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Shakespeare's Tragedy of Julius Caesar

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					     Shakespeare’s
Tragedy of Julius Caesar
           ACT III
  PLOT SUMMARY & KEY POINTS
             Act III, Scene 1
   Both the Soothsayer and Artemidorus try
    to warn Caesar outside the Capitol, but he
    refuses to listen to them and proceeds.

   Cassius is afraid that their plans are
    known when Popilius, a senator, says to
    him, “I wish your enterprise today may
    thrive.” (14)
               Act III, Scene 1
   At the Senate House, Cassius tells Casca to act
    quickly. Trebonius, as prearranged, removes
    Antony from the scene.

 The conspirators gather around him, pretending
  to plead a case. Casca is the first to strike, and,
  after each of the conspirators attack Caesar,
  Brutus is the last to stab him.
*Mortally wounded, what were Caesar’s last
  words?
               Act III, Scene 1
   Panic ensues as the senators run from the
    Senate House, but Metellus warns the
    conspirators to “Stand fast together.” (96)

   Brutus takes charge and assures the
    frightened senators:
       “People and Senators, be not affrighted;
       Fly not; stand still; ambition's debt is paid.”
    *The quote points to one of the themes in
    the play: ambition. Brutus believes Caesar
    has been too ambitious and power-hungry,
    and that this has caused his death.
              Act III, Scene 1
   To mark themselves as the men who killed
    Caesar and gave their country “Liberty,
    freedom and enfranchisement,” (89) Brutus
    tells them to bathe their hands and swords in
    Caesar’s blood. *With this act, whose dream
    comes true?

   Mark Antony has fled, but his servant enters
    and begs for permission for Antony to come
    and speak to all of them. Brutus agrees, but
    before Antony’s arrival, Cassius again
    considers the possibility of killing Antony.
              Act III, Scene 1
   Antony returns and pretends to be an ally
    of the conspirators. He tells the
    conspirators that he is ready to die, if that
    is their plan. Brutus assures Antony that
    there is no harm intended toward him, or
    anyone else.

   Reassured by Brutus, Antony shakes their
    bloody hands and asks for permission to
    bring Caesar’s body to the marketplace and
    to speak at Caesar’s funeral.
              Act III, Scene 1
   Despite Cassius’s objections, Brutus tells
    Antony that he may speak at Caesar’s
    funeral, but only with certain restrictions:
    “You shall not in your funeral speech blame
    us / But speak all good you can devise of
    Caesar / And say you do’t by our permission,
    /. . . And you shall speak / In the same pulpit
    whereto I am going, / After my speech is
    ended.” (270–76)
                Act III, Scene 1
   After they leave, Antony declares his true feelings in a
    powerful soliloquy. He anguishes over the death of
    Caesar:
        “O, pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth,
        That I am meek and gentle with these butchers!
        Thou are the ruins of the noblest man
        That ever lived in the tide of times.
        Woe to the hand that shed this costly blood!

   Antony predicts a violent and bloody civil war, and he
    vows revenge for Caesar’s death.
    *The stage is set for the conflict between Antony and
    Brutus.
              Act III, Scene 1
   A messenger arrives with news that young
    Octavius, Caesar’s nephew, has arrived
    outside of Rome.

   Antony tells the messenger to wait until
    after his funeral speech, and then return
    to Octavius with news as to whether or
    not it is safe or not for him to enter Rome.
    Vocabulary term: ORATION
 Act III is noted for its oration.
 An oration is a speech given at a formal
  ceremony, such as a graduation or
  funeral.
 Oration has as its root the Latin verb
  orare, which means “to speak.”
              Act III, Scene 2
 The setting is in the marketplace at Caesar’s funeral
  shortly after his death.
 Brutus speaks before a crowd of plebeians and
  explains why he killed Caesar:
  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 free
  men? As Caesar 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.
  (Lines 21-27)
*What theme do we see mentioned again in this
  speech?
                Act III, Scene 2
   He tells the crowd that he is ready to kill himself
    with the same dagger he used to kill Caesar, if they
    think he did wrong. But they are so moved by his
    speech that the crowd wants to erect statues in
    Brutus’ honor and make him king. Brutus declines,
    introduces Antony, and leaves.

   Antony faces a hostile audience when he ascends
    into the pulpit and begins his famous oration with
    the words,
    “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears.”
    (Line 75)
                 Act II, Scene 2

   Slowly he wins them over, proving that Caesar was
    not ambitious. He calls the conspirators “honorable
    men,” yet he shows them to be traitors:
        You all did see that on the Lupercal
        I thrice presented him a kingly crown,
        Which he did thrice refuse. Was this ambition?
        Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
        And sure he is an honorable man. (Lines 97-101)

   Antony cries for Caesar and produces his will. He tells
    the angry citizens that he dare not read it because it
    might stir them to mutiny and rage against Cassius
    and Brutus.
                Act III, Scene 2
   He then shows them Caesar’s bloody cloak and his
    mutilated body, stirring them up with every word. (Lines
    170-198)
        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,
        Quite vanquished him. Then burst his mighty heart…

   A far better judge of human nature than Brutus, Antony
    cleverly manages to turn the crowd against the
    conspirators by telling them of Caesar's good works and
    his concern for the people.
               Act III, Scene 2
   When Antony finally reads the will, revealing the
    generous legacy Caesar left the citizens of
    Rome, the crowd is transformed into an angry
    mob, out of control and intent on revenge
    against the conspirators.
       Now let it work: Mischief, thou art afoot,
       Take thou what course thou wilt.– Antony
       (Lines 261-262)

   A messenger tells Antony that Octavius has
    arrived to Rome and that Brutus and Cassius
    have fled.
           Act III, Scene 3
 The angry Roman mob comes upon Cinna
  the poet, believing he is Cinna the
  conspirator. Soon, they realize this is the
  wrong man, yet they are so enraged that
  they slay him anyway.
 Then, they rush through the city after the
  true killers of Caesar.

				
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