Act III - Scene II

[The Forum.]

Enter Brutus and goes into the pulpit, and Cassius, with the Plebeians.

CITIZENS:
We will be satisfied! Let us be satisfied!
BRUTUS:
Then follow me and give me audience, friends.
Cassius, go you into the other street
And part the numbers.(5)
Those that will hear me speak, let 'em stay here;
Those that will follow Cassius, go with him;
And public reasons shall be rendered
Of Caesar's death.
FIRST CITIZEN:
I will hear Brutus speak.(10)
SECOND CITIZEN:
I will hear Cassius and compare their reasons,
When severally we hear them rendered.

[Exit Cassius, with some of the Citizens.]

THIRD CITIZEN:
The noble Brutus is ascended. Silence!
BRUTUS:
Be patient till the last.
Romans, countrymen, and lovers! Hear me for my cause,(15)
and be silent, that you may hear. Believe me for mine
honor, and have respect to mine honor, that you may
believe. Censure me in your wisdom, and awake your
senses, that you may the better judge. If there be any in this
assembly, any dear friend of Caesar's, to him I say that(20)
Brutus' love to Caesar was no less than his. If then that
friend demand why Brutus rose against Caesar, this is my
answer: Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome
more. Had you rather Caesar were living and die all slaves,
than that Caesar were dead to live all freemen? As Caesar(25)
loved me, I weep for him; as he was fortunate, I rejoice at
it; as he was valiant, I honor him; but as he was ambitious,
I slew him. There is tears for his love, joy for his fortune,
honor for his valor, and death for his ambition. Who is here
so base that would be a bondman? If any, speak, for him(30)
have I offended. Who is here so rude that would not be a
Roman? If any, speak, for him have I offended. Who is here
so vile that will not love his country? If any, speak, for him
have I offended. I pause for a reply.
ALL:
None, Brutus, none.(35)
BRUTUS:
Then none have I offended. I have done no more to
Caesar than you shall do to Brutus. The question of his death
is enrolled in the Capitol, his glory not extenuated, wherein
he was worthy, nor his offenses enforced, for which he
suffered death.(40)

Enter Antony [and others] with Caesar's body.

Here comes his body, mourned by Mark Antony, who, though
he had no hand in his death, shall receive the benefit of his
dying, a place in the commonwealth, as which of you shall(45)
not? With this I depart—that, as I slew my best lover for the
good of Rome, I have the same dagger for myself, when it
shall please my country to need my death.
ALL:
Live, Brutus, live, live!
FIRST CITIZEN:
Bring him with triumph home unto his house.(50)
SECOND CITIZEN:
Give him a statue with his ancestors.
THIRD CITIZEN:
Let him be Caesar.
FOURTH CITIZEN:
Caesar's better parts
Shall be crown'd in Brutus.
FIRST CITIZEN:
We'll bring him to his house with shouts and clamors.(55)
BRUTUS:
My countrymen—
SECOND CITIZEN:
Peace! Silence! Brutus speaks.
FIRST CITIZEN:
Peace, ho!
BRUTUS:
Good countrymen, let me depart alone,(60)
And, for my sake, stay here with Antony.
Do grace to Caesar's corse, and grace his speech
Tending to Caesar's glories, which Mark Antony,
By our permission, is allow'd to make.
I do entreat you, not a man depart,(65)
Save I alone, till Antony have spoke.

Exit.

