What is Mark Antony's message?

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dstuva's profile pic

Doug Stuva | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Concerning Antony's speech in Julius Caesar, Act 3.2, I'll summarize the speech by stating the main points, with an emphasis on the logic Antony uses.  He says:

  1. He comes not to praise Caesar, but to bury him, and if Caesar was ambitious as Brutus  says, Caesar deserved to die.
  2. He is there with the permission of the conspirators, who let him speak because they are honorable.
  3. Caesar was Antony's friend, but he was ambitious as Brutus says:  he made Rome wealthy, cried when the poor cried, turned down the crown three times.  But he was an ambitious man, as Brutus says.
  4. You loved him once, why can't you mourn for him?
  5. My heart is in the coffin with Caesar--I have to pause until it comes back to me.
  6. If I wanted to stir your minds I would show you this parchment (paper) I have in my hands, but I won't because then I would wrong Brutus and Cassius, and they are honorable men.
  7. I will not read it.  It would make you angry.  It is good that you are not aware that you are his heirs.
  8. Wait a while, I have gone too far.  I'm afraid I have wronged the men whose daggers killed Caesar.
  9. Come closer, look at Caesar's body.  This hole was made by Cassius, etc.
  10. Brutus was Caesar's angel, and when Brutus made this hole Caesar died from betrayal.
  11. Caesar fell and the blood ran.
  12. Wait!  Don't let me stir you up, for those that have done this are honorable men
  13. I am a lousy speaker, but if I were a great speaker like Brutus, I would stir you up to riot.

And they do riot.

Hope this helps.

dbello's profile pic

dbello | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

The public speech Antony gives at Caesar's funeral in Act III is carried out to create a political apex of agitation within the city. Antony the Tribune of the plebs speaks to 'the people' in a simple oratory they could understand, the conspirators murdered the man who fed and cared about you. Antony's funeral speech took full advantage of the existing political unrest in Rome, his message subtle but clear, it's us or them...which side would the people choose???

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I assume you are referring to what Mark Antony says in Act III, Scene 2 -- in his funeral oration for Caesar.

In that speech, what he is basically doing is inciting the people of Rome to fight against the conspirators who have killed Caesar.  He does this by praising Caesar and by denouncing (though he does this very subtly by pretending to praise them) the conspirators.

He says that Caesar was a generous, honorable man who was not trying to take power in Rome and that the conspirators were dishonorable.

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