Motif of Blood in Act II A motif is a reoccurring image throughout a literary work The image and idea of blood is prominent throughout all of Julius Caesar, but it is particularly prominent in Act II. However, blood does not always have the same meaning, figuratively or literally throughout the play. Brutus says: “Do not stain the even virtue of our enterprise . . . To think that our cause . . . Did need an oath when every drop of blood that every Roman bears cements the promises he makes.” What does blood refer to here? In this context, blood means: Roman heritage Loyalty National Identity A biological identity that joins all Romans Why does Brutus mention blood here? What is the significance? Brutus is expressing how the conspirators do not need to swear an oath to be joined together. They are joined by Roman blood already. This context also serves to foreshadow Caesar’s upcoming bloody death. Brutus says: “Our course will seem too bloody” when Cassius asks if they should kill Marc Antony too. What does blood mean here? Here, “bloody” is an adjective, meaning senselessly brutal. What theme does this quote reinforce? Brutus is very concerned about the way the public will interpret the killing of Caesar. This is the same speech in which Brutus worries about whether the conspirators will be seen as “butchers” or “purgers”, or “sacrificers.” While the two are very different professions, both types of men would be involved in bloody acts. Brutus says, “We all stand up against the spirit of Caesar, and in the spirit of men there is no blood.” What is Brutus saying here? He wishes he could kill Caesar’s ambition and spirit, the flaws in his personality, without literally killing his body and spilling his blood. Brutus says: “Caesar must bleed for it!” What does the word ‘bleed’ mean here? Here, bleed is a verb meaning ‘to die’ In Act III, we find out that the murder is indeed a very bloody act. It is not as neat and tidy as Brutus had hoped it would be. Speaking to his wife Portia, Brutus says: “You are . . . As dear to me as are the ruddy drops that visit my sad heart” Here, ruddy drops are literally the fluid, blood. However, they also represent the bond of love. The phrase also creates imagery, but the image of blood is interpreted in different ways by different characters. One character may interpret blood as a life giving force, a source of spirit and strength. Another may interpret blood as a symbol of death, violence and betrayal. Even when blood is not explicitly mentioned, it lingers within the images and metaphors that Shakespeare uses within the text. Working with a partner or solo, fully complete the Themes and Motifs in Act II Assignment Sheet on a lined piece of paper. This assignment will be collected at the end of class.