FIRST CITIZEN:
Stay, ho, and let us hear Mark Antony.
THIRD CITIZEN:
Let him go up into the public chair;
We'll hear him. Noble Antony, go up.
ANTONY:
For Brutus' sake, I am beholding to you.(70)
FOURTH CITIZEN:
What does he say of Brutus?
THIRD CITIZEN:
He says, for Brutus' sake,
He finds himself beholding to us all.
FOURTH CITIZEN:
'Twere best he speak no harm of Brutus here.
FIRST CITIZEN:
This Caesar was a tyrant.(75)
THIRD CITIZEN:
Nay, that's certain.
We are blest that Rome is rid of him.
SECOND CITIZEN:
Peace! Let us hear what Antony can say.
ANTONY:
You gentle Romans—
ALL:
Peace, ho! Let us hear him.(80)
ANTONY:
Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears!
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them,
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus(85)
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious;
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Caesar answer'd it.
Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest—
For Brutus is an honorable man;(90)
So are they all, all honorable men—
Come I to speak in Caesar's funeral.
He was my friend, faithful and just to me;
But Brutus says he was ambitious,
And Brutus is an honorable man.(95)
He hath brought many captives home to Rome,
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill.
Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?
When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept;
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff.(100)
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious,
And Brutus is an honorable man.
You all did see that on the Lupercal
I thrice presented him a kingly crown,
Which he did thrice refuse. Was this ambition?(105)
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious,
And sure he is an honorable man.
I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke,
But here I am to speak what I do know.
You all did love him once, not without cause;(110)
What cause withholds you then to mourn for him?
O judgement, thou art 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.(115)
FIRST CITIZEN:
Methinks there is much reason in his sayings.
SECOND CITIZEN:
If thou consider rightly of the matter,
Caesar has had great wrong.
THIRD CITIZEN:
Has he, masters?
I fear there will a worse come in his place.(120)
FOURTH CITIZEN:
Mark'd ye his words? He would not take the crown;
Therefore 'tis certain he was not ambitious.
FIRST CITIZEN:
If it be found so, some will dear abide it.
SECOND CITIZEN:
Poor soul, his eyes are red as fire with weeping.(125)
THIRD CITIZEN:
There's not a nobler man in Rome than Antony.
FOURTH CITIZEN:
Now mark him, he begins again to speak.
ANTONY:
But yesterday the word of Caesar might
Have stood against the world. Now lies he there,
And none so poor to do him reverence.(130)
O masters! If I were disposed to stir
Your hearts and minds to mutiny and rage,
I should do Brutus wrong and Cassius wrong,
Who, you all know, are honorable men.
I will not do them wrong; I rather choose(135)
To wrong the dead, to wrong myself and you,
Than I will wrong such honorable men.
But here's a parchment with the seal of Caesar;
I found it in his closet, 'tis his will.
Let but the commons hear this testament—(140)
Which, pardon me, I do not mean to read—
And they would go and kiss dead Caesar's wounds
And dip their napkins in his sacred blood,
Yea, beg a hair of him for memory,
And, dying, mention it within their wills,(145)
Bequeathing it as a rich legacy
Unto their issue.
FOURTH CITIZEN:
We'll hear the will. Read it, Mark Antony.
ALL:
The will, the will! We will hear Caesar's will.
ANTONY:
Have patience, gentle friends, I must not read it;(150)
It is not meet you know how Caesar loved you.
You are not wood, you are not stones, but men;
And, being men, hearing the will of Caesar,
It will inflame you, it will make you mad.
'Tis good you know not that you are his heirs,(155)
For if you should, O, what would come of it!
FOURTH CITIZEN:
Read the will; we'll hear it, Antony.
You shall read us the will, Caesar's will.
ANTONY:
Will you be patient? Will you stay a while?
I have o'ershot myself to tell you of it.(160)
I fear I wrong the honorable men
Whose daggers have stabb'd Caesar; I do fear it.
FOURTH CITIZEN:
They were traitors. “Honorable men!”
ALL:
The will! The testament!
SECOND CITIZEN:
They were villains, murderers. The will!(165)
