In the play Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, how do Antony and Octavius react to Brutus’s death?
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It is interesting that in this tragedy that bears the name of Julius Caesar, the true tragic hero could be said to be Brutus. This theory is certainly supported by the way in which both Antony and Octavius respond to being told that Brutus killed himself. Note what Antony says about Brutus and in particular how he differed from the other conspirators that plotted to assassinate Caesar:
This was the noblest Roman of them all.
All the conspirators save only he
Did that they did in envy of great Caesar;
He, only in a general honest thought
And common good to all, made one of them.
His life was gentle, and the elements
So mixed in him that Nature might stand up
And say to all the world, "This was a man!"
Note the praise that Antony bestows upon Brutus as he says that he was "the noblest Roman of them all." In addition, Antony argues that he was the only conspirator who did what he did out of pure motives, and that he was a true man. Octavius likewise seems to recognise the innate nobility of Brutus as he orders that the body of Brutus should lie in his tent and that his body will be buried properly.
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