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Summary Act II

Scene 1

This scene occurs in the orchard of Brutus' home in Rome, the same night as the last scene. Brutus is alone on stage, he is having trouble sleeping; it is nighttime but he is unsure of the hour. His servant Lucius enters and Brutus sends him to fetch a light from his study. Alone again, Brutus delivers a soliloquy where he reveals that he is determined that Caesar must die for the sake of the Roman people, and not for any personal reason. Brutus worries that power will corrupt Caesar, and he is determined to do what the Roman people desire. Lucius returns with the light and a letter he found at Brutus' window. Brutus sends Lucius to confirm that it is the night of the 14th of March. He reads the letters which contain pleas for Brutus to act against Caesar. Lucius returns and confirms the date is the 14th, and says that Cassius and some disguised men are at the door.

Brutus complains that he has not been able to sleep well since Cassius turned him against Caesar. The conspirators enter with Cassius and the disguised conspirators introduce themselves to Brutus (The other conspirators are: Casca, Decius Brutus, Cinna, Metellus Cimber, and Trebonius). Decius Brutus, Cinna, and Casca note that the sun is rising (It is March 15). Brutus asks the conspirators to put their hands together, but says that no other oath is required other than their determination to do the right thing.

The conspirators then discuss whether they can get Cicero to join their conspiracy, but determine that he will not be willing to join them. Cassius argues that they should kill Antony as well, since he is very loyal to Caesar and will make trouble for them. Brutus, however, urges them to spare Antony, since he is only a “limb” of Caesar, and that they are making a “sacrifice” of Caesar for the people instead of committing butchery. Ligarius is suggested as another possible conspirator; Brutus says he will get Ligarius to join their conspiracy.

They also worry that Caesar will not show up at the Capitol for his coronation the next day, because he is superstitious and there have been bad omens. Decius Brutus says Caesar is susceptible to flattery and that he will go personally to convince Caesar to go to the Capitol.

All the conspirators except Brutus leave. Brutus' wife Portia enters and expresses worry over Brutus' lack of sleep and urges him to tell her what is wrong. Brutus evades the question but promises to tell her what has been bothering her as soon as he finishes his business that day.

Ligarius arrives and Brutus asks him to join him to do some work of “honour,” and Ligarius agrees to join him without learning the details, they leave together and the scene ends.

Scene 2

This scene occurs at Caesar's home. Caesar's wife is having bad dreams and Caesar is concerned about several bad omens. Calpurnia urges him to heed the bad omens and not go to the senate that day. Decius Brutus arrives and attempts to convince Caesar to go to the Capitol. He reinterprets the omens as positive rather than bad, and says that the people will think he is a coward if he refuses to show himself in public.

Publius, Brutus and the conspirators (without Cassius) arrive at Caesar's home. Caesar is pleased to see them and interprets their presence as support for him. He asks them to stay near him since they are his friends. Trebonius remarks in an aside that Caesar's true friends will wish Trebonius was far away from Caesar. Brutus, in another aside, expresses some guilt over Caesar's obliviousness to his danger.

Scene 3

This scene occurs on street in Rome near the Capitol. Artemidorus is alone, he reads a note addressed to Caesar that warns against the conspiracy. Artemidorus will try to save Caesar by delivering the note to him when he passes on his way to the Capitol.

Scene 4

This scene occurs on a street in front of Brutus house. Portia is with the servant Lucius, she asks Lucius to go to the Capitol and bring her back word of what is happening there because she is worried about Brutus.

The soothsayer enters, Portia asks him if Caesar has been to the Capitol yet. The soothsayer says that he is gone to wait for Caesar on his way to the senate. The soothsayer wants to warn Caesar about his concerns that something bad will happen to him. The soothsayer leaves.

Alone on stage, Portia prays for Brutus to succeed in whatever his endeavor is, and tells Lucius to run and check on Brutus for her.

William Shakespeare