et tu, Brute

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

Borrowed from Latin et tū, Brute?

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /ɛt ˈtu ˌbɹutɛ/

Phrase[edit]

et tu, Brute

  1. "You too, Brutus" or "even you, Brutus"; expression of betrayal.
    • 1591, Shakespeare (disputed), The True Tragedie of Richard Duke of York, and the Death of Good King Henrie the Sixt, Thomas Millington (octavo, 1595), read in Alexander Dyce, Robert Dodsley, Thomas Amyot, A Supplement to Dodsley's Old Plays, Shakespeare Society (1853) p. 176, [note that although this play is generally believed to be an early version of Henry VI, Part Three, the phrase does not appear in the latter (or in the 1600 edition of the former)]
      Prince Edward: Et tu Brute, wilt thou stab Cæsar too? A parlie sirra to George of Clarence.
    • 1599, Shakespeare, Julius Cæsar, read in William Shakespeare, George Long Duyckinck, The Works of Shakespeare: the text regulated by the recently discovered folio of 1632, Redfield (1853) p. 707,
      [Casca stabs Cæsar in the Neck. Cæsar catches hold of his Arm. He is then stabbed by several other Conspirators, and at last by Marcus Brutus.] Cæsar: Et tu, Brute?—Then fall, Cæsar. [Dies. The senators and people retire in confusion.]
    • 1851, Herman Melville, Moby-Dick, or, the Whale, Penguin Classics (1986), ISBN: 0142437247, p. 326
      And that is the reason why a young buck with an intelligent looking calf's head before him, is somehow one of the saddest sights you can see. The head looks a sort of reproachfully at him, with an “Et tu Brute!” expression.
    • 2002, Randall (EDT) Martin, footnote in Henry VI, Part Three, Oxford University Press, ISBN: 0192831410, p. 112,
      But according to the Oxford editor of Julius Caesar, 'Et tu, Brute' had probably already become a popular tag by the time of True Tragedy [see 1591 cite], readily understood by English speakers just as it is today.
    • 2006, Maria Wyke, Julius Caesar in Western Culture, Blackwell Publishing, ISBN: 1405125985, p. 223,
      "Et tu, Brute?" (3.1.76). This familiar but strange, strangely familiar, anachronistic foreign language at the heart of Julius Caesar is the only Latin in all of Shakespeare's so-called Roman plays.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Used figuratively from 1591 (sometimes jocularly) to express shock and sadness at the treachery of a good friend. Although apparently an Elizabethan invention, a "genuine antique reproduction" (see Marjorie B. Garber, Shakespeare's Ghost Writers: Literature as Uncanny Causality, Routledge (UK) (1997), ISBN: 0415918693, pp.54-55) it appears to have been well known in England before its use in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.

Quotations[edit]

Translations[edit]


Latin[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

IPA(key): /ɛt ˈtuː ˈbruːtɛ/

Phrase[edit]

et , Brute?

  1. Even you, Brutus?
  2. And you too, Brutus?

Usage notes[edit]

Although the phrase is put into the mouth of Julius Caesar by Richard Eedes, and later Shakespeare, contemporary accounts suggest this is historically incorrect. According to Marjorie B. Garber, Shakespeare's Ghost Writers: Literature as Uncanny Causality, Routledge (UK) (1997), ISBN: 0415918693, p.54, the 18th century Shakespearean scholar Edmond Malone wrote that it was used in a latin play (since lost):

1582, Richard Edes [sic], Epilogus Caesaris Interfecti.

(According to George Steevens, another 18th century Shakespearean scholar (read in A. Chalmers, The plays of William Shakspeare, printed from the text of the corrected copy left by G. Steevens, with a selection of notes from the most eminent commentators, &c. (1805), p. 244), the play's author was Richard Eedes, based in Oxford and later one of the translators of the King James Bible.)