Act III. Scene I.- Rome. Before the Capitol;
the Senate sitting above.
Caesar: "Et tu, Brute?"
Caesar arrogantly tells the Soothsayer that
today is the "ides of March [the 15th of March]" but
the Soothsayer tells him the day is not over yet...
Artemidorus nearly warns Caesar but Decius Brutus
prevents this. Popilius wishes the conspirators good
luck, terrifying them that Caesar knows their plans.
Metellus Cimber petitions Caesar to lift his brother's
banishment order. Caesar refuses and the conspirators
kill Caesar. Mark Antony flees. Mark Antony pretends
to treat Caesar's murderers as friends. He
asks to speak at Caesar's funeral. Cassius
thinks this is dangerous, Brutus, disagreeing, lets
Mark Antony speak at the funeral. Mark Antony reveals
his true hatred for the conspirators. Octavius, Mark
Antony's ally is to stay safe outside of Rome a
We see a crowd of people, numbering amongst them, Artemidorus,
The Soothsayer, Caesar and several of his would-be
murderers. These would-be murders are Brutus, Cassius,
Casca, Decius Brutus, Metellus, Trebonius and Cinna.
Mark Antony, Lepidus Popilius, Publius and others are
Caesar opens the scene by remarking to the Soothsayer
that "The ides of March are come" to which the Soothsayer
replies they the day is not over yet: "Ay, Caesar;
but not yet gone" (Lines 1-2).
Artemidorus hails Caesar, asking him to read his
schedule, which of course is his warning letter (Line
Decius tries to distract Caesar, telling him to
read it when he has the time, but Artemidorus demands
that his schedule (his warning letter) be read immediately
Caesar now ignores it, telling him to instead
come to the Capitol rather than petition him in the
street (Lines 11-12).
With Caesar entering the Senate house, Popilius
wishes Cassius that his enterprise will "thrive [be
successful]" (Line 13). This worries Brutus and Cassius
no end, but Casca tells them to keep going, they cannot
turn back now.
Popilius Lena now speaks with Caesar but Brutus
warns them not to worry since Caesar's expression
has not changed (Line 24). This would mean Caesar
would have been told their plan.
Trebonius now draws Mark Antony away and Metellus Cimber
addresses Caesar (Lines 24-33). Metellus asks that
the banishment of his brother be repealed, Cassius joining
this petition for Publius Cimber (Lines 36-55).
Caesar refuses, famously saying "I am constant
as the northern star," (Line 60) and so refuses this
request (Lines 57-73).
Cinna, Decius Brutus and Casca now all move in closer,
seemingly begging Caesar to change his mind; instead
they stab Caesar (Line 76).
Caesar falls, saying "Et tu, Brute? (and
you Brutus, why?) and then dies, exclaiming "Then fall,
Caesar!" (Line 77).
Cinna now pronounces "Liberty! Freedom! Tyranny is
dead!" (Line 78) and Brutus tells the remaining senators
to be calm, "ambitions debt [Caesar] is paid" (Line
Brutus now tells a shocked Publius that neither he
nor any other Roman has anything to fear from Brutus
and the conspirators (Lines 84-92).
Trebonius tells us that Mark Antony has fled to his
house amazed and Brutus tells the other conspirators
to "Stoop," adding "And let us bathe our hands
in Caesar's blood" adding that "waving
our red weapons o'er [over] our heads, / Let's
all cry, 'Peace, freedom, and liberty!'" (Lines 105
A servant of Mark Antony's arrives and securing Brutus'
assurance that Mark Antony will not be harmed, Mark
Antony arrives to speak with Brutus. Mark Antony, overwhelmed
by the sight of his dead friend, begs to join him but
Brutus tells Mark Antony not to, explaining that their
hearts are pitiful; they killed Caesar for Rome
Brutus now asks Mark Antony to be patient; once the
multitudes (crowds) have calmed down, he will explain
"Why I, that did love Caesar when I struck
him, / Have thus proceeded [killed him]" (I, that loved
Caesar chose to join the assassination), (Line 182).
Mark Antony, wishing to stay alive, diplomatically
explains that "I doubt not of your wisdom" (Line 183),
asking each man to render (offer) him his bloody hand
which he then shakes. First he shakes Marcus Brutus'
hand, then the hands of Caius Cassius, Decius Brutus,
Metellus Cimber, Cinna, Casca and finally Trebonius.
Now Mark Antony announces that "My credit now stands
on such slippery ground, / That one of two bad ways
you must conceit me, / Either a coward or a flatterer"
He explains that he loved Caesar dearly and that
it should grieve Caesar's spirit more than
death to see Mark Antony now make peace with his enemies
but he explains that Caesar must forgive him. Cassius
interrupts, but Mark Antony says the enemies of Caesar
will see him this way for forgetting Caesar's
name so quickly (Lines 192-213).
