Julius Caesar

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Julius Caesar Act 5, scene 5 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Brutus and his attendants stop to rest, with Antony's men closing in. Knowing that he is beaten, and revealing that he has seen Caesar's Ghost a second time, Brutus asks Clitus, Dardanius, and Volumnius in turn if they will assist him in committing suicide, but all refuse him and resume running, urging Brutus to do the same. Brutus wakes the sleeping Strato, and asks him to hold his sword while he runs on it. Strato consents, and Brutus kills himself, saying that he feels better about doing this than he did about killing Caesar.
Unlike Pindarus, Brutus's men are reluctant to assist his suicide. Brutus's dying words indicate that, unlike Cassius, he kills himself not to avoid the humiliation of capture, but because he believes he deserves death. If his suicide is a just punishment rather than an avoidance of future events, then Brutus does not exactly violate his philosophy.
Themes
Manhood and Honor Theme Icon
Logic and Language Theme Icon
Politics and Morality Theme Icon
Antony and Octavius enter, with soldiers, and Lucillius and Massala captive. Strato is made a servant to Octavius. Antony says that Brutus was "the noblest Roman of them all" (5.5.67), because he killed Caesar out of genuine concern for the future of Rome, while the other conspirators were merely jealous. Octavius says that Brutus shall have a funeral befitting his virtue, and that his body shall lie in state that night in his own tent. He then leads the army away to divide the spoils.
Even his enemies confirm the difference between Brutus and the other conspirators. The closing focus on the ironic difference between Brutus's great virtue and disastrous end provides a good argument for seeing the play as the Tragedy of Brutus, rather than of Caesar. Octavius, as the highest-ranking character, speaks the closing lines.
Themes
Manhood and Honor Theme Icon
Logic and Language Theme Icon
Public vs. Private Theme Icon
Politics and Morality Theme Icon
Fate Theme Icon