- Jun 2017
“Caesar, beware of Brutus; take heed of Cassius; come not near Casca; have an eye to Cinna; trust not Trebonius; mark well Metellus Cimber; Decius Brutus loves thee not; thou hast wrong’d Caius Ligarius. There is but one mind in all these men, and it is bent against Caesar. If thou be’st not immortal, look about you: security gives way to conspiracy. The mighty gods defend thee! Thy lover, Artemidorus.”
Shakespeare employs this very short scene to build up tension in the play for the assassination of Caesar. The scene focuses on a letter written by Artemidorus, who is one of Caesar’s true supporters. This letter warns of an assassination that is being plotted against Caesar, and lists all of the conspirators involved.
There is a sense of irony in the manner in which the letter in written. Artemidorus writes with an incessant urgency in his letter, stating to “Beware of Brutus, take heed of Cassius, Come not near Casca, …” and on and on. Its irony lies in the fact that Artemidorus, a man capable of great prose, is reduced to simple words in his desperation and fear of Caesar’s life.
This letter, and how Artemidorus views Caesar, give an indication to us of the greatness of Caesar. In the letter, he states that “There is but one mind in all these men, and it is bent against Caesar”. This claim contradicts with the impressions the audience would have had of Brutus, with his supposed struggles in going ahead with the assassination.
As Constantin Stanislavski said, “There are no small parts, only small actors”. This is especially true with Artemidorus. Although he does not appear otherwise in the play, this short scene and his letter demonstrates the greatness of Caesar, and the love and admiration that many have of him. It also acts to clarify the friends and foes of Caesar, as well as discrediting their supposed struggles in going ahead with the assassination.