In Julius Caesar, Caesar says, "Remember that you call me on today: Be near me, that I may remember you," to which Trybonius replies, "Caesar, I will [aside] and so near will I be, that your best friends shall wish I had been further." What does this exchange mean?

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Caesar is being gracious and condescending with everyone. He obviously has the highest opinion of himself. He knows that when he gets to the Capitol he will be the center of attention. He is delighted to have all these important Romans calling on him to serve as escorts. He does...

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Caesar is being gracious and condescending with everyone. He obviously has the highest opinion of himself. He knows that when he gets to the Capitol he will be the center of attention. He is delighted to have all these important Romans calling on him to serve as escorts. He does wish to talk to Trebonius, but he is such a busy man, not unlike our American President, that he may get so involved with other matters he will forget about Trebonius. So he does what many busy men do in our day: he makes it incumbent on the other person to remember and remind him. This is understandable, but it is also somewhat insulting. Caesar is implying, in effect, that Trebonius is so relatively unimportant that he could easily forget about him. Trebonius might get lost in the crowd Caesar expects to be clamoring for his attention. Trebonius feels stung by Caesar's patronizing and condescending manner, and this only strengthens his desire to take part in the blood-letting that is scheduled to take place when Caesar arrives at the Capitol.

Caesar loves the power and popularity he is enjoying. This is the greatest moment of his illustrious career. He likes being surrounded by flatterers and petitioners. When he tells Trebonius to "be near" him, he is adding to the number of men who will be crowded around him. He may have already told a number of other men to "be near" him, so that he will be sure of having a large retinue. In modern times some men will ask others to call them on the phone just so that their phone will keep ringing all the time, making them look and feel important. Caesar is a cunning man. He knows how to manipulate other men. Unfortunately for him, he thinks everyone holds the same high opinion of him that he has of himself. 

His supreme hubris does not come out until just before he is stabbed to death. He shows his egotism and ambition when he compares himself to the North Star.

I could be well moved, if I were as you;
If I could pray to move, prayers would move me;
But I am constant as the northern star,
Of whose true-fix'd and resting quality
There is no fellow in the firmament.
The skies are painted with unnumber'd sparks;
They are all fire and every one doth shine;
But there's but one in all doth hold his place.
So in the world, 'tis furnish'd well with men,
And men are flesh and blood, and apprehensive;
Yet in the number I do know but one
That unassailable holds on his rank,
Unshaked of motion; and that I am he,
Let me a little show it, even in this;
That I was constant Cimber should be banish'd,
And constant do remain to keep him so.    
Act 3, Scene 1

Right after this speech he is encircled and stabbed to death.

 

 

 

 

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