Discuss Cassius's speech in Act I, Scene 3 from William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.

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carol-davis | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Cassius's Speech

In Cassius's main speech, Cassius tells Casca that he is not as sharp as he should be. The omens that come forth--the fires, the beasts, the ghosts--they are indicative of the man who, like this night with open graves and roaring lions in the Capitol, is no better or stronger than Cassius or Casca.  However, he is so hugely empowered that he has become a person to fear, just as these portents are to be feared.

Setting

This scene begins with a stormy menacing night.  Cassius meets Casca in the streets.  Casca mentions the night. To prove himself unafraid of the gods or any omen, Cassius opened up his clothes and dared the gods to strike him with thunder or lightning. 

Casca, as you see,
Have bared my bosom to the thunder-stone;
And when the cross blue lightning seem'd to open
The breast of heaven, I did present myself
Even in the aim and very flash of it.

Sarcastically, Cassius states that Caesar is the aggressor only because Rome has allowed him to be one.  Romans are like deer or sheep.  Romans are trash and garbage if they allow Caesar to be raised to this high position. Here is a paraphrase of his lines in Act I, scene iii:

  • Paraphrase: But am I speaking to someone who does not mind being a slave? Casca give me your answer.  I am armed and will kill you if need be. (I.iii)

Caesar's Rome

He goes on to say that the spirit that was alive in Rome during their fathers' time is gone and the leaders in Rome have become "womanish."

Casca agrees to become part of Cassius's plot.  The two men head toward Pompey's porch to meet with the  other conspirators to finalize their plans for the Ides of March.

This is the true character of Cassius. A man who is willing to do anything to rid himself of the like of Caesar.

Sources:

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