The Fault, Dear Brutus Examples
This phrase, "The fault, dear Brutus," appears in William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. Cassius is the speaker, and he is attempting to convince Brutus that the best course of action for Rome is for them to ensure that Julius Caesar is removed from power. These are the lines and context from Cassius' speech to Brutus in the play:
Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
Like a Colossus, and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs, and peep about
To find ourselves dishonorable graves.
Men at some time are masters of their fates;
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.
Brutus and Caesar: what should be in that "Caesar"?
Why should that name be sounded more than yours?
Write them together, yours is as fair a name;
Sound them, it doth become the mouth as well;
Weigh them, it is as heavy; conjure with 'em,
"Brutus" will start a spirit as soon as "Caesar."
Now in the names of all the gods at once,
Upon what meat doth this our Caesar feed
That he is grown so great? Age, thou art sham'd!
Rome, thou hast lost the breed of noble bloods!
When went there by an age since the great flood
But it was fam'd with more than with one man?
When could they say, till now, that talk'd of Rome,
That her wide walks encompass'd but one man?
Now is it Rome indeed and room enough,
When there is in it but one only man.
O! You and I have heard our fathers say
There was a Brutus once that would have brook'd
Th' eternal devil to keep his state in Rome
As easily as a king.
What Cassius is attempting to say to Brutus is that fate, or "the stars," does not control their destinies. The only reason that Caesar is more powerful than they are is because they are complicit in being "underlings." They are content to be subservient to Caesar. Cassius is saying that it is not fate that made Caesar great, but their own subservience.
During Shakespeare's time, there was much belief in "the stars," or the power of fate to control a person's destiny. For example, in Romeo and Juliet, the two are referred to as "star-crossed lovers," because the stars are not aligned for them to be together, thus they come to a tragic end. However, Cassius is trying to say that men control their own destiny-if they are unhappy with their lot in life, the fault is not in the stars, but in themselves. His assertion calls into question a widely-held belief in Elizabethan England.
This phrase continues to be used today when encouraging someone to have faith him him/herself.
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