Read the will!
ANTONY:
You will compel me then to read the will?
Then make a ring about the corse of Caesar,
And let me show you him that made the will.
Shall I descend? And will you give me leave?(170)
ALL:
Come down.
SECOND CITIZEN:
Descend.
THIRD CITIZEN:
You shall have leave.
FOURTH CITIZEN:
A ring, stand round.
FIRST CITIZEN:
Stand from the hearse, stand from the body.(175)
SECOND CITIZEN:
Room for Antony, most noble Antony.
ANTONY:
Nay, press not so upon me, stand far off.
ALL:
Stand back; room, bear back!
ANTONY:
If you have tears, prepare to shed them now.
You all do know this mantle. I remember(180)
The first time ever Caesar put it on;
'Twas on a summer's evening, in his tent,
That day he overcame the Nervii.
Look, in this place ran Cassius' dagger through;
See what a rent the envious Casca made;(185)
Through this the well-beloved Brutus stabb'd;
And as he pluck'd his cursed steel away,
Mark how the blood of Caesar follow'd it,
As rushing out of doors, to be resolved
If Brutus so unkindly knock'd, or no;(190)
For Brutus, as you know, was Caesar's angel.
Judge, O you gods, how dearly Caesar loved him!
This was the most unkindest cut of all;
For when the noble Caesar saw him stab,
Ingratitude, more strong than traitors' arms,(195)
Quite vanquish'd him. Then burst his mighty heart,
And, in his mantle muffling up his face,
Even at the base of Pompey's statue,
Which all the while ran blood, great Caesar fell.
O, what a fall was there, my countrymen!(200)
Then I, and you, and all of us fell down,
Whilst bloody treason flourish'd over us.
O, now you weep, and I perceive you feel
The dint of pity. These are gracious drops.
Kind souls, what weep you when you but behold(205)
Our Caesar's vesture wounded? Look you here,
Here is himself, marr'd, as you see, with traitors.
FIRST CITIZEN:
O piteous spectacle!
SECOND CITIZEN:
O noble Caesar!
THIRD CITIZEN:
O woeful day!(210)
FOURTH CITIZEN:
O traitors, villains!
FIRST CITIZEN:
O most bloody sight!
SECOND CITIZEN:
We will be revenged.
ALL:
Revenge! About! Seek! Burn! Fire! Kill!
Slay! Let not a traitor live!(215)
ANTONY:
Stay, countrymen.
FIRST CITIZEN:
Peace there! Hear the noble Antony.
SECOND CITIZEN:
We'll hear him, we'll follow him, we'll die with him.
ANTONY:
Good friends, sweet friends, let me not stir you up(220)
To such a sudden flood of mutiny.
They that have done this deed are honorable.
What private griefs they have, alas, I know not,
That made them do it. They are wise and honorable,
And will, no doubt, with reasons answer you.(225)
I come not, friends, to steal away your hearts.
I am no orator, as Brutus is;
But, as you know me all, a plain blunt man,
That love my friend, and that they know full well
That gave me public leave to speak of him.(230)
For I have neither wit, nor words, nor worth,
Action, nor utterance, nor the power of speech,
To stir men's blood. I only speak right on;
I tell you that which you yourselves do know;
Show you sweet Caesar's wounds, poor poor dumb mouths,(235)
And bid them speak for me. But 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.(240)
ALL:
We'll mutiny.
FIRST CITIZEN:
We'll burn the house of Brutus.
THIRD CITIZEN:
Away, then! Come, seek the conspirators.
ANTONY:
Yet hear me, countrymen; yet hear me speak.
ALL:
Peace, ho! Hear Antony, most noble Antony!(245)
ANTONY:
Why, friends, you go to do you know not what.
Wherein hath Caesar thus deserved your loves?
Alas, you know not; I must tell you then.
You have forgot the will I told you of.
ALL:
Most true, the will! Let's stay and hear the will.(250)
ANTONY:
Here is the will, and under Caesar's seal.
To every Roman citizen he gives,
To every several man, seventy-five drachmas.
SECOND CITIZEN:
Most noble Caesar! We'll revenge his death.
THIRD CITIZEN:
O royal Caesar!(255)
ANTONY:
Hear me with patience.
ALL:
Peace, ho!
ANTONY:
Moreover, he hath left you all his walks,
His private arbors, and new-planted orchards,
On this side Tiber; he hath left them you,(260)
And to your heirs for ever; common pleasures,
To walk abroad and recreate yourselves.
Here was a Caesar! When comes such another?
FIRST CITIZEN:
Never, never. Come, away, away!
We'll burn his body in the holy place(265)
And with the brands fire the traitors' houses.
Take up the body.
SECOND CITIZEN:
Go fetch fire.
THIRD CITIZEN:
Pluck down benches.
FOURTH CITIZEN:
Pluck down forms, windows, any thing.(270)

