Can a bond man like Pindarus be a loyal man to Cassius? did he kill Cassius reluctantly?W Turner, SB Davidson and many other modern English translators have tried to impress us [see explanatory...

Can a bond man like Pindarus be a loyal man to Cassius? did he kill Cassius reluctantly?

W Turner, SB Davidson and many other modern English translators have tried to impress us [see explanatory notes given for  lines 47-50 of Act V sc III] that Pindarus was reluctant to kill Cassius as he had no other option being a bondman.

My contention

1.Pindarus was a Parthian not a Roman.  He was taken a prisioner at a war with the Parthians and Cassius made him his slave.  Many translators and historians have mentioned that Pindarus was treated worse than a dog.

3. Pindarus having been a bondman of Cassius for many years knows his weaknesses well.  The main weakness of Cassius is that he gets depressed too quickly and presents suicidal tendencies this had been highlighted by shakespeare in almost all of the Acts . [a] Act III sc I he presents suicidal tendencies at lines 94-96 while engaged in a dialogue with Brutus.  [b]Act I Sc III he presents suicidal tendency when he hears that Caesar is going to be crowned the next day through Casca [c] Act III Sc I he presents suicidal tendency when a senator casually wishes that his enterprise may be successful [d] in the Act IV sc III he presents this while he pulls out his dagger and offers his heart to Brutus. [e]Cassius presents suicidal tendencies in front of Titinius in the Act V.

Pindarus takes advantage of this and keeps feeding wrong information form over a hill and ultimately succeeds in driving him to commit a suicide.

in the light of the above should we revise out opinion?

2 Answers

mshurn's profile pic

Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Cassius did make several references to killing himself, but I don't think he was suicidal. I think he was dramatic and manipulative! The offer or the declaration of taking his own life was a way to emphasize his feelings very dramatically and/or to make himself appear very noble. Cassius was far too self-serving, self-loving, and ambitious to kill himself as events unfolded. Later, before the final battle, Cassius declares that he is "fresh of spirit and resolved to meet all perils very constantly." When he does commit suicide, he does so only to avoid the humiliation of being defeated and captured after losing the battle. Cassius knows what happens to those leaders defeated in battle. He asks Brutus this before the fighting begins:

Then, if we lose this battle,

You are contented to be led in triumph

Through the streets of Rome?

Brutus will not allow this to happen to him and neither will Cassius.

I don't think Pindarus deliberately brings Cassius false information during that final battle. He merely misinterprets what he sees, which adds another layer of irony to the play. Also, he shows no anger or resentment toward Cassius. In fact, it seems he did not want to take his master's life. After stabbing him to death, Pindarus says:

So, I am free, yet would not so have been,

Durst I have done my will. O Cassius!

If Pindarus had been free to exercise his own will, he would not have killed Cassius, but he was obligated to follow Cassius' order. In "O Cassius!" he seems to be expressing his grief that Cassius is dead.

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impeccable's profile pic

impeccable | College Teacher | (Level 1) Honors

Posted on


1.Brutus had to request four to help him commit suicide but Pindarus readily complied without any emotional Laments.

2. Yet means but and but calls for reasoning or conditional, what was that.  DURST means dare not, do not, does not refer JB Sykes edited oxford concise dictionary seventh edition page 241.  Take the word HAVE DONE as a phrase and see meaning under word DONE at page 286 of the same dictionary and the meaning is CEASED OR STOPPED.  Meaning of the word WILL is PURPOSE OF DOING.  What purpose is Pindarus referring to?

3. Take the segment of the dialogue "WOULD NOT SO HAVE BEEN, DURST I HAVE DONE MY WILL"  and according to the modern English it is conditional to be read as "I would not so have been[i.e.Free] If I had dared not and stopped the purpose of my doing" [i.e. telling lies to depress Cassius and drive him to suicide.

4."Far from this country Pindarus shall run,

where never Roman shall take note of him".  There is a feeling of guilt lurking in the heart of Pindarus while reading these lines what is that guilt or fear?  Why is he running away from the Romans and had not stayed back to mourn and deliver reasoning to Romans if his act was not with a malicius intent?

Welfare and loyalty are insuperable siamese twins and in the absence of the former do not expect the later to persist.  An illtreated man is never loyal to you this is a universal truth.


For your opinion please.