In the following line spoken by Brutus- "Good words are better than bad strokes , Octavius" , what do "good words" and "bad strokes" indicate?I even read somewhere that by saying this Brutus is...

In the following line spoken by Brutus-

"Good words are better than bad strokes , Octavius" ,

what do "good words" and "bad strokes" indicate?

I even read somewhere that by saying this Brutus is asking for conciliation from Antony and Octavius...that is, asking them to use words for clarification rather than resorting to war...Is this true??

Asked on by itssnigdha

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amy-lepore's profile pic

amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Brutus is a man of thoughts and words rather than action.  This is why is spent such a long, restless night thinking about the conspirators' request before joining their cause.  He considers every angle before moving forward.

This is what he means in the above quote, as well. "good words" are words spoken in an attempt to find some common ground, some understanding, and perhaps even reconciliation since all of these men have been friends and defenders of Rome for many years.  "Bad strokes" refers to taking up arms and swords against one another when the words fail to suffice, or when one party refuses to talk at all.  They do meet and insult one another before the final battle which finds the consipirators all dead in the end.  Perhaps the "bad strokes" could also mean the insults that they threw at Brutus before they began to fight one another...Brutus still believes in what he has done, although he resolve is a bit shaken with the appearance of Caesar's ghost and the the ghost's prophecy of Phillippi.

So, an argument can be made for both reconciliation and for honest words instead of insults--that is the beauty of literature...as long as you can point to evidence in the text for what you think it means, it can't be completely wrong.  However, there is always a "better" or "more likely" answer among the possibles.

Good Luck!

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