Julius Caesar

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Caius Cassius Character Analysis

Instigator of the conspiracy against Caesar. Cassius had served beside Caesar in many wars, and even once saved his life. Unlike Brutus, who loves Caesar but is opposed to the idea of a monarchy, Cassius seems more motivated by jealousy, even hatred, of Caesar than by any political ideology, as he first professes. Indeed, Cassius begins to exhibit many of the bad qualities for which he initially argued Caesar must die, like ambition, dishonesty, and greed.

Caius Cassius Quotes in Julius Caesar

The Julius Caesar quotes below are all either spoken by Caius Cassius or refer to Caius Cassius. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Manhood and Honor Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the The Folger Shakespeare Library edition of Julius Caesar published in 1992.
Act 1, scene 2 Quotes
Men at some time are masters of their fates:
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.
Related Characters: Caius Cassius (speaker), Julius Caesar, Marcus Brutus
Page Number: 1.2.140-142
Explanation and Analysis:

Talking in private away from the spectacle of "the order of the course," Cassius is carefully convincing Brutus to conspire against Caesar. Displaying skillful use of language, Cassius appeals to Brutus's sense of honor, morality, and love of Rome while belittling Caesar and ironizing his immortality and greatness. In this quote Cassius suggests that he and Brutus are subservient to Caesar not because of fate or any particular excellence in Caesar, but because of their lack of action.

This quote brings up the question of fate and reinforces the ambiguity that comes with attempting to answer it. Cassius does not say definitively that fate is meaningless. Instead he says that "Men at some time are masters of their fates." In this particular case, he argues, reason, action, and free will determine the outcome instead of fate and the stars. Cassius pairs this suggestion with an appeal to Brutus's sense of honor and duty to Rome in order to persuade Brutus to act and join the conspiracy.

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Let me have men about me that are fat;
Sleek-headed men, and such as sleep o' nights.
Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look;
He thinks too much: such men are dangerous.
Related Characters: Julius Caesar (speaker), Caius Cassius
Page Number: 1.2.193-196
Explanation and Analysis:

The public event has ended, and Caesar and his train have re-entered the stage. While Cassius and Brutus plan to pull aside Casca and get details on "what the matter is," Antony and Caesar speak privately. Caesar notices a suspicious look on Cassius's face, saying that he is "lean and hungry." Here lean is proverbially related to envy, and hungry and fat are meant figuratively. Caesar wishes that he was surrounded instead by "fat," lazy, well-groomed, predictable men who can sleep at night, because he wouldn't have to fear that such men might be plotting against him. The reference to men who can sleep at night also foreshadows Brutus's sleeplessness as he contemplates assassinating Caesar.

Caesar characterizes Cassius as "dangerous," but Antony quickly responds "fear him not." This moment shows Caesar's political insight, since Cassius is dangerous to him, and Antony's lack of experience and optimism.

Also note the distinction that Caesar makes between what is rhetorically and politically dangerous and what Caesar says he actually fears (nothing). Perpetually idealized and manly, Caesar clearly indicates that he is not afraid of Cassius. Rather, Caesar tells Antony what should be feared rather than what he does fear, explaining that "for always I am Caesar." While Caesar's bravery gives him an appearance of profound nobility, the play also shows how Caesar's public persona as an invulnerable, fearless leader has crossed over into his private life and his opinion of himself, making him blind to the danger actually facing him. He has, in a sense, become trapped inside his public persona, which forces him to continually reject his fears, superstitions, and the warnings and omens he sees and to behave in ways (like going to the Senate on that fateful day) that lead to his death.

