Julius Caesar

Marcus Brutus Character Analysis

Read our modern English translation.
Brutus is a high-ranking and well-respected Roman, husband to Portia, and one of Caesar's murderers. Brutus is torn between his personal affection for Caesar and his political ideals, which are motivated by his abiding loyalty to Rome. An intelligent and self-possessed Stoic, Brutus is respected by friend and enemy alike—his honorable nature causes Caesar to question, “Et tu, Bruté? ” in disbelief as Brutus kills him. Ironically, it is Brutus's admirable qualities—loyalty, reason, self-control—that cause him to betray Caesar and participate in his murder, once these qualities are manipulated 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 honorably allows Marc Antony to give a speech at Caesar’s funeral which turns the plebeians against Brutus and the other conspirators. Despite taking up an army against Antony, Brutus refuses to kill Antony as Cassius suggests they should. After being haunted by Caesar’s ghost during the army campaign, Brutus commits suicide while on the run from Antony’s troops. Even Antony concludes that Brutus was “the noblest Roman of them all.”

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: 1.2.146-148
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 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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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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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, Antony, Brutus, Cassius, and others enter. Caesar tells his wife, Calpurnia, to stand in Antony’s path when... (full context)
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Despite Cassius’s urging, Brutus declines to watch the race. Cassius observes that Brutus has seemed aloof lately. Brutus assures... (full context)
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They hear shouting, and Brutus fears that the people have hailed Caesar as king. When Cassius says that it sounds... (full context)
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Cassius says that honor is just what he wants to discuss with Brutus. Both he and Brutus, he argues, were born just as free as Caesar. He recalls... (full context)
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They hear another burst of applause. Cassius tells Brutus that “the fault […] is not in our stars, / But in ourselves”; that, in... (full context)
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The Lupercalia race has ended. Brutus points out to Cassius that Caesar, Calpurnia, and Cicero look angry and distraught. Meanwhile, Caesar... (full context)
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Caesar and his train exit, but Brutus tugs on Casca’s cloak, detaining him. He asks Casca why Caesar looked so sad. Casca... (full context)
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Brutus and Cassius agree to meet tomorrow to talk further. Cassius urges him to “think of... (full context)
Act 1, scene 3
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...Cinna, a member of the conspiracy. Cassius gives Cinna some fake letters to leave where Brutus will find them. Then Cassius and Casca agree to confront Brutus at his house and... (full context)
Act 2, scene 1
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Brutus, unable to sleep, paces in his orchard. He talks to himself, reasoning that he has... (full context)
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Lucius, a servant, brings Brutus a letter he found on the windowsill. Brutus reads the letter by the light of... (full context)
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Brutus has asked Lucius to confirm the date; Lucius checks the calendar and says that it... (full context)
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...accompanied by others who are concealed in their cloaks. As Lucius lets the group in, Brutus reflects on the “monstrous” nature of conspiracy. When Cassius comes in, he introduces the other... (full context)
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...Metellus pointing out that Cicero’s age and rhetorical skill will win others to the cause. Brutus rejects this idea, saying that Cicero isn’t a follower. (full context)
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...suggests that Mark Antony be killed as well, since he’s so close to Caesar. Again, Brutus objects, arguing that they must be “sacrificers, but not butchers.” They must kill Caesar “boldly,... (full context)
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...offers to make sure Caesar goes. They discuss bringing Caius Ligarius into the conspiracy, and Brutus says he will take care of this. The conspirators part for the night. (full context)
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Portia enters, asking Brutus about his strange behavior lately—he’s been so restless and distracted. She pleads with Brutus to... (full context)
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...involved in the plot—“a piece of work that will make sick men whole.” He and Brutus set off together in Caesar’s direction, the sound of thunder in the background. (full context)
Act 2, scene 2
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...all inside for a drink of wine before they depart for the Senate together. Privately, Brutus laments what he and his fellow conspirators are about to do. (full context)
Act 2, scene 3
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...enters, reading a paper. He’s written a letter to Caesar, warning him to beware of Brutus and the other conspirators. He will offer the paper to Caesar when he passes by.... (full context)
Act 3, scene 1
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...wishes Cassius well in his “enterprise,” prompting fears that the conspirators have been found out. Brutus urges Cassius to stay calm. Trebonius pulls Mark Antony out of the way, and Decius... (full context)
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...that “base spaniel fawning” will do nothing to change his mind about the situation. Then, Brutus and Cassius kneel, too. Caesar tells them all that he is “constant as the North... (full context)
