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The meaning and origin of the expression: Et tu, Brute

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Et tu, Brute

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Meaning

Supposedly the last words of Julius Caesar. Literally 'And you, Brutus?'.

Origin

In 44 BC, Julius Caesar was murdered by a group of senators. They were led by Marcus Brutus, who had previously been a close friend of Caesar. There's no substantiated evidence to show that Julius Caesar spoke those words. They come to us via Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar which, like many of his history plays, tends to massage historical record somewhat for dramatic effect. In the play Caesar begins to resist the attack but resigns himself to his fate when he sees that his friend is amongst the plotters:

Caesar: Doth not Brutus bootless kneel?
Casca: Speak, hands, for me! [They stab Caesar.]
Caesar: Et tu, Brute? Then fall, Caesar! [Dies.]
Cinna: Liberty! Freedom! Tyranny is dead!

See other - phrases and sayings from Shakespeare.