In Julius Caesar, what does Brutus mean by, "Caesar, now be still; I killed not thee with half so good a will"? (5.5)

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In act 5, scene 5, Octavius and Antony's armies are closing in on Brutus's position, and Brutus begs Strato to hold his sword while he runs directly into it to end his life. Before Brutus runs into his sword, he says,

"Caesar, now be still. I killed not thee with half so good a will." (Shakespeare, 5.5.56-57)

Brutus is essentially telling Julius Caesar's spirit that it can finally rest by telling it to be still. Brutus then says that he was more reluctant and hesitant to kill Caesar than he was deciding to commit suicide. Brutus's lasts words once again reveal his honorable nature and depict him as a man with integrity. He truly struggled with his decision to murder Julius Caesar and knows that he would rather die than to live under Octavius's rule. Shortly after Brutus commits suicide, Antony and Octavius arrive to discover his dead body. Antony then looks down at Brutus's corpse and refers to him as the "noblest Roman of them all."

malibrarian eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Brutus is telling the ghost of Caesar to "be still," to rest in peace, now that Brutus, too, is going to be dead.  "I killed not thee with half so good a will" means that killing himself is something he wants to do more than he ever wanted to kill Caesar.

Brutus refuses to be subject to Octavius Caesar, and so he wants to commit suicide, which he believes to be a more honorable way of dying, rather than being paraded through the streets of Rome as a conquered subject.

Check the links below for more information.  Good luck!

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Julius Caesar

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