Act 5, scene 1 Quotes
But this same day
Must end that work the ides of March begun;
And whether we shall meet again I know not.
Therefore our everlasting farewell take:
For ever, and for ever, farewell, Cassius!
If we do meet again, why, we shall smile;
If not, why, then, this parting was well made.
Related Characters: Marcus Brutus (speaker), Caius Cassius
Related Symbols: Omens
Page Number: 5.1.123-129
Explanation and Analysis:

Brutus has been haunted by the ghost of Caesar, and the opposing armies are about to meet. Brutus and Cassius and Antony and Octavius have exchanged taunts; the battle is about to begin. In private, Cassius says that though he has never before believed in omens, he now believes that the crows circling above are a bad sign. In this line, Brutus is saying his goodbye to Cassius in case they never meet again. Brutus once more evokes the Soothsayer's prophesy and the assassination of Caesar. The two are afraid, fearing bad omens and Fate, but are at peace with one another.  Brutus acknowledges his uncertainty, not knowing how Fate and his own actions will impact the results of the day. This is also their final interaction, as both of them die in the war that follows.

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Caius Cassius Character Timeline in Julius Caesar

The timeline below shows where the character Caius Cassius appears in Julius Caesar. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, scene 2
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Caesar enters with Antony, Calpurnia, Portia, Decius, Cicero, Brutus, Cassius, and Casca, followed by a Soothsayer and many Plebeians, and Murellus and Flavius. Caesar instructs... (full context)
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The procession passes, except for Brutus and Cassius, two high-ranking Romans. Brutus has no interest in watching the festivities, and says Cassius should... (full context)
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Cassius remarks that Brutus has acted strangely lately, and wonders whether they are still friends. Brutus... (full context)
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Cassius says that Brutus is greatly admired by all of Rome, and that everyone—"except immortal Caesar"... (full context)
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They hear cheering, and Brutus says he fears that Caesar is being crowned king. Cassius says that this possibility must displease Brutus, if he fears it. (full context)
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Brutus admits he is against the idea, although he loves Caesar, and asks Cassius to get to the point, saying that if it involves honor and the good of... (full context)
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Cassius says that he would rather be dead than bow to Caesar, since Caesar is no... (full context)
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They hear more cheering. Cassius says that they cannot blame fate for their subservient positions: "The fault, dear Brutus, is... (full context)
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Brutus says he understands what Cassius is getting at, and that it's been troubling him too, but that he'd rather talk... (full context)
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Cassius is glad his "weak words" (1.2.177) were effective, and suggests they ask Casca what they... (full context)
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As he passes in the procession, Caesar tells Antony that Cassius looks too "lean and hungry" (1.2.195) to be trusted, saying it's safer to be surrounded... (full context)
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Once Caesar is gone, Casca tells Brutus and Cassius that Antony offered Caesar a crown three times, and that Caesar refused it, causing the... (full context)
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Cassius makes arrangements to meet with both Casca and Brutus the next day, and the others... (full context)
Act 1, scene 3
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Cicero exits and Cassius enters. Cassius says he's been walking in the storm unafraid, daring the lightning to strike... (full context)
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Cassius says that the manly spirits of their Roman forefathers must be dead, with only those... (full context)
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Casca agrees that those who are enslaved have the power to free themselves. Cassius says that Caesar could never have risen so high if other Romans were not so... (full context)
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Cassius says he's persuaded others to take up their cause, and that they wait for him... (full context)
Act 2, scene 1
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...and Brutus sends Lucius to the door. Alone, he says that he hasn't slept since Cassius brought up the idea of moving against Caesar, and that the time leading up to... (full context)
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Cassius is admitted, with Casca, Decius, Cinna, Metellus, and Trebonius. Cassius whispers with Brutus, and then... (full context)
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Cassius suggests they ask Cicero to join them, and Metellus says that Cicero's venerability and known... (full context)
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After Decius asks whether only Caesar will be killed, Cassius suggests they kill Antony as well, since he may oppose them afterwards. Brutus says that... (full context)
