In the play "Julius Caesar" by William Shakespeare, how does Decius persuade Caesar to attend the Senate?Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In act II, Scene 2, on the morning of the Ides of March, Calpurnia awakens her husband Caesar with her cry, "They murder Caesar!"  Superstitious, Caear has the priest to make a sacrifice and send back their opinions of its success. Calpurnia begs Caesar to remain home, but he tells her he is not afraid. Insistent, Calpurnia tells Caesar of her dream in which a lionness has given birth in the streets, graves have opened, and ghosts have screamed in the streets.  Afraid of these terrible omens, Calpurnia wants her husband to not go to the forum.  However, he tells her,

Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,(35)
It seems to me most strange that men should fear
Seeing that death, a necessary end,

and, although he is superstitious, Caesar also is fatalistic.  Meanwhile, the servant returns with the message from the priests; because they could not find a heart in the offering, they urge Caesar to remain home.  Nevertheless, Caesr refuses, declaring himself the more terrible of the lions.  But, Calpurnia will not be dissuaded and insists that Marc Antony be sent to the Senate to say that Caesar is not well.  At this point, Decius enters, saying that he has come to bring him to the Senate House; Caesar tells Decius to tell the senators that he is not coming. 

When Decius asks for a reason, Caesar tells him that Calpurnia is worried because of a dream she has had that has Caesar's statue spouting blood.  Then, Decius reinterprets the dream convincingly enough to give Caesar confidence.  He says that the statue spouting blood signifies that Rome will get reviving blood and great men will ask for recognition.  Furthermore, Decius appeals to Caesar's pride and desire for power as he tells Caesar that the people intend to give him a crown this day, and if Caesar sends word that he is not coming, the Senate may change their minds. And, besides, it will sound rather ridiculous that Caesar's wife has said to break up the Senate because she has had a bad dream.  This appeal to Caesar's pride to not be ruled by his wife's whims is effective; Caesar says, "How foolish do your fears seem now, Calpurnia!" and tell Decius to get his robe.

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