Translation of lines 97-99 Act II Sc II of Julius CaesarW.Turner's Translation "What affairs requiring wakefulness have kept you from closing your eyes in the sleep of night" My contention 1.Read...

Translation of lines 97-99 Act II Sc II of Julius Caesar

W.Turner's Translation

"What affairs requiring wakefulness have kept you from closing your eyes in the sleep of night"

My contention

1.Read the lines 81-82 of this scene.  Brutus says "They are a faction, 'o' conspiracy shamest thou show thy dangerous brow by night etc".

2. Through the above lines it is clear that Brutus knows the purpose of their visit i.e. to hatch a conspiracy and conspiracy had been personified and addressed as shameful that shows its face only at night i.e. conspiracies are hatched only at nights.

3. See the opening lines of this scene and notice that shakespeare presents Brutus in a desperate frame of mind and he wakes up Lucius his servant boy to know how far the sun rise is away.

4. The subsequent dialogues by Decius,Cinna and Casca revolve around a debate about the bearings of the sun rise.  Why shakespeare had started this debate about sun rise?

5. I suggest that the word meanings must be taken in the following way to make a logical translation of these lines.

[a]Wakefulness=carefulness [b]Cares=serious attentions [c] interpose=infer [d]betwixt=intervening time [e] Eyes [ to be taken as Eye of the day]=Sun [Refer oxford dictionary new sevnth edition edited by JB Sykes to find this meaning on the page no. 343.]

6. now my translation would be as

" what your intellectual and serious attentions do put forth to be the intervening time of the night and the sun rise"


2 Answers | Add Yours

mshurn's profile pic

Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Brutus has been up all night struggling with the decision that confronts him. When the conspirators arrive before dawn, he does indeed know who they are as a group, but he doesn't know yet which specific individuals have committed themselves to the plan to murder Caesar. He asks Cassius, "Know I these men that come along with you?" Cassius says that Brutus does know these men and that each of them holds Brutus in high regard. Brutus then acknowledges Trebonius, Decius Brutus, Casca, Cinna, and Metellus Cimber, saying they are all welcome. Once the conspirators have been admitted to his home, Brutus then says the line in question:

What watchful cares do interpose themselves

Betwixt your eyes and night?

I don't think there is a lot of significance in this particular line. It is merely functional dialog. Brutus is asking, so, why are you all here in the middle of the night? What are your concerns? He knows what they're concerned about, and he knows why they have come to his home. He is just getting the meeting underway, as it were.

impeccable's profile pic

impeccable | College Teacher | (Level 1) Honors

Posted on


This argument seems too hypothetical and confusing to me. see the dialogues below,

Lucius lines 73 to 76,

No sir, their hats are plucked about their ears,

And half theIr faces buried in their cloaks,

That by no means I may discover them,

By any mark of favour.

Brutus' line 77 "They are a faction......"


Portia lines 275 to 278

Why you are heavy and what men to night

Have had resort to you for here have been

Some six or seven who did hide their faces

Even from darkness.

Shakespeare had carefully written these dialogues so that even a layman sitting among the audience may understand that some sinister looking plot is in the offing.

Even Portia who remained indoors all through, correlating so many changes in the behavioural pattern of Brutus, could jump to a conclusion that some sort of evil design was in the offing.

The sudden breaking out of a debate on the sun rise had not been explored or discussed.

I am at a loss to understand what a functional dialogue is.  If such classification is existing then what could be the example of a structural dialogue or organic dialogue?


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