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
“Beware the ides of March.”
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.
Caesar: The ides of March are come.
Soothsayer: Aye, Caesar, but not gone.
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.
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.