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In Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, what is the Second Triumvirate? Who are its members?...

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kellix3 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 3, 2009 at 5:38 AM via web

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In Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, what is the Second Triumvirate? Who are its members? (Act Four, Scene 1)

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 3, 2009 at 12:23 PM (Answer #1)

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The Second Tiumvirate was formed after the assassination of Julius Caesar; it consisted of Caesar Octavius (later known as Augustus Caesar), Marc Antony, and Marcus Aerilius Lepidus.  After the assassination, they set out to punish the murderers of Caesar, Brutus and Cassius, who were defeated in two battles fought at Phillippi. 

After this battle, the Triumvirate agreed to divide the provinces of the Republic into spheres of influence.  Octavian took the West, Antony the East, and Lepidus Hispania and Africa.  In September 40 B.C. a Pact was enacted.

In Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar," the play ends with the death of noble Brutus and the country is separated.  Act Four, Scene I foreshadows the envy of the men for each other.  In this scene Antony callously compiles a list of men in a proscription which will deal death to some.  Antony suggests letting Lepidus go.  However, Octavius argues that

You may do your will;But he's a gried and valiant soldier.

But, Marc Antony will not hear such an objection: 

So is my horse, Octavius, and for that /I do appoint him stor of provender.

At this point, Octavius begins to worry about others.  Here the moral flaw in Marc Antony's character can also be seen.  An unflattering picture of the great Antony as well as a warning of civil war.

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