Julius Caesar

Omens Symbol Analysis

Read our modern English translation.
Omens Symbol Icon

The presence of omens and prophecies in Julius Caesar represent the mysterious, underlying forces at work beneath human behavior and historical events, as they lend an air of the supernatural to the cold political machinery of Rome. From the soothsayer's warning, to the meteor shower on the eve of Caesar’s assassination, to the carrion birds that presage Cassius's defeat in battle, major events in the play seem inevitable, as if decreed by the gods. Then again, things may not be as fixed as they seem—does knowing that the next day is the ides of March help make up Brutus's mind to align with the conspirators? While Shakespeare doesn’t make a clear-cut argument about fate, he uses omens to suggest that there are many complex factors at work in history, and that human motivations are more layered and mysterious than they first appear.

Omens Quotes in Julius Caesar

The Julius Caesar quotes below all refer to the symbol of Omens. 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

“Beware the ides of March.”

Related Characters: Soothsayer (speaker), Julius Caesar
Related Symbols: Omens
Page Number: 1.2.21
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 2, scene 2 Quotes

Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,
It seems to me most strange that men should fear;
Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come.

Related Characters: Julius Caesar (speaker)
Related Symbols: Omens, Body, Blood, & Pain
Page Number: 2.2.34-39
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Act 3, scene 1 Quotes

Caesar: The ides of March are come.
Soothsayer: Aye, Caesar, but not gone.

Related Characters: Julius Caesar (speaker), Soothsayer (speaker)
Related Symbols: Omens
Page Number: 3.1.1-2
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:
Quotes explanation short mobile
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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Omens Symbol Timeline in Julius Caesar

The timeline below shows where the symbol Omens appears in Julius Caesar. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, scene 3
Fate Theme Icon
...down the street, and an owl hooting at noon. Casca concludes that this collection of omens can be no natural coincidence. Cicero agrees that it’s all quite strange, but that people... (full context)
Act 2, scene 2
Manhood and Honor Theme Icon
Logic and Language Theme Icon
Public vs. Private Theme Icon
Politics and Morality Theme Icon
Fate Theme Icon
...Caesar replies that the gods’ purposes can’t be avoided; he will leave anyway, because these omens aren’t just signs for him, but for the world in general. Death is inevitable and... (full context)
Manhood and Honor Theme Icon
Logic and Language Theme Icon
Public vs. Private Theme Icon
Fate Theme Icon
The servant returns with a worrying omen—the  sacrificed animal was found to contain no heart, indicating that Caesar shouldn’t leave the house.... (full context)
Act 5, scene 1
Public vs. Private Theme Icon
Politics and Morality Theme Icon
Fate Theme Icon
...with Messala. Cassius says that, although he’s an Epicurean and previously gave little credit to omens, he has changed his mind—carrion birds have been flying above the army and looking down... (full context)