Internet Shakespeare Editions


Stars and omens

As an epicurean, Cassius believes that the bizarre and unnatural events the night before Caesar's death are irrelevant and mean nothing. But before the end of the play he begins to credit omens with some meaning*.

The debate about the influence of the stars on human fate was very much alive in Shakespeare's time. The Elizabethans saw the world as more intimately interconnected than we do today; the microcosm of the individual or state was echoed in the larger macrocosm of the universe; disorder in the one was likely to be figured by disorder in the other.

The signs of the zodiac and the body.


  1. Signs and portents

    [Cassius speaks to Messala]:
    You know that I held Epicurus strong,
    And his opinion; now I change my mind,
    And partly credit things that do presage.