Julius Caesar

Act II. Scene I.

Act II. Scene I.

How does Brutus rationalize his decision in the his soliloquy in Scene I? Is his reasoning valid? Tell why or why not.

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Brutus is in his garden and has decided that Caesar must be killed. His reasons for reaching this conclusion are that Caesar is abusing his power and that has ascended far too quickly. Lucius, Brutus' servant, brings him a letter (planted by Cassius) he has found in Brutus' private room. The first line of the letter reads, "Brutus, thou sleep'st. Awake, and see thyself" (2.1.46). Brutus interprets the letter as if it were a request from all of Rome to slay Caesar and restore the republic.

Throughout the play, Brutus alone suffers from a lack of sleep. Brutus says that, "Since Cassius first did whet me against Caesar / I have not slept" (2.1.61) He adds to this that his mind, "Like to a little kingdom, suffers then / The nature of an insurrection" (2.1.68-9). His insomnia represents an internal struggle over whether to betray his friend or act in what he believes to be the best interests of Rome. His personal struggle is a microcosm for the civil war that eventually occurs.