Exit Plebeians [with the body.]

ANTONY:
Now let it work. Mischief, thou art afoot,
Take thou what course thou wilt.

[Enter a Servant.]

How now, fellow?
SERVANT:
Sir, Octavius is already come to Rome.
ANTONY:
Where is he?(275)
SERVANT:
He and Lepidus are at Caesar's house.
ANTONY:
And thither will I straight to visit him.
He comes upon a wish. Fortune is merry,
And in this mood will give us any thing.
SERVANT:
I heard him say, Brutus and Cassius(280)
Are rid like madmen through the gates of Rome.
ANTONY:
Belike they had some notice of the people,
How I had moved them. Bring me to Octavius.

Exeunt.

Footnotes

  1. Once again, a stunning oratorical move by Antony. By depicting himself as plainspoken, he is concealing the subtle trickery woven throughout his speech. Antony knew precisely how to turn the crowd’s favor to his side. But, having done so, he pretends to be blind to his own charisma, which makes him all the more popular.

    — Zachary, Owl Eyes Staff
  2. Here is another brilliant rhetorical move by Antony. What he wishes to do is stir the hearts and minds of the public to mutiny and rage. By framing the possibility of mutiny as a hypothetical condition, he plants the seed in the mind of the public. He then deftly backs away, citing the nobility of Brutus and Cassius once more.

    — Zachary, Owl Eyes Staff
  3. Thus Antony begins to unspool a brilliant line of rhetoric. He punctuates his speech by returning again and again to the idea that “Brutus is an honorable man.” As Antony comes to reveal his true beliefs, the statement of Brutus’s nobility becomes increasingly ironic.

    — Zachary, Owl Eyes Staff
  4. Brutus’s case for his murder of Caesar hinges on two arguments. First, Caesar was ambitious, and ambition is punishable by death. Second, that Caesar was tyrannical, putting the Roman people in the position of bondmen (slaves). Note that Brutus offers no evidence to support these claims. Mark Antony’s ensuing speech is remarkable in the way that he uses evidence to dismantle Brutus’s position here.

    — Zachary, Owl Eyes Staff
  5. By referring to the public as “the numbers,” Brutus reiterates the idea that the citizens of Rome are a means to an end. To Brutus and Cassius, the public are simply a number that needed to be swayed in order to advance their political agenda.

    — Zachary, Owl Eyes Staff
  6. "Unkind" in Shakespeare's time meant unnatural, ungrateful, and degenerate. Antony uses these words to blame Caesar's death on Brutus's character: in essence, it was not the stab wound that killed Caesar, but Brutus's betrayal. Antony's memorial for Caesar quickly becomes a character assassination of Brutus.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  7. "Stern" means harsh or severe. In painting Caesar as a weak man who lacked stern ambition, Antony makes the ambition of the assassins cold, stern, and self-interested. Unlike Brutus who uses rhetorical questions to guide his audience onto his way of thinking, Antony makes declarative statements. Caesar wept for the poor. Ambition should be stern. This leaves little up to interpretation for the audience and makes Antony's speech stronger.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  8. Brutus uses rhetorical questions and antithesis to make his case to the mob why he and the other conspirators murdered Caesar. In this way, Brutus is able to emphasize both his love of country and his love of Caesar while deemphasizing the murder.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  9. Antony beings his speech, one of the most famous speeches in Shakespearian drama, by parodying Brutus's speech. Brutus says "Romans, countrymen, and lovers, hear me for my cause, and be silent." Antony improves the internal rhythm of the line and invokes an intimacy and shared nationality that Brutus's lines lack. In calling his audience "friends" first, Antony establishes a connection that Brutus's formulaic address lacks. Antony also uses mock humility with his "lend me your ears" as opposed to the arrogant command "be silent" that Brutus uses to command attention. Antony's rhetorical appeal allows him to manipulate the crowd and make them believe his position; Brutus lectured the crowd to get them on his side. For this reason, the crowd supports Antony's claim and turns on Brutus.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  10. It is noteworthy that Shakespeare has his Mark Antony tell the plebeians that he is no orator but only a plain blunt man speaking extemporaneously--and then end the passage with a dazzling subjunctive sentence containing four bizarre images. Antony becomes Brutus and Brutus becomes Antony. Together they put tongues in all of Caesar’s many wounds. These tongues cause the cobblestones in the streets to rise and mutiny—or perhaps the stones turn into men of stone who stand up and mutiny. Note the use of the subjunctive in “But were I Brutus” and in “…that should move the stones of Rome.” The mob is probably bewildered by this oratorical magic and imagines that Antony, Brutus, Julius Caesar, and the stones or Rome are all unanimously inciting them to riot.

