Claudius
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Quotes for
Claudius (Character)
from "I, Claudius" (1976)

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"I, Claudius: Queen of Heaven (#1.7)" (1976)
Claudius: Why do you allow Caligula to act like that?
Livia: Because it amuses me. And because he will be the next emperor of Rome.
[Claudius stares]
Livia: You don't believe me?
Claudius: If you say so, grandmother. You know I don't concern myself with higher politics. Still, what about Castor? And Caligula has two older brothers.
Livia: Castor is ill and Thrasyllus says he won't recover. He also says Tiberius will choose Caligula to succeed him.
Claudius: Why?
Livia: Vanity. Tiberius wants to be loved, at least after his death if not before. And the best way to ensure that...
Claudius: Is to have someone worse to follow him. He's certainly no fool.
Livia: He's the biggest fool in my family. I had always thought that that was you... but I think now I was wrong.

Claudius: What do you think it means?
Herod: I would think it means that she wishes you to dine with her. I'd take my own wine if I were you.

[of Livia]
Claudius: We haven't even spoken for seven years. Did you know the last time she spoke to me was when Caligula burned the house down? Even then all she said was, "If you haven't got a bucket, piss on it."

Claudius: What about my father, who was your son? And Germanicus, who was my brother? Did you poison them?
Livia: No. Your father died of his wounds, and Placina poisoned Germanicus without instructions from me. But I had marked them both down for death. They were both infected with that infantile disorder known as "Republicanism."

Claudius: Grandmother, after all these years, you didn't invite me to dinner just to tell me this.
Livia: The wine has made you bolder.
Claudius: You said you kept in with Caligula because he is to be the next emperor.
Livia: Lost your stutter as well.
Claudius: But if by then you're dead, what difference can it make?

Claudius: Grandmother... who killed Marcellus?
[Long pause]
Livia: I did. The empire needed Agrippa more then it needed Marcellus. And then I poisoned Agrippa later because I knew that his wife was in love with Tiberius, but if Tiberius married her Augustus would make him emperor. My son botched that up of course...
Claudius: And Julia's sons by Agrippa, how did they die?
Livia: Gaius I had poisoned while he was in Syria.
Claudius: You have a long reach.
Livia: The empire is very large, I need one. Lucius was drowned in a boating accident arranged by his friend Platius.
Claudius: And... Postumus?
[pause]
Livia: You were really fond of him weren't you?
Claudius: [quietly] Yes, grandmother.
Livia: He was useless. I had to get rid of Postumus; he was a threat to Tiberius. Besides, he knew I had his mother banished.

Livia: [as Claudius is leaving] Wait. Here.
[gives him a scroll]
Livia: That is a collection of Sibylline verses rejected from the official book.
Claudius: Why are you giving it to me?
Livia: Because it predicts that you will, one day, be Emperor.
[Claudius stares at her for a moment, then guffaws hysterically]

Livia: Tiberius wants to be loved, at least after his death if not before. And the best way to insure that...
Claudius: ...is to have someone worse to follow him. Yes, naturally. He's certainly no fool.
Livia: He's the biggest fool in my family. I've always thought that that was you. But I think now... I was wrong.
Claudius: [Claudius pauses, crafting a response] Grandmother, after all these years you didn't invite me to dinner just to tell me this.
Livia: Wine has made you bold, hasn't it.
Claudius: You said you kept in with Caligula because he was to be the next emperor.
Livia: Lost your stutter too I see.
Claudius: But if by then you're dead, what difference can it make to you?
Livia: Oh, it makes a lot of difference. And that's really why you're here.
[Pleadingly]
Livia: I want to be a goddess, Claudius.


"I, Claudius: Fool's Luck (#1.11)" (1976)
Senator: There are those who say you cannot hear properly, you cannot speak properly, and that you've got no experience of government.
Claudius: And that I am besides half-witted. Senators, it is true that I am hard of hearing, but you will find it is not for want of listening. As for speaking, again, it's true I have an impediment. But isn't what a man says more important than how long he takes to say it? It's true again I have little experience of government. But then, have you more? I at least have lived with the imperial family who has ruled this empire ever since you so spinelessly handed it over to us. I've observed it working more closely than any of you. Is your experience better than that? As for being half-witted, well, what can I say - except that I have survived to middle age with *half* my wits, while thousands have died with *all* of theirs intact. Evidently, *quality* of wits is more important than *quantity*. Senators, I shall do nothing unconstitutional; I shall appear at the next session of the senate where you may confirm me in my position or not as you wish. But if it pleases you not to, explain your reasons to them
[points at the Praetorians]
Claudius: Not to me.

Herod: Listen Claudius, let me give you a piece of advice.
Claudius: Oh, I thought you'd finished giving advice.
Herod: Well, just one more piece, then I'm done. Trust no one, my friend, no one. Not your most grateful freedman. Not your most intimate friend. Not your dearest child. Not the wife of your bosom. Trust no one.
Claudius: No one? Not even you?

