From Julius Caesar. Ed. Henry Norman Hudson. New York: Ginn and Co., 1908.
3. 'Ensign' was used in the Elizabethan time, as it is
still, either for the flag (cf. V, i, 80) or for the bearer of
it: here it is used for both at once. Cf. the form 'ancient,'
Othello, I, i, 33. It was in killing the cowardly ensign
that Cassius "to his own turn'd enemy."
16.yonder troops: Messala and his escort coming from
19.with a thought: quick as thought. Cf. The
Tempest, IV, i, 64.
20-21. "Cassius himself was at length compelled to fly
... into a little hill from whence they might see ... howbeit
Cassius saw nothing, for his sight was very bad."-- Plutarch,
38.saving of thy life: when I saved thy life. The
usual interpretation, but 'saving' may qualify 'Thou' in l.
40, and then the expression would mean, 'Except for
endangering thy life.'
43.hilts: Shakespeare uses both the singular and the
plural form of this word to describe a single weapon, the
plural more often.
46. It was a dagger, not a sword, that Cassius stabbed
Cæsar with. But by a common figure of speech the same weapon
is put for the same owner. The 'sword' is taken from Plutarch.
"For he, being overcome in battle at the journey of Philippes,
slew himself with the same sword with the which he strake
Cæsar."-- Plutarch, Julius Cæsar.
50. "Cassius, thinking indeed that Titinius was taken of
the enemies, he then spake these words: 'Desiring too much to
live, I have lived to see one of my best friends taken, for my
sake, before my face.' After that, he got into a tent where
nobody was, and took Pindarus with him, one of his bondsmen
whom he reserved ever for such a pinch, since the cursed
battle of the Parthians, where Crassus was slain, though he
notwithstanding scaped from that overthrow: but then, casting
his cloak over his head, and holding out his bare neck unto
Pindarus, he gave him his head to be stricken off. So the head
was found severed from the body; but after that time Pindarus
was never seen more."-- Plutarch, Marcus Brutus.
51.change: interchange of loss and gain in the
60-62. Cf. Troilus and Cressida, V, viii, 5-8.
67-69. Cassius is said to have been of a highly choleric
or bilious temperament, and as such, predisposed to melancholy
views of life.
90. "By-and-by they knew the horsemen that came towards
them, and might see Titinius crowned with a garland of
triumph, who came before with great speed unto Cassius. But
when he perceived, by the cries and tears of his friends which
tormented themselves, the misfortune that had chanced to his
captain Cassius by mistaking, he drew out his sword, cursing
himself a thousand times that he had tarried so long, and so
slew himself presently in the field. Brutus in the meantime
came forward still, and understood also that Cassius had been
overthrown; but he knew nothing of his death till he came very
near to his camp."-- Plutarch, Marcus Brutus.
94-96. Brutus here strikes again, full and strong, the
proper keynote of the play. The facts involved are well stated
by Froude: "The murderers of Cæsar, and those who had either
instigated them secretly or applauded them afterwards, were
included in a proscription list, drawn by retributive justice
on the model of Sulla's. Such of them as were in Italy were
immediately killed. Those in the provinces, as if with the
curse of Cain upon their heads, came one by one to miserable
ends. In three years the tyrannicides of the Ides of March,
with their aiders and abettors, were all dead; some killed in
battle, some in prison, some dying by their own hand."
97.where: whether. So in V, iv, 30. See note, p. 7,
104.Thasos: A large island off the coast of Thrace.
"So when he was come thither, after he had lamented the death
of Cassius, calling him the last of all the Romans, being
unpossible that Rome should ever breed again so noble and
valiant a man as he, he caused his body to be buried, and sent
it to the city of Thassos, fearing lest his funerals within
his camp should cause great disorder. Then he called his
soldiers together, and did encourage them again."-- Plutarch,
108.Labeo and Flavius: These two men are not named
among the persons of the drama, because they speak nothing.
Labeo was one of the stabbers of Cæsar; and it related that
when he saw that all was lost, having dug his own grave, he
enfranchised a slave, and then he thrust a weapon into his
hand ordering him to kill him.
109-110. Shakespeare with dramatic effectiveness
represents both battles as occurring the same day. They were
separated by an interval of twenty days. The 'three o'clock'
is from Plutarch. "He suddenly caused his army to march, being
past three of the clock in the afternoon."-- Marcus Brutus.
How to cite the explanatory notes:
Shakespeare, William. Julius Caesar. Ed. Henry Norman Hudson. New York: Ginn and Co., 1908. Shakespeare Online. 20 Dec. 2009. (date when you accessed the information) < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/julius_5_3.html >.