Scenes 3.2 and 3.3
Scene 3.2 - The Forum
The plebeians demand an explanation for the death of Caesar. Brutus tells Cassius to take half of the crowd and that he will explain to the other half that remains. Brutus claims that no one was a better friend to Caesar than he was, but he placed his love of Rome over that of his friend. Brutus explains that if he allowed the ambitious Caesar to live, Caesar would have made them all slaves: the only person who would object to Caesar's death, then, is someone who would willingly become a slave. The plebeians raise no objections. Antony brings in the coffin of Caesar. Brutus offers to kill himself if the people so desire. The plebeians, easily swayed by Brutus' speech, say instead that Brutus should live as their king. Brutus departs and instructs them to listen to Antony because Brutus believes that Antony will speak on his behalf.
Antony begins his speech in apparent agreement with Brutus. Antony says that Brutus and the others were all honorable men, and if Brutus says Caesar was ambitious, it must be true. But Antony points to the some flaws in Brutus' reasoning: the lands he conquered made all of Rome (not Caesar) richer, someone ambitious shouldn't cry over the misery of the poor, and Caesar refused the crown that Antony offered three times. Antony asks simply that they mourn for him, and he begins to cry. The plebeians take this moment to discuss among themselves the merit of Antony's argument, and they side with Caesar and Antony. Antony recovers and resumes his speech, condemning Brutus and Cassius for their claims of honorable intent. Antony mentions that he found Caesar's will, which Antony says will make them all idolize Caesar forever. The plebeians are curious and ask him to read it. Antony refuses on account of it being so generous that it will make them all angry with Brutus and the rest. The plebeians say that they are already angry with the conspirators and demand that Antony read the will.
Antony steps down to the coffin. He points to all the holes in Caesar's toga, and dramatizes how each hole was formed - the hole that Brutus made being the most painful of all. Then he uncovers Caesar's body to the shock and rage of all the plebeians. They are ready to start a riot, but Antony pleads for them to wait because he fears that Brutus will be able to suppress them with an impressive speech. In order to arm them with a monetary incentive, Antony at last reads the will. Antony reveals that Caesar has bequeathed unto each citizen seventy-five drachmas (about two month's wages for an average working man) and that he has opened up his properties for the public to use. Now the plebeians rush off to start a riot and Antony does not stop them.
The servant of Octavius enters to let Antony know that Octavius and Lepidus await Antony at Caesar's house and that Brutus and Cassius have fled Rome.
Scene 3.3 - A street in Rome
The enraged mob of plebeians encounter a man who felt a strange compulsion to walk about the street. When they ask him his name, he says that he is Cinna. They mistaken him for Cinna the conspirator, even though he is a different person - Cinna the poet. They refuse to listen to his protests that he is not Cinna the conspirator, and they tear him apart. Then they march onward to the conspirators' houses.
Browse all Studyworld Studynotes|
Points to Ponder
Did You Know
Scenes 2.2, 2.3, and 2.4
Scenes 3.2 and 3.3
Scenes 5.1 and 5.2
Scenes 5.4 and 5.5