Senator: You are not fit to be Emperor.
Claudius: I agree. But nor was my nephew.
Senator: Then what difference is there between you?
Claudius: He would not have agreed. And by now your head would be on that floor for saying so.

Claudius: [Cassius Chaerea and three senators are on trial for murdering Caligula] I cannot find it in me to condemn you, Cassius, for murdering my nephew. But you also murdered the lady Caesonia and their child, and you meant to murder me and my wife, none of whom had ever done you any harm. Is this true?
Cassius Chaerea: I did it for the Republic, and I'd do it again.
Claudius: No, you did it more for injuries to yourself. But even *that* doesn't weigh with me. What weighs with me is what I've heard: that it was agreed among you that only Caligula should die, but that you took it upon yourself to kill us all. Is that true?
Cassius Chaerea: Why should I deny it, when your very existence here proves that only your death would have insured the return of the Republic?
Claudius: Then you leave me no choice, but to condemn you for the murder of the Lady Caesonia and her child.
[to the guards]
Claudius: Take him away.
Cassius Chaerea: Congratulations Caesar. You've just passed your first sentence of death. How many more before the people grow tired and pass one on you? Isn't that the way we've set for ourselves, Caesar? Think about it, Caesar. Think about it.
Claudius: [looks at the Senators who are also on trial] The investigation into this affair... is closed.

Claudius: [at the end of a session with irreverent doctor Xenophon] Well, don't you prescribe special prayers to be used when taking medicine?
Xenophon: I suggest, Caesar, that as High Pontiff and the author of a book on religion, you are more qualified to prescribe prayers than I am.
Claudius: Do you Greeks believe in nothing?
Xenophon: I told you what I believe in. Briony.
[turns to go, stops, turns back]
Xenophon: [salutes casually] Hail Caesar.


"I, Claudius: Old King Log (#1.13)" (1976)
The Sybil: Why are you laughing?
Claudius: I've cheated them again. They think I'm dead.
The Sybil: But you *are* dead, you fool. You're as dead as anyone can be.

Claudius: Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out.

Claudius: By dulling the blade of tyranny, I reconciled Rome to the monarchy.

Claudius: I killed Britannicus' mother. I've been less than a father to him ever since.


Demetrius and the Gladiators (1954)
Messalina: What is your name?
Demetrius: Demetrius.
Messalina: You spoke of a god, Demetrius. Which god?
Demetrius: There is only one God.
Claudius: He's one of "them". This is very interesting. A Christian!
Messalina: Are you a Christian?
Demetrius: Yes.
Messalina: And you won't fight?
Demetrius: No.
Claudius: He can't my dear. It's against his religion to kill.

Caligula: [hallucinating] Do you see her Claudius ? The Goddess Diana. Every night she comes to me. My arms. There there she goes. Now do you see her ?
Claudius: No, sire.
Caligula: [angrily] Why not ?
Claudius: Only you gods are privileged to see each other.

Caligula: I have the power of life and death over every being in the empire! My power is as great as any god's! True?
Claudius: True, sire.
Caligula: Why should I have to die? Who should I have to suffer death like any plebeian, any slave? Is that logical? Is it?
Claudius: No, sire.

Claudius: Men do not kill what they despise - only what they fear.


I, Claudius (1937)
Caligula: How wonderful to see you again, dear Uncle Claudius. I thought you were on your farm.
Claudius: I was or-or-
Caligula: You were or-or
Claudius: Ordered to attend.
Caligula: I hear you're teaching your pigs to read. Is that true?
Claudius: My pigs? Why?
Caligula: So as to have readers for all the Roman histories you write.

Claudius: I only limp with my tongue, and stutter with my leg. Nature never quite finished me.

Claudius: It's good to see y-you're better, Caesar.
Caligula: I haven't been ill. I'm simply undergoing a change. It's the most momentous transformation that any human being has ever achieved. A prophecy is about to be fulfilled. I am being - reborn.
Claudius: I hope your condition is not t-t-too painful.
Caligula: It is painful to be one's own mother. Well, idiot, can't you see any change in me?
Claudius: I was blind not to see it instantly. You're no longer human. May I be the first to worship you, as a g-g-g-god?
Caligula: It took you a long time to perceive that I'm no longer human.

Claudius: Caligula was murdered. He ruled by force, but a state such as I hope to establish cannot condone murder. For violence is an enemy to justice. And in the name of justice, I call upon the murderers of Caligula to step forward.
Capt. of Caligula's Guard: We killed a tyrant, Caesar.
Claudius: But you broke your solemn oaths as Roman soldiers, to protect your Emperor. You didn't strike for your country. You killed in the name of your own private grudges. I was with you Cassius, when the tyrant kicked you, but you were not content with one single murder. You caused the death of Caliguls'a wife and of hundreds at the palace. What fate do you consider you deserve?
Capt. of Caligula's Guard: Death, Claudius.
Claudius: For that answer, I will take your families under my protection. But for the crime of murder, I must sentence you Cassius, and you Lupus, to - death. I will call upon the army to have that sentence executed.


