"He Who Can Do Everything Must Need Fear Every Man"

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Context: In Cinna, Corneille introduces a heroine, Émilie, who has cherished for years her hatred of the Emperor Augustus. Upon its first performance, the drama was considered Corneille's masterpiece, and the audience felt sympathy for Cinna and his fiancée, Émilie. However, its full title, Cinna or the Clemency of Augustus, shows the dramatist's intention of portraying the greatness of Augustus who, at the promptings of his wife Livia, can conquer himself and forgive those who plot against his life. In Act IV, the slave of Maximus, one of the conspirators, reveals the plot to Augustus, but adds that his master has committed suicide. Actually, with Cinna imprisoned, Maximus is trying to persuade Émilie to run away with him. Meanwhile, in a soliloquy the Emperor speaks of the loneliness of those in high places and the impossibility of finding people to trust:


AUGUSTUS
Monarchs have no security. He who can
Do everything must need fear every man.

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