Julius Caesar Principles Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Act.Scene.Line). Line numbers correspond to the Riverside edition.
O, he sits high in all the people's hearts,
And that which would appear offense in us
His countenance, like richest alchemy,
Will change to virtue and to worthiness. (1.3.162-165)
Honorable men have incredible power; they can make any enterprise (even a dirty one) seem noble by attaching their name to it. On the flip side, they've got to be responsible and discerning about what causes they choose to support, because people trust them to make the right decisions.
Sham'st thou to show thy dang'rous brow by night,
When evils are most free? O, then, by day
Where wilt thou find a cavern dark enough
To mask thy monstrous visage? Seek none,
Hide it in smiles and affability;
For if thou path, thy native semblance on,
Not Erebus itself were dim enough
To hide thee from prevention. (2.1.84-93)
Brutus senses that these dishonorable means can't be justified, even by an honorable cause. He can tell from early on that the shadow hanging over Caesar's murder will stretch far beyond the act itself. Even if the murder didn't end up causing civil war, it would have still cost Brutus, in his own mind, some degree of his personal honor.
Yes, every man of them, and no man here
But honors you, and every one doth wish
You had but that opinion of yourself
Which every noble Roman bears of you. (2.1.98-101)
What does it mean to be honored by dishonorable men, or men willing to commit a dishonorable act? Do these men see themselves as honorable, or is self-interest at the heart of their plot?