    — William Delaney
  11. These lines are wonderful. Antony's voice would go up a full octave between the words "I tell you that which" and "you yourselves do know." Then when he points to Caesar's wounds and says, "And bid them speak for me," he should remain absolutely silent for a long, long pause, probably holding one hand against his own breast as if to prevent himself from speaking further, while the assembled citizens stare at Caesar's wounds and seem to see them forming lips and babbling in a surrealistic chorus. Imagine calling on the dead Julius Caesar himself to address the mob!!! 

    Antony has known all along that Caesar's wounds will be his strongest argument, because they belie Brutus's assertion that theirs was a "noble sacrifice" and look more like the result of frenzied butchery. In his soliloquy in Act 3, Scene 1, Antony says:

    Over thy wounds now do I prophesy,--
    Which, like dumb mouths, do ope their ruby lips,
    To beg the voice and utterance of my tongue--
    A curse shall light upon the limbs of men;
    Domestic fury and fierce civil strife
    Shall cumber all the parts of Italy;
    Blood and destruction shall be so in use
    And dreadful objects so familiar
    That mothers shall but smile when they behold
    Their infants quarter'd with the hands of war;

     

    — William Delaney
  12. This introductory line suggests that Brutus has his entire speech already planned out. He doesn't want to get interrupted until he has finished the whole speech as he has organized and rehearsed it. He is concerned about the total, overall effect. It should be noted that Brutus has had plenty of time to write his speech out and rehearse it, complete with gestures, since he knows when and where Caesar is going to die. That explains why Brutus's speech, in contrast to Antony's, is so formal and so full of gracefully balanced phrases, such as:

    Hear me for my cause, and be silent, that you may hear.

    Or:

    Not that I loved Caesar less. but that I loved Rome more.

    In his own funeral oration, Antony refers to Brutus contemptuously as an "orator." This suggests that Brutus is a polished public speaker who has studied under professionals, but not necessarily sincere, truthful, or entirely "human." 

    Antony himself has had no time to prepare a funeral speech. He didn't expect Caesar to be assassinated, and he didn't know whether he would be able to have any part in the funeral proceedings. His speech is entirely spontaneous in contrast to that of Brutus, which sounds stiff, formal, dispassionate and rehearsed. Antony interacts with his audience; he doesn't ask them to be silent and listen to the end, because he doesn't know exactly where he is going. He is inspired by his emotions and his intuition; whereas Brutus is reciting a rehearsed speech composed by a man who relies on his powers of reason.

    We cannot assume that any man could deliver such a model of oratory as the speech by Brutus without having worked on it for many hours before delivering it at the appropriate time. Brutus is just the kind of man who would give a great deal of thought to what he was going to say after the deed was done. The fact that the speech is so professional works to Brutus's disadvantage. It shows that he was planning Caesar's assassination for a long time before the Ides of March. In other words, Caesar was murdered in cold blood and not in the heat of emotion. That is why Antony refers to the conspirators as "butchers."

    O, pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth, 
    That I am meek and gentle with these butchers!

    Butchers go about their bloody work dispassionately. They have no feelings for the animals they slaughter.

    — William Delaney
  13. Antony is referring to the same incident that was described contemptuously by Casca to Brutus and Cassius in Act I, Scene 2.

    **CASCA:
    **Why, there was a crown offered him, and being offered
    him: he put it by with the back of his hand, thus, and then
    the people fell a-shouting.

    Caesar wanted to make the people think that he was humble and modest, not ambitious or potentially despotic. Neither he nor Antony could foresee that this phony performance would be persuasive when Antony referred back to it in his funeral oration.

