What is the significance of Brutus' last words?  His last words are: "Caesar, now be still, / I killed not thee with half so good a will."

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Shakespeare wanted to make it seem that the spirit of Caesar was influential throughout the entire play, even though he was assassinated in the third act. Evidently this was because the play was titled Julius Caesar and Shakespeare sensed it would be an artistic fault to eliminate the title character in the middle. The play seems to break into two halves as it is. Antony says that Caesar's spirit will create havoc in Italy, and Caesar's ghost visits Brutus twice. So Caesar's presence and his powerful will are felt throughout the play. When Brutus kills himself he is informing the audience that Caesar's ghost is now satisfied and at rest. The play does not end with the deaths of the conspirators but with the triumph of Julius Caesar. Brutus has been haunted by Caesar's memory, since he was Brutus' best friend. Brutus did not really want to participate in Caesar's assassination, any more than he wants to kill himself. He seems to be apologizing to the spirit when he says "I killed not thee with half so good a will" as well as to be acknowledging Caesar's supernatural power, which prevails over his enemies even after his death. Brutus does not want to kill himself, but he wanted to kill Caesar even less. He realizes the futility of his decision to participate in the plot against his friend.


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