Julius Caesar

Marcus Brutus Character Analysis

Read our modern English translation.
A high-ranking and well-respected Roman, husband to Portia, and one of Caesar's murderers. An intelligent and self-possessed stoic, Brutus is respected by friend and enemy alike, and even by Caesar as Brutus kills him. Ironically, it is Brutus's admirable qualities—patriotism, reason, self-control—that cause him to participate in Caesar's murder, once these qualities are abused by Cassius. Brutus loves Caesar, but is so opposed to Rome having a king that his reason demands Caesar's death. Brutus's strict moral code also brings about his own undoing, since he refuses to kill Antony, as the more Machiavellian Cassius suggests they should.

Marcus Brutus Quotes in Julius Caesar

The Julius Caesar quotes below are all either spoken by Marcus Brutus or refer to Marcus Brutus. 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 numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer 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:

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Act 2, scene 1 Quotes
I grant I am a woman; but withal a woman that Lord Brutus took to wife; I grant I am a woman; but withal a women well reputed, Cato's daughter. Think you I am no stronger than my sex, being so father'd, and so husbanded? Tell me your counsels, I will not disclose'em. I have made a strong proof of my constancy, giving myself a voluntary wound here, in the thigh: can I bear that with patience, and not my husband's secrets?
Related Characters: Portia (speaker), Marcus Brutus
Related Symbols: Body, Blood, & Pain
Page Number: 2.1.315-325
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 3, scene 1 Quotes
Et tu, Bruté? — Then fall, Caesar!
Related Characters: Julius Caesar (speaker), Marcus Brutus
Related Symbols: Body, Blood, & Pain, Rome
Page Number: 3.1.85
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 3, scene 2 Quotes
Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault;
And grievously hath Caesar answer'd it.
Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest, —
For Brutus is an honorable man;
So are they all, all honorable men, —
Come I to speak in Caesar's funeral.
He was my friend, faithful and just to me:
But Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honorable man.
Related Characters: Mark Antony (speaker), Julius Caesar, Marcus Brutus
Related Symbols: Body, Blood, & Pain, Rome
Page Number: 3.2.82-96
Explanation and Analysis:

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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:

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Act 5, scene 5 Quotes
This was the noblest Roman of all
All the conspirators, save only he,
Did that they did in envy of great Caesar;
He only, in a general honest thought,
And common good to all, made one of them.
His life was gentle; and the elements
So mix'd in him that Nature might stand up
And say to all the world, "This was a man."
Related Characters: Mark Antony (speaker), Julius Caesar, Marcus Brutus
Related Symbols: Body, Blood, & Pain, Rome
Page Number: 5.5.74-81
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 4, scene 3 Quotes
Remember March, the ides of March remember:
Did not great Julius bleed for justice' sake?
What villain touch'd his body, that did stab,
And not for justice? What, shall one of us
That struck the foremost man of all this world
But for supporting robbers, shall we now
Contaminate our fingers with base bribes,
And sell the mighty space of our large honours
For so much trash as may be grasped thus?
I had rather be a dog, and bay the moon,
Than such a Roman.
Related Characters: Marcus Brutus (speaker), Julius Caesar
Related Symbols: Omens, Body, Blood, & Pain, Rome
Page Number: 4.3.19-29
Explanation and Analysis:

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There is a tide in the affairs of men
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat;
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.
Related Characters: Marcus Brutus (speaker)
Page Number: 4.3.249-255
Explanation and Analysis:

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Marcus Brutus Character Timeline in Julius Caesar

