An itching palm
In such a time as this it is not meet
That every offense should bear his comment.
Let me tell you, Cassius, you yourself
Are much condemn'd to have an itching palm,
To sell and mart your offices for gold
I, an itching palm!
"An itching palm" is one that must be scratched with coins.
Brutus's dermatological metaphor implies that Cassius's desire for
gold—which leads to the sale ("mart") of favors—is unconscious and
compulsive. Cassius doesn't think, he just scratches.
Brutus and Cassius his co-commander, are preparing for battle
with Marc Antony and Octavius, who are bent on avenging the murder
of Julius Caesar and on securing power in Rome. This is no time, as
Cassius says, for comment on every petty offense. But Brutus is too
angry—he thinks Cassius deliberately withheld necessary finances
from him—to let the matter rest. The two will eventually make
amends, after elaborate (and stereotypically Roman) gestures toward