Act 2, Scene 2 Original Text



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Act 2, Scene 2




Original Text

Modern Text





Thunder and lightning Enter Julius CAESAR in his nightgown

Thunder and lightning. CAESAR enters in his nightgown.



CAESAR

Nor heaven nor earth have been at peace tonight.

Thrice hath Calphurnia in her sleep cried out,

“Help, ho! They murder Caesar!”—Who’s within?



CAESAR

Neither the sky nor the earth have been quiet tonight. Calphurnia cried out three times in her sleep, “Help, someone! They’re murdering Caesar!” Who’s there?






Enter a SERVANT

SERVANT enters.




SERVANT

My lord.


SERVANT

My lord?

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CAESAR

Go bid the priests do present sacrifice

And bring me their opinions of success.


CAESAR

Go tell the priests to perform a sacrifice immediately, and bring me their interpretation of the results.






SERVANT

I will, my lord.



SERVANT

I will, my lord.






Exit SERVANT

The SERVANT exits.




Enter CALPHURNIA

CALPHURNIA enters.




CALPHURNIA

What mean you, Caesar? Think you to walk forth?

You shall not stir out of your house today.


CALPHURNIA

What are you doing, Caesar? Are you planning to go out? You’re not leaving the house today.


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CAESAR

Caesar shall forth. The things that threatened me

Ne'er looked but on my back. When they shall see

The face of Caesar, they are vanishèd.



CAESAR

I will go out. The things that threaten me have only seen my back. When they see the face of Caesar, they will vanish.


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CALPHURNIA

Caesar, I never stood on ceremonies,

Yet now they fright me. There is one within,

Besides the things that we have heard and seen,

Recounts most horrid sights seen by the watch.

A lioness hath whelpèd in the streets,

And graves have yawned and yielded up their dead.


CALPHURNIA

Caesar, I never believed in omens, but now they frighten me. A servant told me the night-watchmen saw horrid sights too, but different ones from what we heard and saw. A lioness gave birth in the streets, and graves cracked open and thrust out their dead.



Act 2, Scene 2

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Act 2, Scene 2, Page 2




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Fierce fiery warriors fought upon the clouds

In ranks and squadrons and right form of war,

Which drizzled blood upon the Capitol.

The noise of battle hurtled in the air.

Horses did neigh, and dying men did groan,

And ghosts did shriek and squeal about the streets.

O Caesar! These things are beyond all use,

And I do fear them.



Fierce, fiery warriors fought in the clouds in the usual formations of war—ranks and squadrons—until the clouds drizzled blood onto the Capitol. The noise of battle filled the air, and horses neighed, and dying men groaned, and ghosts shrieked and squealed in the streets. Oh, Caesar! These things are beyond anything we’ve seen before, and I’m afraid.


CAESAR

    What can be avoided

Whose end is purposed by the mighty gods?

Yet Caesar shall go forth, for these predictions

Are to the world in general as to Caesar.


CAESAR

How can we avoid what the gods want to happen? But I will go out, for these bad omens apply to the world in general as much as they do to me.


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CALPHURNIA

When beggars die there are no comets seen.

The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes.


CALPHURNIA

When beggars die there are no comets in the sky. The heavens only announce the deaths of princes.



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CAESAR

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

Cowards die many times before their deaths. The brave experience death only once. Of all the strange things I’ve ever heard, it seems most strange to me that men fear death, given that death, which can’t be avoided, will come whenever it wants.






Enter SERVANT

The SERVANT enters.




     What say the augurers?

What do the priests say?

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SERVANT

They would not have you to stir forth today.

Plucking the entrails of an offering forth,

They could not find a heart within the beast.



SERVANT

They don’t want you to go out today. They pulled out the guts of the sacrificed animal and couldn’t find its heart.




CAESAR

The gods do this in shame of cowardice.

Caesar should be a beast without a heart

If he should stay at home today for fear.

No, Caesar shall not. Danger knows full well


CAESAR

The gods do this to test my bravery. They’re saying I’d be an animal without a heart if I stayed home today out of fear. So, I won’t.


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