In Julius Caesar, what is the purpose of picturing Octavius and Antony disagreeing about military strategy?act 5

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sagetrieb's profile pic

sagetrieb | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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Another way to understand this conflict is to see it in relation to their previous discussion concerning Lepidus in Act 4 and then in relation to the Brutus/Cassius conflict also in Act 4. Although Antony rouses he plebeians with rhetorical power after the assassination, we see a less attractive side of him when he and Octavius bargain over names on the death list and when he disparages Lepidus, both incidents suggesting he cherishes his own ambitions for political leadership over the good of Rome.  Also in Act 4, we see Brutus and Cassius argue, but they resolve their disagreements in a warm, very human way, and this resolution throws into relief the instability between the alliance of Antony and Octavius, causing us to see that Rome without Caesar might result only in confusion and uncertainty.  However, when the young Octavius overrules Antony in Act 5, we understand that he will become a good ruler for he appears just and strong, and his   decision to pardon and take into his service “all that served Brutus” confirms this, for he makes it independently and it is undisputed by Antony

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mrerick | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

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Another strong emphasis is placed on the juxtaposition of arguments between Oct/Ant and Brut/Cass.  There appears to be a struggle for power with-in both camps - something that would have been and still is!) common amongst most military campaigns.  It's important that the reader see how similar things are on both sides of the battle in order to form a personal opinion about the state of Rome and its potential new leader.

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bmadnick | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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Octavius, Caesar's chosen successor, is showing that his words equal action just as his adopted father's did. In Act I, scene ii, Antony comments that "When Caesar says, 'Do this', it is performed." Caesar the father and Caesar the son (Octavius)both show their authority as powerful leaders. After Octavius disagrees with Antony, Antony refers to him as Caesar, establishing his permanence as the leader of Rome. Also, the fact that Octavius shows such authority in the last act suggests that the Roman Empire will be stable for the first time since Caesar's death.

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