or more fully: "Et tu, Brute? then falls Caesar!" is the line William Shakespeare put in Gaius Iulius Caesar's mouth at his moment of dying (in the play "Julius Caesar").

The line translates as "You too, Brutus?". However, Shakespeare, great a poet though he was, knew very little Latin (if any at all), and in this line inaccurately paraphrased the line Suetonius put in as Caesar's last words: "Kai sy, teknon?" which is the Greek for "You too, descendent?" or "You too, child?" (It was common gossip in Rome that Brutus was Caesar's illegitemate child).

The fact that Suetonius claims that Caesar's last words were Greek and not Latin, should not strike us as a great surprise, as many (if not the vast majority) of the Roman nobility (the Patricians), were brought up by Greek slaves and quite often spoke and wrote Greek long before Latin.

Caesar echoes these words just before dieing in the play, "Julius Caesar" by William Shakespeare. It translates to, "You too Brutus?" Brutus is the character in the tragedy that betrays Caesar. The line is frequently referenced whenever someone is betrayed by someone they thought was their friend.

Although not in the text of the play, Caesar most likely would repeat this line in Act V of the play. Three characters commit suicide in this Act, Cassius, Titinius, and Brutus. Before the great battle, Brutus sees Caesar's ghost. Brutus asks Caesar what he is, to which he replies, "Thy evil spirit Brutus." this foreshadows Brutus' assisted suicide (by his servants); Caesar is trying to avenge his own death, and killing Brutus would do that.

One can picture Caesar's ghost entering the body of one of Brutus' servants as Brutus impales himself. Caesar has the beautiful wings akin to that of the archangels, spread wide displaying the full glory of Elysium. Caesar screams no longer a question as he stabs Brutus, but a warcry, "Et tu Brute!"

. . .
Julius Caesar, Act III, Scene I
. . .

CINNA: O Caesar -

CAESAR: Hence! Wilt thou lift up Olympus?

DECIUS: Great Caesar -

CAESAR: Does not Brutus bootless kneel?

CASCA: Speak, hands, for me!

[CASCA stabs CAESAR in the neck. CAESAR catches hold of his arm. He is then stabbed by several other conspirators, and at last by MARCUS BRUTUS].

CAESAR: Et tu, Brute? -- Then fall, Caesar!
[Dies. The Senators and People retire in confusion.]
CINNA: Liberty! Freedom! Tyranny is dead! Run hence, proclaim, cry it about the streets.

. . .

The Works of William Shakespeare, Complete, 1937, Walter J Black, Inc. p. 873
Also: http://www.allshakespeare.com/plays/jc/3-1.shtml

I feel I should point out that "Brute", being Latin vocative, should be pronounced "Broot-ay". I have painful memories of our school rehearsal of this scene, in which Caesar would repeatedly ask

Et tu, brute?

At which point the Head of Drama would once again put his head in his hands and weep.

Gritchka suggests this interesting interpretation of the switch to Latin: "Shakespeare, knowing his Suetonius, switched into Latin (which his audience would understand) to convey the real shift into Greek." That is, to capture the change in language in Caesar's original words, Shakespeare did the same: and just as Caesar's audience would have understood the Greek "Και συ, τεκνον;", so Shakespeare's understood Latin. A smart interpretation indeed.

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