Caesar Ignores the Signs



JULIUS CAESAR is getting ready to meet with the Senate. His wife, CALPURNIA, tries to talk him out of it.


CALPURNIA: Husband, please. I had a premonition—your statue drenched in blood.


CAESAR: The blood of my enemies, no doubt! Thank you, that’s a nice confidence-booster.


CALPURNIA: But don’t you remember what the soothsayer said? “Beware the Ides of March.”


CAESAR: Let’sjust cross that Rubicon when we come to it. When are the Ides?




CAESAR: And we’re fine! See, nothing to worry about. Now, where did I put those laurels…


CALPURNIA: Have you read the letterArtemidorus wrote you?


CAESAR: Ugh, Artemidorus.The “diviner.” We’ll see who’s diviner. You know I’m a descendant of Venus, right?


CALPURNIA: Yes, you’ve mentioned that many times.


CAESAR: Good. So what’s in this letter?


CALPURNIA: He says to beware Brutus, come not near Casca, trust not Trebonius, and mark well Metellus—


CAESAR: Boy, that’s a lot of alliteration.A little flowery for my tastes. But, in the spirit of democracy, what’sold Artie say about Cinna?


CALPURNIA: “Have an eye to Cinna.”


CAESAR: I’m no Catullus, but if you’re going to run with the alliteration, at least be consistent.


CALPURNIA: Husband, focus.


CAESAR: What’s our fireplace got to do with this? Anyway,the Senate adores me.Brutus and I have this special handshake—he’s always like, “Et tu, Caesar!” And I’m like, “Et tu, Brute!” It’s cute.


CALPURNIA: Didn’t you lie with Brutus’s mother?


CAESAR: I fail to see how that’s relevant.


CALPURNIA: Then why this morning did I overhear Brutus asking Casca how one might remove blood stains from one’s toga?


CAESAR: We get blood on our togas all the time! Do you know how many sheep I’ve sacrificed this week? I don’t even know who I’m sacrificing them to. I just don’t want to offend some minor deity who then burns my toast for the rest of my life.


CALPURNIA: Brutus specified that it would be human blood.


CAESAR: My guess? Requiescat in pace, Artemidorus. Guy’s got a spottier track record than that meteorologist who forecasts the weather by rummaging through bull innards.


CALPURNIA: I also saw several senators gleefully sharpening their daggers. One made a throat-cutting gesture and winked at me.


CAESAR: What? Which one?


CALPURNIA: Trebonius.


CAESAR: Well, trust not Trebonius. Now, when you say “several”—




CAESAR: Sixty?


CALPURNIA: Much of the Senate plots against you.


CAESAR: Why would anyone want to kill their boss?




CAESAR: Sixty guys, wow. They must be planning something big—a surprise deification ceremony!(laughs) Boy, that is really going to stick in Artemidorus’s craw.


CALPURNIA:I worry more about daggers sticking in your back.


CAESAR:Even if you’re right, how bad could it be? You stab a person four, five times, tops. He’s dead, we get it.


CALPURNIA: Husband, I beg you—


CAESAR: Look, Cal. I know it’s the Ides, and the soothsayer soothsaid some things, and you had a scary dream, and Artemidorus warned me about a scheme, and the fellas were sharpening their blades and making menacing gestures, and pretty much everything that’s happened this past month portends a grisly end for your beloved Julius…


CALPURNIA:Why do I foresee a “but”?


CAESAR: …but I’ve got a really great feeling about this meeting. I think it’s going to be rather momentous. Historic, even.