Cassius now asks Mark Antony whether they can consider
him a friend or someone they cannot depend on...
Antony explains that he shook the conspirator's
hands because though he was swayed by the sight of Caesar,
he must assume the conspirators whom he loves as friends,
must have had a good reason for their actions (Lines
Brutus finishes Mark Antony's reasoning by suggesting
that their actions would indeed be savage were it not
for the fact that they acted for very good reasons which
even if Mark Antony were the son of Caesar, would
he be satisfied (Lines 222-226).
Antony answers that he can ask for nothing more but
to also speak at Caesar's funeral.
Cassius now advises against this: "You know not what
you do; do not consent / That Antony speak in his [Caesar's]
funeral: / Know you how much the people may be mov'd
/ By that which he will utter?" (you do not realize
what you are doing if you let Mark Antony speak at the
funeral. Do you realize how moved the people could be
by his words?), (Lines 232-235).
Cassius fears that Antony with his gift of the gab
may turn the Romans against them. Can Brutus be sure
of what Antony will say?
Brutus disagrees, giving Mark Antony permission against
the wishes of a very nervous Cassius. As a precaution
however, Brutus will speak first; this should guarantee
the support of Rome. Additionally, Antony will not blame
them but will only be able to speak "all good you can
devise of Caesar," (only the good things you can
say about Caesar), (Line 246, 236-252).
With Mark Antony now alone, we learn his true feelings
(Lines 256-273). He is extremely upset that "these butchers;"
(Line 255) have killed Caesar and again begging
Caesar's forgiveness, fears all of Italy shall
be plunged into domestic strife and that Caesar's
spirit, full of rage and fury, shall "Cry 'Havoc!'
and let slip the dogs of war;" (Line 273).
A Servant now greets Antony. He comes from Octavius
and by word of mouth, tells us that Octavius is not
far away, lying within "seven leagues of Rome" (Line
Antony tells the Servant to tell Octavius what has
happened, also telling Octavius to stay outside Rome
for a little while longer; Rome is still dangerous for
the adopted son of Caesar. Additionally Mark Antony
tells this servant to stay in Rome just a little longer
before returning to Octavius so he can tell Octavius
of the state of the people of Rome after Mark Antony
has made his speech. Following this, Mark Antony and
the Servant exit, carrying away Caesar's body. (Lines
Act III. Scene II. - The Same. The Forum.
Mark Antony: "Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me
your ears; I come to bury Caesar, not to praise
Brutus and Cassius explain to the Citizens of Rome
why they killed Caesar, gaining their support.
Mark Antony turns the citizens of Rome against Brutus
and Cassius by making the Citizens feel remorse for
Caesar's cruel death and by bribing then with
the news that Caesar's will gives each citizen
money. Mark Antony uses this fact to suggest Caesar
was a great man who should not have been murdered. The
crowd, now an angry, crazed mob, go after the conspirators
including Brutus and Cassius who flee in fear...
The scene begins with Brutus and Cassius surrounded
by a "throng of Citizens." These demand to
be satisfied. The Citizens intend to hear the reasoning
of both Brutus and Cassius and then will make up their
minds on the worthiness of their reasons for killing
Caesar (Lines 1-11).
Brutus now takes to the pulpit and begins his speech
justifying the assassination (Lines 12-68).
Telling his audience to "Be patient to the last
[end] " he begins with the lines, "Romans, countrymen,
and lovers! hear me for my cause; and be silent, that
you may hear: believe me for mine honour, and have respect
to mine honour, that you may believe: censure me in
your wisdom, and awake your senses, that you may the
better judge" (Lines 12-17).
Having told his audience to awaken their senses and
be silent so they may better judge him, Brutus explains
that there is no one in the audience who could say the
loved Caesar any more than Brutus. He then adds
that should anyone in the audience then ask why "Brutus
rose against Caesar," he famously answers: "Not
that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome
Brutus now asks whether the crowd before him would
prefer to be slaves under Caesar's rule rather
than have Caesar dead and be free? "Had you rather
Caesar were living, and die all slaves, than that
Caesar were dead, to live all free men?" Brutus
Brutus explains that "As Caesar loved me, I weep
for him; as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he
was valiant, I honour him; but, as he was ambitious,
I slew him."
He adds that within him, "There is tears for his love;
joy for his fortune; honour for his valour; and death
for his ambition" asking "Who is here so base [vulgar]
that would be a bondman?"
