How we cite our quotes:
What means this shouting? I do fear the people
Choose Caesar for their king.
Ay, do you fear it?
Then must I think you would not have it so.
I would not, Cassius, yet I love him well. (1.2.7)
This passage is interesting for a couple of reasons. First, even though Brutus says he "love[s]" Caesar "well," he says he also fears that his friend will be crowned king, which goes against the ideals of the Roman Republic. Second, even though Brutus, Cassius, and the fellow conspirators want to eliminate Caesar's threat, it's obvious that the commoners, or plebeians, adore Caesar. When Caesar returns from defeating Pompey's sons in the first act, he's met with a huge celebration and is treated like a rock star.
Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
Like a Colossus, and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs and peep about
To find ourselves dishonourable graves. (1.2.10)
As Cassius tries to convince Brutus that Caesar needs to be taken down, he conjures up a vivid image of the Roman leader as a "Colossus" – a giant statue, like the Colossus of Rhodes. The funny thing is, Cassius also likes to go around talking about what a wimp Caesar is. Just a few lines earlier, Cassius tells Brutus the story of how Caesar almost drowned as a young boy and how he once became so ill that he acted like a "sick girl." So what's the deal with all of these competing images of Caesar in the play? Is he really an all-powerful figure, or is he made out to be a bigger threat than he really is?
Let me have men about me that are fat,
Sleek-headed men, and such as sleep o' nights:
Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look;
He thinks too much; such men are dangerous. (1.2.1)
Caesar makes light of his desire to be surrounded by fat and complacent yes-men, yet he realizes this is necessary to the safety of his power. What does this suggest about his leadership style and ideas about how Rome should be governed?