Julius Caesar: Novel Summary: Act 2, Scene 2
It is still night, and the storm continues. Caesar's wife has a dream in which Caesar is murdered. She tries to persuade Caesar not to leave the house that day. Caesar will not be persuaded, so Calphurnia recounts some of the strange things that have been seen by the night watch. Graves have given up their dead, and there was the noise of battle in the air. But Caesar still insists he will not change his plans. He says that the disturbances pertain to the world in general, not to himself, and anyway, he does not fear death. Then a servant arrives and tells him that the priests, his spiritual advisers, are also telling him not to go out. Again, Caesar will not listen. But Calphurnia tries again, urging Caesar to send Mark Antony in his place to the Senate, with word that Caesar is sick. Caesar finally agrees to stay at home.
But then Decius enters to escort Caesar to the Senate. Caesar explains that he is not going, although he refuses to say that he is sick. Decius says he must give a reason for Caesar's nonappearance, or the Senate will laugh at him when he delivers the news. Caesar says it is simply his will that he will not come. But for Decius's own satisfaction, he confides in him that it is because his wife fears the bad omens in the stormy night. She also had a dream in which she saw his statue running with blood. Decius tells him that the dream has been misinterpreted. It really means that he is the lifeblood of Rome and everyone wants to receive some small aspect of his person, as a blessing. Caesar approves of this interpretation. Decius goes on to say that the Senate plans to award him a crown that day; if he does not arrive in person, they may rethink their decision. Some may say Caesar is afraid. Caesar, convinced by the argument, reverses his decision.
Brutus and the other conspirators enter, as well as Publius, who knows nothing of the plot. Antony also arrives. Caesar invites them all to share some wine with him before they all set forth for the capital.
This scene further reveals Caesar's character. He thinks of himself as courageous and fearless. However, he is also aware of the power of public opinion, since the one thing that persuades him to go to the capital is not that the senators expect him to, but because if he does not go he may be thought of as fearful. This may turn public opinion against him, since no politician, either in ancient Rome or now, wants to be perceived as lacking in courage.