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...panic. They send Publius to reassure the people that no harm will befall anyone else. Brutus suggests that the conspirators bathe their hands and weapons in Caesar’s blood and walk through... (full context)
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Antony’s servant enters with a passionately-worded appeal, saying that Antony will support Brutus if he is allowed to safely approach and be given a satisfactory explanation for Caesar’s... (full context)
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...death as well, there’s no better moment than now, at the site of Caesar’s death. Brutus replies that they desire no such thing, and that if Antony could see their hearts,... (full context)
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...that his death was justified. Moreover, he asks if he might speak at Caesar’s funeral. Brutus grants this request immediately. (full context)
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Brutus takes Cassius aside, warning him that he doesn’t know what he’s doing—the people will be... (full context)
Act 3, scene 2
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A crowd of plebeians follows Brutus and Cassius, demanding satisfaction. Half of them follow Cassius to hear his explanation, and half... (full context)
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...pulpit, the plebeians talk among themselves, saying that Antony had better not speak ill of Brutus, and that Rome is blessed to be rid of Caesar. Antony begins, “Friends, Romans, countrymen,... (full context)
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...his speech, he says that he would sooner wrong the dead than wrong the “honorable” Brutus and Cassius by stirring the public to mutiny. Then he shows them Caesar’s will, but... (full context)
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...in the fabric caused by various conspirators—“the unkindest cut of all” having been given by Brutus. As the people weep, Antony lifts the mantle so they can see Caesar’s body itself.... (full context)
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...wilt.” Meanwhile, the servant returns and reports that Octavius is now in Rome, and that Brutus and Cassius have fled the city. Antony attributes their flight to his success in stirring... (full context)
Act 4, scene 2
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In an army camp near Sardis, Brutus, Lucius, Lucilius, and other soldiers meet Titinius and Pindarus. Brutus talks with the others about a disagreement with Cassius. Aside, Brutus... (full context)
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Cassius arrives and accuses Brutus of having done him wrong. Brutus, surprised, says that he doesn’t even wrong his enemies,... (full context)
Act 4, scene 3
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Cassius explains that Brutus has wronged him by condemning Lucius Pella for taking bribes, whereas Cassius’s letters in Lucius’s... (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 insulted him... (full context)
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Brutus tells Cassius to sheathe his dagger, explaining that his quick temper is just as quickly... (full context)
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Brutus and Cassius dismiss their guards and servant. Brutus explains that his temper stems from grief—Portia... (full context)
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...have executed a large number of senators, including Cicero. Messala also reports Portia’s death, and Brutus stoically accepts the news, not revealing that he already knew. Brutus and Cassius debate whether... (full context)
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Two servants, Varrus and Claudio, and Lucius enter Brutus’s tent. Lucius plays a song, and everyone but Brutus is soon asleep. Brutus settles down... (full context)
Act 5, scene 1
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Octavius, Antony, and their army are waiting on the battlefield. Antony thinks that Brutus and Cassius are attacking them in order to make themselves look braver than they are.... (full context)
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Brutus’s and Cassius’s army meets Antony’s and Octavius’s army on the battlefield, and they exchange taunts.... (full context)
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As Brutus steps aside with Lucilius, Cassius talks with Messala. Cassius says that, although he’s an Epicurean... (full context)
Act 5, scene 2
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In the midst of the battle, Brutus sends Messala in haste with orders for Cassius’s forces. Octavius’s forces appear to be vulnerable,... (full context)
Act 5, scene 3
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...his own flag-bearer started running away, Cassius killed him for his cowardice. Titinius says that Brutus gave his orders too soon, giving Antony’s men an opportunity to surround them. Pindarus enters,... (full context)
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Titinius and Messala enter. Messala tells Titinius that Octavius has been overthrown by Brutus, just as Cassius has been overthrown by Antony. Then they discover Cassius’s body on the... (full context)
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Brutus, Messala, and several others enter. When they discover both Cassius’s and Titinius’s slain bodies, Brutus... (full context)
Act 5, scene 4
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Brutus, Messala, Cato, and other soldiers enter the field. Brutus urges his men to be courageous.... (full context)
Act 5, scene 5
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Brutus enters with several friends; battle-weary, they sit down together to rest. Tearfully, Brutus speaks to... (full context)
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Octavius enters with Antony, Messala, Lucilius (both captives), and other soldiers. They see Strato with Brutus’s body, and Strato explains to them the circumstances of Brutus’s suicide. Antony declares that Brutus... (full context)