Titinius in Julius Caesar

Instructor: Bryan Cowing

Bryan is a freelance writer who specializes in literature. He has worked as an English instructor, editor and writer for the past 10 years.

If you are reading William Shakespeare's play ''Julius Caesar,'' you might have a hard time keeping track of all the characters. Especially characters who do not speak much. In this lesson, we will take a look at Titinius.

Water Boy

The very first time Titinius is mentioned in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar it is not in a flattering way. In Act 1, Scene 2, Cassius is complaining to Brutus about Caesar. Cassius tells Brutus all about the time he and Caesar hung out and Cassius saw him acting like a wimp. In his story, Caesar got sick and was stuck in bed. A soldier, Titinius, was in the tent caring for Caesar when he ''cried 'Give me some drink, Titinius,' As a sick girl.''

While this mention of Titinius might seem small, when we look a little deeper, it is important. Titinius is close enough to Caesar that he is willing to care for him when is sick. In the end, however, Titinius betrays that closeness (assuming it wasn't just an act) and joins Cassius's and Brutus's army after they kill Caesar.

Titinius Trades Sides

We don't hear anything about Titinius until after Caesar is killed. Lo and behold, he is now in Brutus's tent, helping him with his fight against Mark Antony. While they are on the battle field, Cassius and Brutus get into a fight about whether Cassius's men take bribes. Even though both men are on the same side, they continue their argument.

Brutus asks Titinius to guard the door of the tent so the men can focus their energy on arguing with each other. In this instance we see that Titinius is close to Brutus and Cassius now. Instead of serving with Mark Antony (who is fighting to avenge Caesar), Titinius takes orders from Caesar's assassins.

As the battle against Mark Antony intensifies, Titinius and Cassius observe the war from a distance. Titinius realizes that Brutus is in trouble and says that Brutus moved in too soon. Titinius tells Cassius that the soldiers thought they had the battle in the bag, so they started looting everything, and now they are surrounded by Mark Antony's army. Cassius looks towards his own troops and sees fire. He asks that Titinius ride off and checks on Cassius's troops, which he does. Titinius is as obedient as always.

A Mistake

As Titinius rides bravely off to check on the troops, Cassius asks another man, Pindarus, to make sure Titinius gets there okay. Pindarus watches and then tells Cassius that Titinius is surrounded by men. He says the men take Titinius down and then shout for joy.

Cassius is devastated. He says ''Oh, coward that I am, to live so long to see my best friend ta'en before my face!'' In other words, he has no wish to live if his best friend is dead. Cassius asks Pindarus to kill him, and Pindarus does. It is interesting to consider that through all events in the play, losing Titinius was the only one that hit Cassius this hard. It is safe to say that he was important to Cassius.

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