"I, Claudius: Reign of Terror (#1.8)" (1976)
[Antonia is sitting outside Livilla's locked door]
Livilla: [screaming and pounding from the inside] Mother! Let me out! Let me out!
Claudius: How long are you going to sit here?
Antonia: Until she dies.
Claudius: Dies? Dies? Have you gone mad? She is your daughter.
[no answer]
Claudius: How can you leave her to die?
Antonia: That's her punishment.
Claudius: How can you sit out here and listen to her?
Antonia: And that's mine.

[when Sejanus falls, his sister, Claudius's once-arrogant wife, begs him for protection]
Aelia: [hysterical] They've even murdered his children!
Claudius: [horrified] His children?
Aelia: Yes! They raped the little girl before they killed her! And they dressed the boy up in his manly clothes! Apicata killed herself before they got to her!
[sounds outside the house draw her in panic to the window, as Claudius bursts into tears]
Claudius: Rome, you are finished! Finished!
[sobbing]
Claudius: You are despicable...

Claudius: Caligula, if you get the chance, you must speak up for them.
Caligula: Of course I shall. For mother, anyway. To tell you the truth, I couldn't give a damn about Drusus and Nero.
Claudius: But they're your brothers.
Caligula: Yes, I know. But then, you don't like Aunt Livilla, and she's your sister. Now, I *love* my sisters, uncle.
Claudius: Yes, I know.


"I, Claudius: Hail Who? (#1.10)" (1976)
Caligula: Do you think I'm mad?
Claudius: Mad?
Caligula: Yes, sometimes I think that I'm going mad. Do you - be honest with me - has that thought ever crossed your mind?
Claudius: Never. Never. The idea is preposterous. You set the standard of sanity for the whole world.

[first lines]
[Claudius receives a letter with a small box]
Claudius: It's from Herod.
Calpurnia: What does he say?
Claudius: Oh, it's written from J-Jerusalem.
Calpurnia: Read it to me; his letters are so amusing.
Claudius: [reading] "My dear old friend, what is all this I hear about your living in three rooms in the p-poor quarter of town? Is it serious?"
[Calpurnia laughs]
Claudius: "Why did you not write to me? Is it that absurd p-pride of yours? Well, I shall attend to that shortly. Meanwhile, knowing how loath you are to accept m-money, and being the only practical friend you ever had, I enclose a little p-present for you. Please make proper use of it. Herod."
Calpurnia: What is it? It seems very small.
Claudius: Hnh, I don't know.
[Claudius opens the box. It is a set of four dice]
Calpurnia: Well, I don't think that's very generous.
[Claudius shakes the dice and rolls them - twenty-four, all sixes]
Calpurnia: Venus! Oh, Claudius, I think your luck is changing.
[Claudius rolls them again - all sixes again]
Calpurnia: I'm sure it's an omen.
[a third time - all sixes yet again]
Calpurnia: Those dice are crooked. You can't possibly use them.
[Claudius rolls them a fourth time. They both break up laughing]
Claudius: Ah, dear Herod. How I miss him.

[regarding Caligula]
Caesonia: Claudius, we must help him, the emperor.
Claudius: He's your husband, you help him.
Caesonia: Claudius, he's sick. He needs good people around him.
Claudius: He's killed them all.


"I, Claudius: Poison Is Queen (#1.5)" (1976)
[about Augustus being deified]
Claudius: I believe it was foretold.
Livia: Really. Who foretold it?
Claudius: Jove.
Livia: Jove, eh?
Claudius: A hundred days ago he melted the 'C' off one of Augustus' statues.
Livia: And what does that mean, idiot head?
Claudius: If you strike the letter 'C' from the word 'Caesar,' the word 'aesar' is left. And in Etruscan 'aesar' means 'God'.
Livia: If the gods were going to give us a message, why wouldn't they give it to us in Latin?

[Repeated line]
Claudius: Poison is Queen.


"I, Claudius: A God in Colchester (#1.12)" (1976)
Claudius: But who is this "Messiah?"
Marsus: A king, Caesar, who is to come and redeem Israel of all its sins. Philo, their greatest living scholar says that he is to be descended from King David, and born in a village called, em...
[his aide whispers in his ear]
Marsus: What?
[the aide whispers again]
Marsus: Bethlehem.

[on Jesus Christ]
Claudius: So he has followers, then?
Marsus: Oh, yes, yes, it's a cult. There are always cults, Caesar.


"I, Claudius: Zeus, by Jove! (#1.9)" (1976)
[Caligula has recovered from his illness]
Caligula: I was never really ill. I was undergoing a metamorphosis.
Claudius: Oh... was it painful?
Caligula: It was like a birth... in which the mother delivers herself.
Claudius: Oh. It must have been painful.

[Claudius returns to Drusilla and Herod, after visiting Caligula, who has proclaimed himself a god]
Claudius: [to Drusilla] He wants to see you.
[to Herod]
Claudius: He's become a god.
[to Drusilla]
Claudius: Oh, you're a god, too.
[to Herod]
Claudius: We're not.


"I, Claudius: A Touch of Murder (#1.1)" (1976)
[first lines]
Claudius: I, Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus... this, that and the other...