If one man in all the world can be found...

Caesar and Cleopatra

Julius Caesar


Text

If one man in all the world can be found, now or forever, to know that you did wrong, that man will have either to conquer the world as I have, or be crucified by it. (The uproar in the streets again reaches them). Do you hear? These knockers at your gate are also believers in vengeance and in stabbing. You have slain their leader: it is right that they shall slay you. If you doubt it, ask your four counsellors here. And then in the name of that right (he emphasizes the word with great scorn) shall I not slay them for murdering their Queen, and be slain in my turn by their countrymen as the invader of their fatherland? Can Rome do less then than slay these slayers, too, to show the world how Rome avenges her sons and her honor? And so, to the end of history, murder shall breed murder, always in the name of right and honor and peace, until the gods are tired of blood and create a race that can understand. (Fierce uproar. Cleopatra becomes white with terror). Hearken, you who must not be insulted. Go near enough to catch their words: you will find them bitterer than the tongue of Pothinus. (Loftily, wrapping himself up in an impenetrable dignity) Let the Queen of Egypt now give her orders for vengeance, and take her measures for defense; for she has renounced Caesar. (He turns to go).

Shaw, George Bernard, Caesar and Cleopatra, The Modern Library, 1953, p. 185.

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