Et Tu Brute Meaning
Definition: And you, Brutus?
It is common for people to use this expression when someone whom they did not expect has betrayed them.
Origin of Et Tu Brute
This is one of many expressions that the famous English playwright William Shakespeare popularized. This quote appeared in the play Julius Caesar, a tragedy likely written around the year 1599.
This play revolves around the historical figure of a leader of Rome, Julius Caesar. In the play, other political leaders, senators, were worried that Caesar would become the emperor of Rome. They did not want Rome to have an emperor; they wanted Rome to be a republic. Therefore, they conspired to murder Caesar.
One of the conspirators, Brutus, was a friend of Caesar’s. He did not want to kill Caesar, but believed he had to in order to prevent Caesar from becoming an emperor and, as a result, destroying the Republic of Rome.
When Brutus and the other senators assassinated Caesar, Caesar spoke to Brutus, asking him how he could betray him in such a way through the Latin question, Et tu, Brute?
Examples of Et Tu Brute
In the first example, two employees are talking together a promotion that the man did not receive.
Marcus: I can’t believe I got passed over for that promotion! The boss said that I was too unreliable. He said that I missed too many days of work, that I was often behind deadlines, and that I’m bad at managing other people. What nonsense, am I right?
Marcus: You agree with him?
Patsy: Sorry, but there is some truth behind those claims.
Marcus: Et tu, Brute? I thought you were my friend.
Patsy: I am your friend. That’s why I want to be honest with you!
This excerpt precedes a recipe for an alcoholic beverage named after this expression.
- Everyone’s favorite self-proclaimed “dictator in perpetuity” was born on July 13, around 100 B.C., which put him someplace north of 2110 years old, if he hadn’t run into that pesky assassin Marcus Junius Brutus after hours. Anyone for an “Et Tu, Brute”? –Denver Post
This excerpt is about the historical facts regarding this expression.
- Although Shakespeare quoted Caesar speaking in Latin, “Et tu, Brute,” meaning “Even you, Brutus?” historians said Caesar, who was bilingual, actually said the phrase in Greek, DeRousse said. –Chicago Tribune
Et tu, Brute? is a famous historical quote, and line from a famous play. It shows the shock at, and betrayal of, a person whom the speaker once trusted.