Caesar, thou art avenged, even with the sword that kill’d thee.
–Cassius, Act V, scene iii, Julius Caesar
In Act V, scene iii, of Julius Caesar, Cassius commits suicide. Having been misled that his dear friend Titinius is slain, Cassius decides he must join him.
For almost two years, I wondered why Cassius had decided to die at that moment. He may have loved Titinius, but Cassius was a soldier; he’d surely lost dear friends before. I read Julius Caesar in grade ten and loved it. By December of grade twelve, though, I was still asking myself why Cassius gave up when he did.
However, I had a resource in December, 1987, that I’d lacked when I’d first read Julius Caesar: a waiter with whom I worked, named Tim. I assisted him some nights at a pretty fancy place. One night, Julius Caesar just happened to come up somehow, so I asked Tim why Cassius had thrown in the towel so early in the battle.
“Simple: guilt,” Tim replied. “Cassius knew he shouldn’t have led the conspiracy to kill Caesar. He regretted it. The guilt was too much for him.”
At once, the question was resolved. It’s remained so since December, 1987. Of all the answers I’ve received my whole life, that one from Tim remains possibly the most satisfying.
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Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.