Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war
Quote by William Shakespeare: “Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war!”
Shakespeare Quotes: Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war
Before the Capitol; the Senate sitting above. Ay, Caesar; but not gone. Hail, Caesar! Decius Brutus. Trebonius doth desire you to o'erread, At your best leisure, this his humble suit. O Caesar, read mine first; for mine's a suit That touches Caesar nearer: read it, great Caesar.
Definition: Cause chaos and release dogs trained to attack during warfare; create chaos and violence in other situations. Cry havoc means for a military commander to give the order to cause chaos by allowing the soldiers to pillage and otherwise destroy an area. Let slip means to unleash. In modern variations of this phrase let slip is also expressed as release , unleash , let loose , etc. The dogs of war can have a literal meaning , which would be dogs trained to fight in war. In the modern sense, the dogs of war can simply mean soldiers, weaponry, missiles, etc.
I'm Antony. I'm a bit of a brownnoser when it comes to dealing with Caesar, but I stand up for what I think is right when it counts. I'm good with words and I'm really convincing when I talk. And you know what I think? O, pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth, That I am meek and gentle with these butchers! Thou art the ruins of the noblest man That ever lived in the tide of times.
The military order Havoc! The 'let slip' is an allusion to the slip collars that were used to restrain dogs and were easily 'let slip' to allow the dogs to run and hunt. Shakespeare was well aware of the use of the meaning of havoc and he used 'cry havoc' in several of his plays.
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In a soliloquy, he reveals his intention to incite the crowd at Caesar's funeral to rise up against the assassins. Foreseeing violence throughout Italy, Antony even imagines Caesar's spirit joining in the exhortations: "ranging for revenge, with Ate by his side come hot from hell, shall in these confines with a Monarch's voice cry 'Havoc! In a literal reading, "dogs" are the familiar animals, trained for warfare ; "havoc" is a military order permitting the seizure of spoil after a victory and "let slip" is to release from the leash. Apart from the literal meaning, a parallel can be drawn with the prologue to Henry V , where the warlike king is described as having at his heels, awaiting employment, the hounds "famine, sword and fire". Yet another reading interprets "dog" in its mechanical sense "any of various usually simple mechanical devices for holding, gripping, or fastening that consist of a spike, bar, or hook". Thus, the "dogs of war" are the political and societal restraints against war that operate during times of peace.