Julius Caesar Principles Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Act.Scene.Line). Line numbers correspond to the Riverside edition.
Remember March, the ides of March remember.
Did not great Julius bleed for justice' sake?
What villain touched his body that did stab
And not for justice? What, shall one of us
That struck the foremost man of all this world
But for supporting robbers, shall we now
Contaminate our fingers with base bribes
And sell the mighty space of our large honors
For so much trash as may be graspèd thus?
I had rather be a dog and bay the moon
Than such a Roman. (4.3.19-29)
Brutus isn't politicking here. They've obviously fled the country, so it doesn't matter so much what the Romans think. Instead, this bribery is a question of personal honor. For Brutus, his honor is at stake more than anything else, especially given that he's resigned himself to some sad fate after murdering his friend.
Let's reason with the worst that may befall.
If we do lose this battle, then is this
The very last time we shall speak together.
What are you then determinèd to do?
Even by the rule of that philosophy
By which I did blame Cato for the death
Which he did give himself (I know not how,
But I do find it cowardly and vile,
For fear of what might fall, so to prevent
The time of life), arming myself with patience
To stay the providence of some high powers
That govern us below.
Then, if we lose this battle,
You are contented to be led in triumph
Thorough the streets of Rome?
No, Cassius, no. Think not, thou noble Roman,
That ever Brutus will go bound to Rome.
He bears too great a mind. But this same day
Must end that work the ides of March begun.
And whether we shall meet again, I know not. (5.1.106-125)
Honor trumps everything else here. Though Brutus would not gladly kill himself (as his father-in-law Cato did when faced with defeat), he reneges on his feeling that suicide is cowardly when he faces the alternative. Anything is preferable to the shame and dishonor of returning to Rome in chains. Brutus fought to make Rome free, and so he'll go to his death free rather than return to Rome by force.
Caesar, now be still.
I killed not thee with half so good a will. He dies. (5.5.56-57)
Brutus admits that he killed Caesar willingly, but given everything that's transpired, and everything he now knows, he is doubly resigned to kill himself. This is his honorable acceptance of his own faults, and his fate.