    Antony himself has learned to act like his mentor Caesar before the Roman mob. Antony seems humble and modest. He calls the citizens "masters" and says he is just a plain blunt man. In contrast to Brutus's studied oration, Antony's entire funeral speech seems informal and extemporaneous.

    — William Delaney
  14. Antony means that he is not going to attempt to disprove what Brutus said in his speech, the gist of which was:

    As Caesar(25)
    loved me, I weep for him; as he was fortunate, I rejoice at
    it; as he was valiant, I honor him; but as he was ambitious,
    I slew him. There is tears for his love, joy for his fortune,
    honor for his valor, and death for his ambition.

    Antony can hardly deny that Caesar was ambitious because Antony himself, who was close to Caesar, knows he was ambitious. He asks the crowd, "Was this ambition?" but does not go so far to say that Caesar was not. Instead he appeals to their emotions, asking why they cannot at least mourn for the fallen hero regardless of whether he was ambitious or not. His ambition hardly matters anymore, since he is a corpse, only a memory. Brutus appealed to their reason. Antony turns it around by suggesting that if they were reasonable they would be mourning Caesar. He even says that men have lost their reason. The First Citizen echoes Antony when he says, "Methinks there is much reason in his sayings." In other words, it is reasonable to become unreasonable and succumb to one's emotions. The truth is that there is not much reason in Antony's speech, but he knows that the masses are guided by their emotions and their self-interest. Brutus, the stoic, was a prime example of a man whose philosophy exalted reason above emotion, as he demonstrates later in the play when he refuses to yield to grief over the suicide of his wife Portia. Antony, the hedonist, is a prime example of a man who is guided by his feelings. It is his feelings that will one day lead to his downfall.

    — William Delaney
  15. This is a cue for the citizens to form a circle around the coffin. There is most likely no body inside the coffin but only a dummy covered by the bloody cloak. Shakespeare wanted the circle of men to conceal the coffin, because he only intended for the cloak to be displayed to the theater audience. The citizens presumably look down into the coffin and see Caesar's mutilated body and react with pity which turns to outrage; but it would have been awkward for Shakespeare to try to show a real person, the actor who had been playing Caesar, all covered with bloody wounds. Anyway, Shakespeare learned from reading Plutarch that it was the shredded and bloodied mantle that aroused the mob to mutiny. Less is more. It would be more moving, as well as more practical, to show one thing than two. The playwright realized that it would be very effective to have Antony raise the mantle out of the coffin and expose it to its entire length, and that this would give his theater audience a vivid impression of what the "corpse" inside the coffin must look like.

    — William Delaney
  16. Notice how Antony keeps using the word "will." He uses it twice in this sentence and four times in these four lines. 

    Antony understands human nature. He knows that the citizens will be more interested in the prospect of getting some money than in anything else. Furthermore, since Antony has possession of the will, they feel they must support him in order to receive its benefits. If Brutus and Cassius got their hands on Caesar's will they might burn it and the citizens would get nothing. Obviously if Brutus and Cassius murdered Caesar, they are not going to pay much attention to his will. On the other hand, Antony displays it publicly and signifies that he intends to see that it is honored.

    — William Delaney
  17. This is Marc Antony's "ace-in-the-hole." He has kept it concealed under his toga all this time, waiting for the appropriate moment to expose it to the assembled mob. Shakespeare is drawing on actual history derived from a translation of Plutarch. No one in Shakespeare's theater audience knows about this will except for a few who are acquainted with Roman history. 

    Antony has two advantages over Brutus, two "props" he can use to stir up the citizens to mutiny. One is Caesar's mutilated body covered with a shredded and bloodstained cloak; the other is Caesar's will bequeathing money and land to the Roman people.

    The word "will" is repeated over and over after this. It obviously has a double meaning. It applies to the actual "parchment with the seal of Caesar," and it also foretells that the powerful will of Julius Caesar will dominate the Romans even after he has been assassinated. Julius Caesar did not succeed in becoming king, as he obviously intended, but his nephew and heir Octavius Caesar actually became an emperor and a god, and he was followed, after a long rule, by a whole line of emperors bearing the name of Caesar. 