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Cassius says that Caesar's superstitions may keep him away from the Capitol, and Decius offers to... (full context)
Act 2, scene 2
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Caesar decides to go to the Capitol after all. Cassius, Brutus, Ligarius, Metellus, Casca, Trebonius, and Cinna enter to escort him. Antony enters a moment... (full context)
Act 3, scene 1
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...over yet. Artemidorus tries to hand Caesar his letter, but is blocked by Decius and Cassius. Popillus wishes Cassius good luck, and Cassius realizes that word of their plans is spreading,... (full context)
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...be given a satisfactory explanation for Caesar's death. Brutus praises Antony and grants the request. Cassius remarks that he still doesn't think Antony can be trusted. (full context)
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...do it now, as seeing Caesar dead has made him ready to die. Brutus and Cassius tell Antony that they mean him no harm, and that he'll have an equal voice... (full context)
Act 3, scene 2
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Outside, assembled Plebeians demand an explanation for Caesar's death. Cassius leads half of them away while Brutus stays to address the others. Brutus explains that... (full context)
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...regains his composure, and says he has no intention of wronging the honorable Brutus and Cassius, or inciting the mob to riot. He mentions that he's found Caesar's will, which would... (full context)
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...and is waiting for Antony with Lepidus at Caesar's house. He adds that Brutus and Cassius have fled Rome. (full context)
Act 4, scene 1
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...to share power, and should be gotten rid of once the struggle with Brutus and Cassius is over. They then discuss raising an army to meet the enemy. (full context)
Act 4, scene 2
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...and other Soldiers meet Titinius and Pindarus. Brutus talks with them about a disagreement with Cassius. Aside, Brutus tells Lucillius that Cassius is starting to seem fake and over-courteous, and that... (full context)
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Cassius arrives with his soldiers. He says that Brutus has done him wrong, and Brutus responds... (full context)
Act 5, scene 1
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Antony and Octavius wait on the battlefield. Antony says that Brutus and Cassius are only attacking to make themselves look braver than they are. A messenger alerts them... (full context)
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Brutus and Cassius speak with Antony and Octavius before the battle. They taunt each other. Brutus and Cassius... (full context)
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Brutus speaks apart with Lucillius. Cassius tells Messala that, though he never previously believed in omens, he was given a bad... (full context)
Act 5, scene 2
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...Brutus sees a weak point in Octavius's lines. He sends Messala to his troops on Cassius's wing with instructions to attack there. (full context)
Act 5, scene 3
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Cassius, weakened by the loss of those troops and by deserters, is losing his half of... (full context)
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...of Brutus's victory over Octavius. Titinius is bearing a wreath of victory from Brutus to Cassius. They notice Cassius's body, and Titinius sends Messala to tell Brutus. Alone with Cassius's body,... (full context)
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...bodies, Brutus remarks that Caesar's Ghost is hunting them all down. He gives orders for Cassius's body to be taken to Thasos, adding that the battle is a standstill so far,... (full context)
Act 4, scene 3
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Cassius is angry that Brutus punished an officer for a small offense, even though he'd written... (full context)
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Cassius is insulted, and says that he's an abler soldier than Brutus. Brutus disagrees, saying he... (full context)
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Brutus softens, and apologizes. Cassius apologizes too, saying that he inherited his temper from his mother. Brutus says that from... (full context)
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...who is trying to keep him out. The Poet rhymes badly, saying that Brutus and Cassius should not be arguing. Brutus and Cassius mock him and have him sent away. (full context)
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When they are alone, Cassius says that Brutus's recent anger was uncharacteristic of him. Brutus tells Cassius that Portia, afraid... (full context)
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...death, thinking he does not know yet. Brutus makes a show of acting unaffected, and Cassius commends him for his strength. (full context)
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Brutus suggests they march to Philippi to meet the triumvirate's army immediately. Cassius says they should let the enemy come to them instead, so that they'll be tired... (full context)
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...to sleep in his tent, in case he should need to send a message to Cassius. Varrus, Claudio, and Lucius all fall asleep. The Ghost of Caesar appears, identifying himself as... (full context)