What is interesting about Caesar's reaction when Brutus stabs him in Shakespeare's play, Julius Caesar, Act Three, scene one?

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booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

What I find most interesting about Julius Caesar's words to Brutus in Shakespeare's play, Julius Caesar, is that Caesar does not seem surprised that Brutus is involved in this plot to murder him.

Brutus is the last of the conspirators to stab Caesar, and the emperor looks to Brutus, a heroic and dedicated statesman, asking,

Et tu, Brute?

This means, "even you" or "you too?" Caesar seemingly accepts Brutus' actions without amazement or anger. He gives no sense of feeling betrayed, almost as if he is reconciled to what his happening to him as the men surrounding him assassinate him. Perhaps it suggests that Caesar is aware of what men are capable of, even those dearest to him—those he respects. It may be that as a leader, he has anticipated the possibility of an attempt on his life. He has just admitted he is a man committed to his course:

But I am constant as the northern star,
Of whose true-fix'd and resting quality
There is no fellow in the firmament. (III.i.66-68)

Perhaps he understands that his refusal to be moved by the men's entreaties drives the men to extremes. Either way, he accepts that Brutus, a dedicated Roman citizen and one Caesar knows well, has opted to kill him.

ironvocab | Student

he was actually very surprised when he saw Brutus stabbing him and couldnt comprehend why he would do such a thing to him, hence the quote:"Et Tu brute", which roughly translates to "you too Brutus?". there were also other conspirators there when the assassination happend and in all there were about 20 stab wounds inflicted upon him by many people

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Julius Caesar

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