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What is the meaning of "a place in the commonwealth" as said by Brutus in Act III Scene...

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ssfunds | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted December 18, 2012 at 7:29 PM via web

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What is the meaning of "a place in the commonwealth" as said by Brutus in Act III Scene 2 of the play 'Julius Caesar' by William Shakespeare ?

This occurs towards the end of the funeral speech by Brutus. Here's an excerpt with the part that I am unable to understand....

Here comes his body, mourned by Mark Antony, who, though he had no hand in his death, shall receive the benefit of his dying—a place in the commonwealth—as which of you shall not? With this I depart: that, as I slew my best lover for the good of Rome, I have the same dagger for myself when it shall please my country to need my death.

Please explain the whole extract if possible. Thanks a lot for the help!

 

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gpane | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted December 18, 2012 at 7:56 PM (Answer #1)

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'A place in the commonwealth' means that each and every citizen of Rome will have a share and a say in a fair, just and equal society - the idealized Roman republic which Brutus envisages and for the sake of which he killed Caesar, as he feared that Caesar might gain too much power at the expense of others. Brutus does everything for the sake of his political vision, his republican ideals where no one person can ever be allowed to have too much power. In this speech he says that even people like Antony, who seemed to be helping Caesar's rise to power, will now benefit from Caesar's elimination. He goes on to say that just as he killed Caesar for the greater good of the people, he would also be ready to kill himself if the public so desired it.This shows how passionately he believes in his own ideals; he is prepared to do anything in the interests of the greater good. However he is also extremely naive, expecting everyone else to rally to his cause.

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