Brutus asking if there is anyone here he has offended,
asks, "Who is here so rude that would not be a Roman?"
and "Who is here so vile that will not love his country?"
telling the crowd that he pauses to wait for a reply.
The Citizens in unison answer "None Brutus, none" (Line
Satisfied, Brutus adds that since he has not offended
anyone, he explains that he has done no more to Caesar
than the crowd should do to him, Brutus.
With Caesar's body now entering the forum,
Brutus introduces Mark Antony, explaining that he had
no part in the assassination. He adds that he will now
leave and just as he killed Caesar for the good
of Rome, Brutus will now kill himself when required,
with the same dagger.
Brutus: "With this I depart: that, as I slew my best
lover [Caesar] for the good of Rome, I have the
same dagger for myself, when it shall please my country
to need my death" (Lines 48-52).
The Citizens say no, suggesting that he should have
a statue, be named Caesar and arguing that "Caesar's
better parts / Shall be crown'd in Brutus" (Line
Brutus tells the crowd to let him now leave, but that
they should pay tribute to Caesar's corpse
and to hear Mark Antony's speech,"which Mark Antony,
/ By our permission, is allowed to make. I do entreat
[ask] you, not a man depart," (Lines 64-67).
The Citizens are convinced. "This Caesar was a
tyrant" (Line 75), the First Citizen says, whilst other
citizens warn that Mark Antony had better not speak
badly of Brutus (Line 74).
Mark Antony asks for silence with the words "You gentle
Romans, -" and moments later famously begins his speech:
"Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears; I come
to bury Caesar, not to praise him" (Line 79). Antony
now adds that "The evil that men do lives after them,
/ The good is oft [often] interred with their bones;
/ So let it be with Caesar" (Line 83).
Mark Antony now begins his attack, not by attacking
Brutus but rather by questioning Brutus' credibility:
The noble Brutus / Hath told you Caesar
was ambitious; / If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
/ And grievously hath [has] Caesar answered it.
Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest,- / For Brutus
is an honourable man; / So are they all honourable men....
Antony sarcastically explains that he is here today
to speak at Caesar's funeral since "He was
my friend, faithful and just to me: / But Brutus says
he was ambitious; / And Brutus is an honourable man"
Mark Antony now adds that Caesar brought "many
captives home to Rome, / Whose ransoms did the general
coffers fill:" asking if making Rome rich is ambitious?
Antony now builds up Caesar remarking how when
the poor cried, "Caesar hath wept;" adding that
"Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:" (Line 98).
Yet Mark Antony sarcastically explains again that Brutus
says that Caesar was ambitious, again suggesting
that Brutus cannot be wrong for "Brutus is an honourable
man" (Line 100).
Antony reminds the audience now how they saw this all
for themselves at the Lupercal, (Caesar's procession
in Act I, Scene II). Three times Mark Antony presented
Caesar with a crown and three times Caesar
refused it: "was this ambition?" (Line 103) Antony asks,
ending again with the line that for sure, Brutus is
"an honourable man" (Lines 101-105).
Now Antony explains that he is not here to disprove
what Brutus has said but to "speak what I do know" (Line
Antony now finishes up his speech, saying that since
the Romans loved Caesar once, what should stop
them from mourning this man now:
You all did love him [Caesar] once, not
without cause: / What cause withholds you then to mourn
for him? O judgement! thou [you] art [are] fled to brutish
beasts, / And men have lost their reason. Bear with
me; / My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar,
/ And I must pause till it come back to me. (Lines 107-113)
The Citizens have taken this all in and see merit in
what Antony says, one citizen adding that "There's
not a nobler man in Rome than Antony" (Line 122).
Antony continues his speech, explaining how once "the
word of Caesar might / Have stood against the world;"
yet instead he pitifully lies here in a coffin.
He innocently tells the crowd that were he the sort
of person to incite the crowd to violence which is precisely
what he is really hoping for, he would be doing Brutus
and Cassius a great disservice for they are honourable
men, and now he announces that he has found Caesar's
Mark Antony adds that he really should not read it,
knowing that the crowd are now demanding to know its
contents (Lines 120-144).
Antony now hesitates again to read the will. He fears
reading its contents will "inflame you," adding that
"it will make you mad" (Line 150) whilst also not forgetting
to mention that "'tis good you know not that you are
his heirs;" (it is good that you do not know you are
Caesar's heirs), (Line 151).
