Explain this quote from Julius Casesar: "the things that threaten'd me / Ne'er look'd but on my back; when they shall see / The face of Caesar, they are vanished."

This quote from Julius Casear means that the things that threaten Caesar have only seen his back. But when they see his face, they will vanish. In other words, danger can only look him in the eye. In these bold remarks, Caesar is justifying to his wife Calphurnia his fateful decision to attend a meeting of the Senate on the Ides of March. As it turns out, the enemies who've seen his face won't vanish. Instead, they will kill him.

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Calphurnia has been having terrible nightmares. She interprets them as being ominous for her husband. She's convinced that if Caesar goes to the Senate on the Ides of March, something bad will happen to him.

But Caesar, in true macho Roman fashion, isn't about to listen to his wife's fears. He is dictator of Rome, a man who has faced down challenges from every quarter in his long, illustrious career as a soldier and statesman. It would be absurd in the extreme for such a strong, resolute man to refuse to go to the Senate because his wife has had a bad dream.

So Caesar will go to the Senate as originally planned. He's convinced that danger will only ever look him in the eye. As it turns out, he's only half right. Yes, danger will indeed look him in the eye, in the form of the assassins who will murder him after he steps inside the Senate. But as they brutally kill him, they will also see his back as they'll be plunging their sharp knives into it. His enemies see Caesar's face, yet don't vanish; far from it. It turns out that, contrary to the import of the dictator's brave words, they aren't really scared of him at all.

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