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Julius Caesar

Julius Caesar


by William Shakespeare

Julius Caesar Act 5, Scene 5 Summary

  • Elsewhere in the field, Brutus stops and asks his remaining friends to rest on a rock.
  • He calls Clitus aside and asks him to do something in a whisper. Clitus declines to do the mystery deed, saying he'd rather kill himself.
  • The process is repeated with Dardanius. The two men, Clitus and Dardanius, reveal to each other that Brutus has asked them to kill him.
  • They share the news while Brutus tears up a little bit.
  • Brutus calls Volumnius over now and tells him that Caesar's ghost has appeared to him twice, once at night and once again in the fields of Philippi. Brutus knows his hour has come and he would rather leap into the pit than loiter around and wait for his enemies to push him in.
  • He asks Volumnius to kill him, since they were old friends from school. Volumnius points out that this is the very reason he can't do it.
  • Just then the alarums (call to arms) are sounding, so Clitus urges everyone to get away before the enemy arrives.
  • Brutus speaks to his men valiantly. He says that even though he has lost to Antony and Octavius, he will find more glory in this day than either of them can hope to achieve through their vile conquest of Rome. As the alarums continue to sound out, Brutus tells everyone to flee and promises to follow after everyone else has left.
  • The only man left with Brutus now is Strato, who's slept through all the speeches and sadness. Strato has woken up just in time to be asked to hold Brutus's sword while he runs into it. Strato thinks this is a good idea and asks only to shake hands with Brutus before doing the deed.
  • Brutus' final words assure that what he does now is twice as pure as what he did to Caesar, who is avenged by this act: "Caesar, now be still, I kill'd not thee with half so good a will."
  • Antony, Octavius, and their armies, along with the captive Lucilius and Messala, now approach the site of Brutus's death.
  • Messala asks Strato where their master is, and Strato says that Brutus is free.
  • Only Brutus overcame Brutus, Strato says, and Brutus himself is the only one who gained honor in his death.
  • There's a bit of a conference, and Octavius will entertain all the men who nobly served Brutus.
  • Brutus's enemies are a lot friendlier to him now that he's dead. Antony declares Brutus the "noblest Roman" of them all, as he alone among the conspirators killed Caesar not out of envy but out of concern and care for the public good.
  • Octavius says Brutus will be buried as an honorable soldier, and his body will stay in Octavius's tent for the night.
  • After that, they agree it's time to celebrate and share "the glories of this happy day."
  • (If you want to know what happens to Antony, read Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra.)

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