The Citizens, now aware that they could benefit from
Caesar's will, again demand to hear it. Again,
Antony hesitates, adding that "I have o'ershot
[overstepped] myself to tell you of it [the will]. I
fear I wrong the honourable men / Whose daggers have
stabb'd [stabbed] Caesar; / I do fear it" (Line
The crowd, now on the verge of frenzy, describe Brutus
and company as "villains,"and "murderers" and again
ask Antony to read the will (Line 161).
Asking that the crowd to make a ring around Caesar's
corpse, Antony comes down from the pulpit and begins
to read the will (Lines 162-173).
Antony starts by telling the crowd, "If you have tears,
prepare to shed them now" (Line 174). Antony describes
the various wounds that Cassius, then the "envious Casca"
and the "well-beloved Brutus" have made, noting both
the blood and the fact that "Brutus, as you know, was
Caesar's angel:" (Line 186).
He now tells the gods to judge how dearly "Caesar
lov'd him [Brutus]" (Line 187) adding that the
wound made by Brutus "was the most unkindest cut of
all; / For when the noble Caesar saw him stab,
/ Ingratitude, more strong than traitors' arms, / Quite
vanquish'd him: then burst his [Caesar's]
mighty heart;" (Lines 187-191).
This and further emotive language, angers the crowd
to the point of riot, the crowd now describing Caesar
as noble, others despairing on the sadness of this day,
and yet other citizens calling Brutus and company "traitors!"
and "villains!" once again (Line 206).
Together, the Citizens cry "Revenge!-About!-Seek!-Burn!-Fire!-Kill!-Slay!
Let not a traitor live" (Line 209).
Mark Antony tells the crowd to stop, reminding them
that "They that have done this deed are honourable:"
adding "What private griefs they have, alas! I know
not," (Line 217).
Mark Antony, having now raised the crowd to a fury,
innocently explains that "I come not, friends, to steal
away your hearts:" since he is a simple man, adding
that "I am no orator [public speaker], as Brutus is;"
Mark Antony explains now, quite ironically that "were
I Brutus, and Brutus Antony, there were an Antony /
Would ruffle up your spirits, and put a tongue / In
every wound of Caesar, that should move / The stones
of Rome to rise and mutiny" (Lines 230-234).
With the crowd now out for Brutus and company's
blood, Antony finishes off his speech. He tells the
angry mob the contents of Caesar's will and
delays the crowd from their murderous mission. Antony
explains that Caesar's will bestows "seventy-five
drachmas" to each citizen (Line 247).
This information incites the crowd further, the Second
Citizen speaking for all, when he says "Most noble Caesar!
we'll revenge his death" (Line 248).
Antony adds that Caesar gave all his walks, "His
private arbours," and his newly planted orchards,
to the Citizens as well, asking "Here was Caesar!
when comes such another? [When will there come again
someone like him?]" (Line 257).
The First Citizen speaks for all, saying "Never,
never! Come, away, away! We'll burn his [Caesar's] body
in the holy place, / And with the brands fire the traitor's
houses" (Line 260).
The Citizens head off on their rampage, carrying with
them Caesar's body and Antony, clearly pleased with
his work, says "Now let it work: mischief, thou
art afoot, / Take thou what course thou wilt! (now mischief,
go and take whatever course you will), (Line 265).
With the crazed mob on their way, a servant enters,
addressing Antony. Octavius has come to Rome and both
he and Lepidus are at Caesar's house. We also
learn that Brutus and Cassius have very wisely fled
the city "like madmen through the gates of Rome" (Line
Act III. Scene III. - The Same. A Street.
Anonymous mob: "Tear him to pieces; he's a conspirator."
A poet bearing the same name as one of the conspirators
is killed by the angry mob which is Shakespeare's
insight into the senselessness of the mob mentality...
Cinna a poet is in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The angry mob of Citizens finding him, ask his name
and marital status. They also ask his name....
Learning it is Cinna, the mob immediately attack him,
the Second Citizen saying, "Tear him to pieces; he's
a conspirator" (Line 30).
Cinna explains that he is Cinna the poet, not Cinna
the conspirator. The crowd, hungry for blood, kill the
innocent poet anyway, explaining that they should "Tear
him for his bad verses," (Line 34).
Still driven by fury, the Citizens decide to torch
the homes of Brutus, Cassius, Decius Brutus (not to
be mistaken with Marcus Brutus or Brutus for short),
Casca and Ligarius (Lines 40-43).
Note: This scene shows Shakespeare commenting on the
nature of the mob mentality. It is also an unusual and
perhaps disturbing juxtaposition of both violence and
absurdity. Violence that they kill an innocent man,
absurdity in the completely amoral and unjustified excuse
for doing so. A disturbing and accurate insight into
the phenomena of mob brutality which sadly is as relevant
today as 1900 years ago.