In act 4, scene 3 of "Julius Caesar," what personal grief does Brutus relate to Cassius?  How does this news affect Cassius? 

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malibrarian eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Cassius and Brutus were in the middle of a fight concerning Cassius' refusal to send money to Brutus to pay his soldiers, as well as implications concerning a friend of Cassius who Brutus believed was accepting bribes.  These guys were really angry with one another during this argument, until finally Cassius tells Brutus to stab him in the chest with his own dagger if he truly believes these things about him.  They calm down and reassert their loyalty to one another.  After this, Brutus lets Cassius know that his wife, Portia, has killed herself by swallowing hot coals because, as Brutus says,

"Impatient of my absence,
And grief that young Octavius with Mark Antony
Have made themselves so strong--for with her death
That tidings came--with this she fell distract
And, her attendants absent, swallowed fire."

Cassius reacts by saying he can't believe Brutus didn't go ahead and stab him in the chest when he was so upset with Cassius, because of the grief Brutus was carrying around inside of him.  He is horrified at the loss his friend, Brutus, has suffered, and probably impressed with the man for being able to carry on in spite of this personal tragedy.

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Julius Caesar

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