The timeline below shows where the character Marcus Brutus 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... (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... (full context)
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Cassius remarks that Brutus has acted strangely lately, and wonders whether they are still friends. Brutus says that he's... (full context)
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Cassius says that Brutus is greatly admired by all of Rome, and that everyone—"except immortal Caesar" (1.2.62)—wishes Brutus knew... (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... (full context)
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Brutus admits he is against the idea, although he loves Caesar, and asks Cassius to get... (full context)
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...be dead than bow to Caesar, since Caesar is no better than they. He tells Brutus about the time he saved Caesar's life while swimming, and about how Caesar once fell... (full context)
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...cheering. Cassius says that they cannot blame fate for their subservient positions: "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, / But in ourselves, that we are underlings" (1.2.141-2). He... (full context)
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Brutus says he understands what Cassius is getting at, and that it's been troubling him too,... (full context)
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...(1.2.177) were effective, and suggests they ask Casca what they missed, as Caesar's procession returns. Brutus says Caesar looks angry, and the others look like they've been scolded. (full context)
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...Cassius, telling him to speak into his good right ear. The procession exits, leaving Cassius, Brutus, and Casca. (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,... (full context)
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Cassius makes arrangements to meet with both Casca and Brutus the next day, and the others exit. Alone, Cassius says that though Brutus is too... (full context)
Act 1, scene 3
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...enters and says the other conspirators are assembled. Cassius gives him letters to plant where Brutus will find them. Casca and Cassius discuss how Brutus is essential to their plan, because... (full context)
Act 2, scene 1
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Brutus, unable to sleep, paces in his courtyard. He orders his servant Lucius to light a... (full context)
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Lucius returns and hands Brutus a letter he found. Brutus asks him to go check whether the next day is... (full context)
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...that the next day is indeed the ides of March. There is a knock and Brutus sends Lucius to the door. Alone, he says that he hasn't slept since Cassius brought... (full context)
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Cassius is admitted, with Casca, Decius, Cinna, Metellus, and Trebonius. Cassius whispers with Brutus, and then suggests they all swear an oath to follow through with their plans. Brutus... (full context)
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...them, and Metellus says that Cicero's venerability and known wisdom will make them look better. Brutus says that Cicero is too proud to take part in any plan that was someone... (full context)
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...be killed, Cassius suggests they kill Antony as well, since he may oppose them afterwards. Brutus says that without Caesar, Antony will be harmless, and more likely to kill himself out... (full context)
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...how to persuade him. Metellus suggests that Ligarius should be brought into their confidence, and Brutus says that he'll take care of this. The conspirators part. (full context)
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Brutus's wife Portia enters, and questions him about the visitors and his strange behavior. He makes... (full context)
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There is a knock. Brutus promises to reveal his secrets to Portia, who goes inside. Ligarius enters, and seems 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 later,... (full context)
Act 2, scene 4
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At Brutus's house, Portia, nearly hysterical, orders Lucius to run to the Capitol. She wants news of... (full context)
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...he doesn't know anything specific, only fears. The Soothsayer continues on. Portia sends Lucius after Brutus with only a greeting, and then goes inside. (full context)
Act 3, scene 1
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The conspirators stab Caesar—Casca first, Brutus last. Caesar's last words are "Et tu, Bruté?—Then fall Caesar" (3.1.76). The conspirators attempt to... (full context)
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Antony's servant enters with a message. Antony sends word that he will support Brutus if he may safely approach and be given a satisfactory explanation for Caesar's death. Brutus... (full context)
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...they should 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... (full context)
Act 3, scene 2
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...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 he loved and honored Caesar, but loved... (full context)
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Antony has entered with Caesar's body in a coffin. Brutus departs, turning the pulpit over to Antony. The crowd denounces Caesar and continues to laud... (full context)
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Antony 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,... (full context)
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...not wish to incite them to violence, and that he is not as well-spoken as Brutus. (full context)
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...in Rome, 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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...too weak 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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Encamped near Sardis, Brutus, Lucius, Lucillius, and other Soldiers meet Titinius and Pindarus. Brutus talks with them about a... (full context)
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Cassius arrives with his soldiers. He says that Brutus has done him wrong, and Brutus responds that this is impossible, as he is not... (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... (full context)
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Brutus and Cassius speak with Antony and Octavius before the battle. They taunt each other. Brutus... (full context)
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Brutus speaks apart with Lucillius. Cassius tells Messala that, though he never previously believed in omens,... (full context)
Act 5, scene 2
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In the thick of the battle, Brutus sees a weak point in Octavius's lines. He sends Messala to his troops on Cassius's... (full context)
Act 5, scene 3
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Titinius enters with Messala. It turns out the other horsemen were allies bringing news of Brutus's victory over Octavius. Titinius is bearing a wreath of victory from Brutus to Cassius. They... (full context)
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Brutus enters with Messala, Young Cato, Strato, Volumnius, Lucillius, Labio and Flavius. On seeing the bodies,... (full context)
Act 5, scene 4
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During the resumed battle, Brutus passes by with Messala and Flavius, leaving Lucillius and Young Cato on stage. Enemy soldiers... (full context)
Act 5, scene 5
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Brutus and his attendants stop to rest, with Antony's men closing in. Knowing that he is... (full context)
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...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... (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 to him asking that... (full context)
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Cassius is insulted, and says that he's an abler soldier than Brutus. Brutus disagrees, saying he is not afraid of Cassius. Cassius says that even Caesar never... (full context)
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Brutus softens, and apologizes. Cassius apologizes too, saying that he inherited his temper from his mother.... (full context)
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...with Lucillius, 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... (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 that Octavius and... (full context)
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...say that Antony, Octavius, and Lepidus have executed many senators. After some hesitation, Messala tells Brutus of Portia's death, thinking he does not know yet. Brutus makes a show of acting... (full context)
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Brutus suggests they march to Philippi to meet the triumvirate's army immediately. Cassius says they should... (full context)
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Brutus orders Lucius to play music and Varrus and Claudio to sleep in his tent, in... (full context)