an omen, And an impending disaster. On her knees, She begged me to stay home today.
DECIUS BRUTUS: This dream has been wrongly interpreted; It was a favorable and fortunate vision. Your statue spouting blood from many pipes, With so many joyful Romans bathing in it, Signifies that great Rome will draw new life from you, And great men will seek your blessings, Symbols, honors, and emblems. This is what Calpurnia’s dream signifies.
CAESAR: You’ve explained it well in this way.
DECIUS BRUTUS: I have, and when you’ve heard what else I have to say, You’ll know it better. The Senate has decided To crown mighty Caesar today. If you send them word that you won’t come, They may change their minds. Besides, it would be a jest To be rendered when someone says, “Adjourn the Senate until another time, When Caesar’s wife has better dreams.” If Caesar hides himself, won’t they whisper, “See, Caesar is afraid”? Forgive me, Caesar, for my deep, deep love For our cause compels me to tell you this, And my reason supports my love.
CAESAR: Calpurnia, how foolish your fears seem now! I’m ashamed that I gave in to them. Give me my robe, for I will go.
[Enter PUBLIUS, BRUTUS, LIGARIUS, METELLUS, CASCA, TREBONIUS, and CINNA]
And here comes Publius to fetch me.
PUBLIUS: Good morning, Caesar.
CAESAR: Welcome, Publius. Brutus, are you awake so early too? Good morning, Casca. Caius Ligarius, You’ve never been as much an enemy to Caesar As that same fever that has made you thin. What time is it?
BRUTUS: Caesar, it’s eight o’clock.
CAESAR: Thank you for your trouble and courtesy.
Look! Antony, who carouses late at night, Is up nonetheless. Good morning, Antony.
ANTONY: And to the most noble Caesar, good morning.
CAESAR: Tell them to prepare inside. I’m at fault for being made to wait like this. Now, Cinna. Now, Metellus. What about Trebonius? I have an hour’s conversation saved for you. Remember to call on me today. Stay close to me so I can remember you.
TREBONIUS: Caesar, I will do so.
[Aside] And I’ll stay so close That your closest friends will wish I had stayed farther away.
CAESAR: Good friends, go inside and share some wine with me. And we, as friends, will go together.
BRUTUS: [Aside] How different things can appear, O Caesar! The heart of Brutus is heavy thinking about it.
[Exeunt all except BRUTUS]