What does Julius Caesar mean by &#39

What does Julius Caesar mean by &#39

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Shakespeare Quotes

Cowards die many times before their deaths

“Cowards die many times before their deaths,
The valiant never taste of death but once.”

Julius Caesar
(II, ii, 32-37)

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Caesar’s wife, Calpurnia, has had dreams in which her husband
was murdered. At Caesar’s request, the priests have sacrificed an
animal which, upon being cut open, was discovered to have no heart.
And so they sent word to Caesar that he should stay home on this
fateful day, the ides of March, which the Soothsayer had already
warned him about earlier in the play. Caesar muses, “”What can be
avoided /Whose end is purposed by the mighty gods?” In other words,
if the gods are predicting that he is going to die, then how will
he get around it? He goes on to encourage his wife with the
now-famous lines, finding it strange that men fear death so much,
when death is inevitable in every man’s life. He has been a strong
and brave man, and has not wasted precious hours of his life
anticipating tragedy.

death and sickness , prophecy , dreams


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English Phrase Definitions


Phrase Definitions

Death and Dying

English (language)

What does the phrase cowards die many times before their death mean?

5 Answers

Frank Dauenhauer

Frank Dauenhauer , I love to know the history (etymology) of words and phrases.

What does the phrase cowards die many times before their death mean?

The well-known saying "A coward dies a thousand times, a hero dies but once"* means that a person who lacks courage suffers the feared effects of death many times, while the valiant person doesnt think about death until it arrives.


* “A coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death but once. It seems to me most strange that men should fear, seeing that death, a necessary end, will come when it will come.” William Shakespeare , Julius Caesar

Veerasamy Natarajan

Veerasamy Natarajan , Consultant at Jewelry (2010-present)

A coward is a person who fears to fight due to the fear of death may result at the end. By this unrealistic and fake assumption, he dies every moment and every time when he encounters a struggle or altercationwith someone. This is why a coward die many times. A brave man dies once when he lose a battle but not at all battles he fight out

Kerry Kiefer

Kerry Kiefer , Private Tutor

You do not have the entire quote: “Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste of death but once.” These words were spoken by Caesar, in Julius Caesar, Act II, scene ii, by William Shakespeare. I think your quote should now make sense to you: the comparison with the valiant is integral to the meaning of the statement. The valiant do not think of themselves, but the work ahead of them. There is no time for machinations, jealousies, regrets, or cover-ups. This quote is key to the understanding of the play, too.

Gabrielle Wilkinson Adams

Gabrielle Wilkinson Adams , Prioness, genealogy lover, pod person

What does the phrase cowards die many times before their death mean?

The Cliffs Notes on Julius Caesar (the Shakespeare play in which this quote is found) explains it very well. "Here, he [Shakespeare] uses the metaphor of death to convey how a person feels inside when he or she runs away from a challenge. That person "dies" a little inside each time he or she chickens out, meaning that he or she loses a little strength of character each time he or she refuses to face a challenge of life."

In Julius Caesar, what does this mean: Cowards die many times before their deaths

Patricia Shoup

Patricia Shoup , I am pretty good at grammar on Tuesdays.

I think it means cowards they die of shame for not stepping forward to help people or animals. Just generally standing back and never standing up for human rights etc.