    — William Delaney
  18. Brutus is an intelligent, learned, rational man, a philosopher and a stoic who does not believe in succumbing to his negative moods. He will demonstrate this much later in his tent at Philippi when he learns that his wife Portia committed suicide. In his speech he appeals to the citizens' rational judgment. Antony, on the other hand, appeals to their emotions, which is in character for him because he is an emotional, hedonistic, impetuous type of man. He demonstrates his strong emotional nature in his soliloquy which begins with the words addressed to Caesar's corpse, "O, pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth / That I am meek and gentle with these butchers." Here he has the crowd weeping. 

    Shakespeare probably inserted the words, "O, now you weep," as a cue for all those listening to him to begin weeping. There had to be some sort of signal for this to begin generally. 

    — William Delaney
  19. This is a very subtle suggestion. Brutus gave a very logical, carefully structured speech in which he asked the citizens to judge him rationally, in effect to be guided by their reason. Antony is here suggesting that it is irrational for them not to feel their emotions, including their love for Caesar and their grief over his death. They should not withhold their true feelings but experience and express them, as Antony himself is doing now. It is interesting that when Antony pauses, the First Citizen says, "Methinks there is much reason in his sayings." 

    — William Delaney
  20. Antony is pretending that he had no intention of telling the mob about Caesar's will at this time because he didn't want to inflame them. He is referring back to his words

    'Tis good you know not that you are his heirs,
    For if you should, O, what would come of it!

    By saying that he has "o'ershot" himself he is implying that, of course, he would have had to reveal the contents of Caesar's will eventually but that he had not intended to let it slip at this time because he was trying so hard not to make trouble for Brutus and the other conspirators. 

    Throughout his speech, Antony is pretending that he is not an accomplished orator. Therefore he may be excused for showing Caesar's will and then deciding not to read it and for telling the mob they are Caesar's heirs and then claiming he hadn't intended to reveal that information at this crucial time.

    Antony is tantalizing the mob with Caesar's will. He knows human nature and knows that nothing will influence people so much as money. Money talks! 

    — William Delaney
  21. Antony keeps pretending that he merely wants to bury Caesar and not cause any trouble. Yet his whole speech is intended to start a general mutiny. This line is especially cunning because he is telling the mob they are Caesar's heirs and at the same time telling them it is good they do not know they are his heirs. A moment later he will pretend that he let this information slip by accident when he says, "I have o'ershot myself to tell you of it."

    — William Delaney
  22. It is noteworthy that the citizens do not react to Antony's speech by wanting to make him king, as they reacted to that of Brutus. This is probably because Brutus has the dignity and aloofness of a king, whereas Antony presents himself as a man of the people. It is also noteworthy that Antony apparently does not consider replacing Julius Caesar as de facto ruler of Rome but shares power with Octavius Caesar and temporarily with Lepidus.

    — William Delaney
  23. The reaction of the citizens is ironic, since Brutus is opposed to establishing a monarchy--and now they want to make him king. This suggests that there is such a swelling popular desire for a strong-man ruler that the evolution of the Roman government into a monarchy is unstoppable. Adolf Hitler took advantage of the chaos in Germany in the 1930s to establish his own strong-man rule, which was, like Benito Mussolini's fascist rule in Italy, inspired by the history of ancient Rome.

    — William Delaney
  24. This seems like an inept and even laughable way of expressing himself in his opening words. Perhaps Shakespeare intended it to sound awkward, in contrast to the polished oratory of Brutus--and even expected some laughter from the theater audience. Antony may be intentionally starting off sounding inexperienced at public speaking and very unsure of what he is going to say to this hostile crowd. If he could make some of the Plebeians laugh, it wouldn't be a bad way to start off. Later in his speech Antony will explicitly reveal the contrast he has been striving to create from the beginning:

    I am no orator, as Brutus is;
    But, as you know me all, a plain blunt man,
    That love my friend, and that they know full well
    That gave me public leave to speak of him.
    For I have neither wit, nor words, nor worth,
    Action, nor utterance, nor the power of speech,
    To stir men's blood. I only speak right on;
    I tell you that which you yourselves do know; - See more at: http://www.enotes.com/topics/julius-caesar/etext/act-iii#etext-act-iii-act-iii-scene-ii

    — William Delaney
  25. These words encapsulate the major conflict in the play. The supporters of Caesar wanted a monarchy, while the conspirators wanted a republic, or commonwealth. Brutus thought he was on the verge of establishing, or re-establishing, such a commonwealth; but Caesar's formidable will was so uncannily unstoppable that it brought about the monarchy even after his death. Octavius Caesar eventually became the first Roman emperor.

