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In Julius Caesar, what does the quote "Et tu, Brute?-- Then fall, Caesar!" mean?

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jojokittycatt | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 5, 2007 at 5:43 AM via web

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In Julius Caesar, what does the quote "Et tu, Brute?-- Then fall, Caesar!" mean?

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alexb2 | eNotes Employee

Posted April 5, 2007 at 6:31 AM (Answer #1)

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The literal translation is: Even you, Brutus? Basically, it is the ultimate betrayal by one's closest friend. This scene, in which the conspirators in the Senate assassinate Caesar, comes after the audience has just witnessed the arrogance and hubris of Caesar, who compares himself to the gods. Brutus, a friend of Caesar who loves Rome more, has joined the conspirators in the assassination, a betrayal which is captured by the three words above.

Then Fall, Caesar means that he will fall both as a man and also as the ruler of Rome.

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Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted April 5, 2007 at 10:57 PM (Answer #3)

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I would also add that the French familiar "tu" rather than the formal "vous" underscores Brutus' treachery. A king has few confidants and to be betrayed by one whom has been granted that rare trust is perhaps more brutual to Caesar than the physical cut.

Sources:

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minilil | Student | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted September 27, 2012 at 3:06 PM (Answer #15)

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this quotation is filled with dramatic significance and shows that caesar had realized that there must be a strong reason that Brutus who is the most honourable man of Rome and his best friend has stabbed him

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kimgoad | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted October 10, 2012 at 1:29 PM (Answer #16)

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it means "and you Brutus" and Caesar fall means that he died

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maria-vivanco | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted January 17, 2014 at 2:45 PM (Answer #17)

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The literal meaning is "and you Brutus, then Caesar fall." Caesar had always trusted Brutus and loved him and they were best friends. The last person that Caesar would've thought that would betray him would be Brutus. Seeing his best friend stab him, he said he would rather die than live to know that Brutus had betrayed him. He has no one left to trust.

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Jyotsana | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted March 13, 2014 at 4:00 PM (Answer #18)

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It means You too Brutus and when its says Then fall Caesar means he died.

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nicole8923 | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted May 23, 2014 at 1:22 AM (Answer #19)

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This quote was spoken by Julius Caesar as his last words in the play Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare. It basically means "you too Brutus?" He says this because Brutus was his friend and yet he decided to turn on him and stab him, causing him to die. 

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udonbutterfly | TA , College Freshman | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted August 15, 2014 at 6:23 AM (Answer #20)

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While reading my textbook I saw on the side the text that it translated into "You too, Brutus?." Caesar feels so betrayed that he questions it a little even though Brutus is the one who has blatantly took his life. This showed how utterly betrayed he feels by Brutus. Brutus was such a close friend and he turned out to be one of the conspirators in plotting Caesar's death.

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sameciaj | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 5, 2007 at 9:09 AM (Answer #2)

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You too, Brutus!

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cheryl2990 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted April 6, 2007 at 6:09 AM (Answer #4)

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One response mentioned the word "hubris" when describing Caesar - which I believe is very accurate. Caesar has over-reached his place in the universe and he must "fall," as he admits in the end. Early in the play, Cassius/Casca & co. describe how the universe has been thrown out of balance (with owls screeching in mid-day, storms raining fire, etc.) and Cassius offers Caesar's ambition as the reason. Elizabethans (Shakespeare's time) subscribed to the Great Chain of Being, or Natural Order of the universe, in which everything has its proper place in a chain linking the lowest creatures to God. Should one link try to skip it's place (such as a General seizing a throne, as is the case with Caesar) the entire Natural Order would be disrupted. Cassius believes that only Caesar's death will restore order - which is why he doesn't fear the storm. Caesar's line "Then fall Caesar" brings with it a deeper interpretation with this in mind. Caesar, himself, could possibly be admitting that he had reached too far to maintain a firm hold. Shakespeare loves to play with the tragic flaws within humankind. Caesar's fate was not determined by the stars - but by himself.

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shadowsbogeyman | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted May 11, 2007 at 3:34 PM (Answer #5)

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Caesar was surprised and even astonished by Brutus' betrayal. He felt more strong and confident when others stabbed him, but when someone like Brutus ,who was so close to his heart , acted against him, Caesar couldn't bear it. he feels that there is no more use in bening alive and let himslef fall prey to his murderers..

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maohiwahine | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 24, 2007 at 6:06 AM (Answer #6)

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Et tu, Brute means, "and you, brutus" in Latin

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kiki7574 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 7, 2009 at 1:17 AM (Answer #8)

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I am currently reading Julius Caesar, and Caesar said this because Brutus was Caesar's best friend, basically is righthand man. And when Caesar entered the courtyard before his crowning as King of Rome, 22 people jumped at him and stabbed him over and over. Brutus backed away slowly, then stabbed him. And Caesar said, "Et tu Brute?" Meaning you too Brutus? You betray me too? He didn't think even his best friend would, literally, stab him in the back. So thats what that quote mean.s Hope that helped! :)

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pramodbankhele | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted April 3, 2012 at 2:39 AM (Answer #9)

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"Brutus you too?Then Caesar must die"

It will be most factual and emotionally nearer of original one in simple English

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jaraz2 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 23, 2012 at 10:41 PM (Answer #10)

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Like said in many of the answers it literally means, "Brutus you too?" Expressing his disbelief of his close friend take part in stabbing him. "Than fall, Caesar!" Basically this shows that he is recognizing his own defeat as his realization that even his best friend is stabbing him, confirms that he must die. So really, he accepts his death.

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mancirat21 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted May 27, 2012 at 7:27 AM (Answer #11)

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''et tu Brute''. Since Burtus was the best friend of ceasar so when he saw that Brutus is among one of the conspirators who stabbed him,he said, 'you too Brute',you are also involved in my assassination, you betrayed me whom i trust the most so i should rather die.

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xdreamer | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted May 29, 2012 at 9:59 AM (Answer #12)

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Casca stabbed Caesar first, then the rest of the liberators/conpirators followed. Caesar was still fighting for his life, and when he saw his beloved Brutus among them, he stopped fighting, and the great Caesar fell. 

 

 

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agkuo2000 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted June 14, 2012 at 2:05 AM (Answer #13)

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It literally means, You too, brutus?,

Brutus was a noble roman, and was Ceasar's close friend.

As Antony says later, this was the most unkind cut of all.

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darshika25 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Honors

Posted September 7, 2012 at 8:29 PM (Answer #14)

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Before Caesar dies this is the last word tht he addresses to Brutus...he was betrayed as his best friend whom he loves dearly forms part of the conspiracy.It was Brutus who stabbed him the last.

If we analyse the play in some aspect,it is not the dagger with which the conspirators stabbed him killed Caesar, but the betrayal of Brutus. Caesar loved him and trusted him very much. However for Brutus he loved his country the most thus he is known as the noblest roman of all.

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