In Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, was it part of Brutus's plan to use Tullius Cimber, of their number, with a plea in behalf of his brother who was in exile?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Shakespeare's dramatic version of the tragedy of Julius Caesar, authorities point to his adherence to the translation of Plutarch’s Bioi paralleloi (c. 105-115; Parallel Lives, 1579). So, in Act III, Scene 1, in which the conspirators stab Caesar, the action of play does, indeed, follow the records of Plutarch, who writes that the conspirators surrounded Caesar en masse, putting Tullius Cimber forth to plea on behalf of his exiled brother. However, rather than name his character Tullius Cimber, Shakespeare's character is called Metellus Cimber. Yet, the actions as described by Plutarch are similar, although Shakespeare embellishes the scene with the Soothsayer's arresting Caesar before he goes in, reminding the ruler that it is the Ides of March.

In Act III, Scene 1, then, after Caesar enters the Senate, Cassius grows anxious because he sees Popillius Laenas speaking with Caesar after having wished Brutus luck; Cassius worries that Popillius may betray them. But, Decius pursues their plan to have Metellus Cimber approach Caesar to ask to allow his exiled brother to return to Rome. Looking around, Decius asks,

Where’s Metellus Cimber? He should go up and offer his petition to Caesar now. (3.1.31=32)

 and Metellus Cimber approaches Caesar,

(kneeling) Most high, most mighty, and most powerful Caesar, Metellus Cimber kneels before you with a humble heart—(3.1.38-40)
But, Caesar will not be swayed from "what is right." Metellus, however, will not be dissuaded,
Is there no voice worthier than my own to appeal to Caesar to repeal the order that my brother be banished?
Brutus appears to purportedly intercede for Metellus, and Caesar is surprised. At this point, the conspirators surround Caesar, feigning supplication on behalf of Metellus.
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Julius Caesar

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