Julius Caesar Principles Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Act.Scene.Line). Line numbers correspond to the Riverside edition.
Well, honor is the subject of my story.
I cannot tell what you and other men
Think of this life; but, for my single self,
I had as lief not be as live to be
In awe of such a thing as I myself. (1.2.99-103)
Cassius uses the veil of honor to mask his own ambition. His pride will not allow him to be led by a peer. His pride is wounded by the fact that Caesar, whom Cassius sees as no more worthy than him, has assumed the leadership of Rome.
Ay, and that tongue of his that bade the Romans
Mark him and write his speeches in their books,
'Alas,' it cried, 'Give me some drink, Titinius'
As a sick girl. You gods, it doth amaze me
A man of such a feeble temper should
So get the start of the majestic world
And bear the palm alone. (1.2.132-138)
Part of what bothers Cassius about Caesar isn't ambition; it's the sheer gall of Caesar wanting to be immortalized.
Till then, my noble friend, chew upon this:
Brutus had rather be a villager
Than to repute himself a son of Rome
Under these hard conditions as this time
Is like to lay upon us. (1.2.180-184)
Brutus's honor gets the better of him here – or does it? Does this mean he'd rather not deal with the whole mess, or that he'd never be a villager and won't stand by and let Caesar take Rome?