What does Act II, Scene 1 show about Brutus's character?

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Brutus's soliloquy in Act II, Scene 1 reveals his thoughts on the possibility of assassinating Caesar. He is torn, as Caesar is his friend, and is very popular with the people. But he fears that if Caesar becomes a king, not only will the Republic be destroyed in the process, but Caesar, who has not really done anything terribly wrong thus far, will do so in the future. In particular, he has not shown himself to be a tyrant. If he becomes king, though, he may well become corrupted by power, and for Brutus, that risk is not worth taking. He says that he and the other senators must

...think him as a serpent's egg 
Which hatch'd would as his kind grow mischievous, 
And kill him in the shell.

This is a serious decision, and a turning point in the play. As he grapples with the question of whether or not to join the plot, Brutus is revealed to be a man of principle who has the interests of Rome, rather than his own ambition, at heart. 


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