In Act II of Julius Caesar, does Brutus's soliloquy reveal his true feelings about Caesar, Antony, his servant, or his wife?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Brutus's soliloquy in act two, scene 1, reveals his true feelings regarding Julius Caesar. Brutus begins by contemplating whether or not he should participate in Caesar's assassination and admits that he has no personal grievance against him. Brutus proceeds to weigh his options and considers whether or not crowning Caesar king will be harmful to Rome. Brutus wonders if Caesar will change his nature and become evil by abusing his power and ruling as a ruthless tyrant.

While Brutus has never known Caesar as a man to let his emotion supersede his reason, he thinks that Caesar's ambition will motivate him to attain complete authority over the empire. Brutus ends up comparing Julius Caesar to a "serpent’s egg" which will eventually hatch and cause problems for Rome. Brutus essentially convinces himself in his soliloquy in act two, scene 1, that Julius Caesar is a threat to the Roman Republic and will eventually reign as a tyrant if given a chance. While Brutus has no personal quarrel with Caesar, by the end of the soliloquy, he firmly believes that he will be doing the citizens of Rome a favor by assassinating a potentially harmful dictator.

sullymonster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The speech you mention is when Brutus is rationalizing to himself the reasons for committing the assassination of Caesar.  He is revealing that he fears the power that Caesar could potentially have.  He is afraid that, with power, Caesar may become a tyrant.  He uses the metaphor of a serpent to suggest this, saying that a serpent may be innocent as an egg, but it will grow up and be dangerous, as Caesar might.  So it should be killed as that egg, not when it can get strength:

And therefore think him as a serpent's egg
Which hatch'd would as his kind grow mischievous, And kill him in the shell.

What is interesting is that Brutus admits that Caesar has not behaved badly, or as a tyrant:

to speak truth of Caesar,
I have not known when his affections sway'd
More than his reason.

But Brutus is so scared of the power being abused, and of his country suffering, that he is willing to kill his friend to prevent it, as this speech demonstrates.

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Julius Caesar

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