Homework Help

Contrast the characters of Brutus and Antony in Act III of Julius Caesar by William...

user profile pic

ninabertino | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 13, 2013 at 3:12 AM via iOS

dislike 1 like

Contrast the characters of Brutus and Antony in Act III of Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare. 

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

carol-davis | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 13, 2013 at 5:05 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

Antony and Brutus are not interactive until after the assassination of Caesar.  Antony sends a servant to the Senate to ask if he might come to talk to Brutus and the rest to understand why Caesar had to be killed. Brutus immediately agrees to Antony coming. 

This occurs in Act III, Scene I, in Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare. It is obvious that Antony does know that Brutus is a man of his word.  If Brutus agrees to let Antony come, Marc Antony will trust him.  

Brutus is in charge of the scene.  It is surprising since Cassius was actually the leader of the conspiracy.  Brutus is a complex character.  His reputation is spotless, and he known for his honor and integrity.  Brutus is too trusting of other people.  Not everyone is as honest and forthright as Brutus is. 

From the beginning Brutus has been “at war with himself” about Caesar and his lust for power; furthermore, he was Caesar’s friend.  Killing him is not an easy action as it is for Cassius.  After much consideration, Brutus decided to be a part of the assassination because he believed that Caesar might become too powerful.  His entire decision is based on possibilities and not on facts. 

After the murder, Brutus encourages the other senators to dip their handkerchiefs in the blood of Caesar and also to pluck one of his hairs. This seems especially gruesome.

Brutus welcomes Antony and offers him the opportunity to speak on behalf of Caesar. He gives him specific instructions concerning his funeral oration. Cassius does not like it;  however, Brutus does not listen. 

Even with his wife, Brutus is intensely private.  He does not share his feelings easily.  When he discusses his reasons for joining the conspiracy, it is in the form of a soliloquy.  He does not tell his innermost thoughts to anyone.

One other quality proves to be limiting to Brutus’s success.  He makes decisions and will not give in when another more experience person gives reasons why something should go another way.  This fatal quality of Brutus causes the downfall of the conspiracy. 

When Antony comes in to the scene and sees the body of Caesar, he is aghast. Antony offers himself to be killed because he feels this would be the perfect time to die—alongside of the great Caesar.

Antony goes to each of the conspirators, looks them in the eyes, and shakes their bloody hands.  He has a two-fold purpose: to satisfy them that he is not vengeful toward them—and to make a promise to himself and Caesar that he will gain revenge from this disreputable murderers.

Antony is no fool; neither is he a coward.  He continues to show his love for Caesar by continually stating that  he has no understanding why this has happened.  In front of the conspirators, he shows no anger.    

In his grief, Antony asks for one thing: he wants to speak to the people as Caesar’s friend. Everyone agrees to this. Antony is to stay behind for a few minutes and prepare the body for the viewing by the people.  It is at this time that Antony makes his true feelings known.

Antony promises the spirit of Caesar that he will avenge his death.  He places a curse on each of them. 

Shall in these confines with a monarch’s voice

Cry “Havoc!” and let slip the dogs of war,

That this foul deed shall smell above the earth

With carrion men, groaning for burial.

It does not matter where they go because Antony vows that he will follow them and make vulture’s food of them.

 

Sources:

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes