Julies Caesar - Act 1 Scene II

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Julius Caesar Act 1 Scene 2 Commentary

        The last stanza in Act 1 Scene 2 of Julius Caesar brings forth the important character traits of both Brutus and Cassius.

The lines “Well, Brutus thou art noble; yet I see Thy honourable metal may be wrought (306-307)” are used figuratively by Shakespeare to describe Brutus’s character.

Shakespeare makes a metaphorical comparison between the physical and chemical properties of a metal, and Brutus’ honour and nobility. A metal can be melted and subsequently moulded into different forms. Similarly, Brutus’s deep love for Roman society renders him vulnerable to manipulation by Cassius, which is another form of moulding. In the above quote, Cassius indicates his intention to control Brutus like a puppet by using Brutus’s deep nobility to his advantage. Just as a ‘metal’ can be ‘wrought’ and twisted into different shapes, so can Brutus’s “honourable metal”, or his sense of nobility, be manipulated to accept the idea of killing an innocent man. In addition, the irony in the usage of the word “metal” is apparent, as it can be associated with “mettle”, which means courage and fortitude, neither of which are Brutus’s strengths.

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Other aspects of Brutus’s character are also brought to light in the above quote. His love for Rome is emphasized; although Brutus is close to Caesar as a friend, he is also open to the idea of assassinating him for the sake of his country. From another point of view, his true nobility as a human is questioned, as he is willing to kill a friend for the sake of politics and Rome.

 Cassius’s character is also brought to light in this last stanza. Cassius compares himself to Brutus in lines 312-313 (“If I were Brutus now and he ...

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