    — William Delaney
  26. This line should be read with strong emphasis on the word "him."

    — William Delaney
  27. Here Antony would raise his voice in order to make himself heard above the clamor, after softening his tone when he began the part that starts with:

    If you have tears, prepare to shed them now.

    So parts of Antony's funeral speech would be spoken in a loud voice and other parts softly, intimately, and fraught with emotion--in sharp contrast to the speech of Brutus which is logical and unemotional and sounds like the carefully structured formal presentation of a professional orator. 

    — William Delaney
  28. The mob members can supposedly see Caesar's body in the coffin, but the audience can only see the torn and bloody mantle which Antony is holding up to its full length with both hands.

    — William Delaney
  29. Antony of course has no idea which rent in the garment was made by which conspirator. He wasn't even present when it happened. And he actually ran away to hide in his house. But he has the mob so hypnotized that it doesn't occur to any of them to wonder. Shakespeare found it much more effective to have Antony hold up a large bloody cloak to full view of the house than to try to exhibit Caesar's body covered with fake wounds. In this, Shakespeare was taking advantage of what he found in Plutarch, because the historian writes that it was the bloody and shredded garment that moved the people to pity, grief, rage, and mutiny.

    — William Delaney
  30. No doubt the actor playing Antony would lower his voice for the following part of his speech, since everyone has drawn as close to him as possible and is silent, listening intently for information about how each has benefited from Caesar's will.

    — William Delaney
  31. Brutus' speech is all about himself from start to finish. Listening to his speech, one might think that Brutus did everything by himself. He doesn't even mention his partner Cassius. This shows Brutus' one fault, which is egotism. In this respect he is very much like Julius Caesar. Brutus' extreme egotism will lead to his downfall, because he will not be guided by any opinion but his own. Mark Antony's speech will be more effective because he will seem modest and even humble. He will talk about everybody, including Brutus and the other conspirators, and will make many references to the commoners themselves. 

    — William Delaney
  32. The word "coffin" tells us that Caesar's body is not on display but is concealed from view in a coffin. Shakespeare had no intention of displaying Caesar's ravaged and bloody corpse to his audience because it would have been too difficult to fake such an exhibit. Instead Antony carries in a dummy and places it inside a coffin, still covered by a torn and blood-stained mantle. When Antony later removes the mantle, the mob members will look into the coffin and pretend to be horrified at the condition of the body; but the audience will see nothing but Caesar's shredded garment, which appears to be the remains of the one he put on when he left home.

    — William Delaney
  33. Antony is probably standing center stage with Caesar's coffin in front of him. The mob members would have to be facing him with their backs to the audience. The word "About!" is evidently a cue spoken by one man to direct all the others to turn at the same time, face the audience, and start advancing step by step, with some holding tools of their trade such as hammers, cleavers, and butcher knives. Antony calls them back and they turn around again--but this glimpse of an angry and ugly mob, with one shouting, "Let not a traitor live!", should have the calculated effect of frightening the audience and perhaps reminding them that they are not sympathizers with Brutus and Cassius but either neutral or pro-Antony and pro-Caesar. The turning point in the play for the Roman people would thus also be a turning point in the sympathies of the members of the audience.

    — William Delaney
  34. Note how many times Antony uses the word "will." The document is his strongest weapon against the conspirators, and he is building up the mob's eagerness to learn how they have benefited from it.

    — William Delaney
  35. Antony is toying with the mob, pretending he does not intend to read the will but constantly using the word "will" and here speaking of a "rich legacy."

    — William Delaney