What is the significance of Antony's final speech after Brutus dies in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar?
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Brutus commits suicide by having his soldier hold the sword while he ran on it. None of his soldiers would kill him. In Act V, Scene v, of Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, all of the conspirators are now dead. Even Strato who held the sword for Brutus is taken off to be killed when Octavius finds out how Brutus died.
Antony and Octavius have essentially over run their opponents’ armies. They stand at the brink of returning to Rome triumphant. Antony knows the heart and mind of Brutus, but Octavius did not know him at all.
Remembering the reasons for Caesar’s death that Brutus gave during his speech to the public, Antony is reminded that Brutus tells the public that he loved Caesar but that he loved Rome more. He also said that he would rather be dead than to live in Rome under a dictatorship. Antony also knows that most of the other conspirators did not necessarily do it for the good of Rome as did the higher-minded Brutus.
As he looks at the body of Brutus, Antony is moved to say:
He, only, in a general honest thought
And common good to all, made one of them.
His life was gentle, and the elements
So mix’d in him that Nature might stand up
And say to all the world, “This was a man!”
In modern words, this is what Antony was saying about Brutus:
Brutus was the most honorable of all the conspirators.
All of the other assassins killed Caesar for jealousy and power.
It was only Brutus that became a part honestly and for the good of the Rome and the public.
He was a kind and gentle man. He had many great qualities that make up a person.
Nature or the natural world can stand up and shout to the world about Brutus: This was a Man!
To Antony, this would be the same as saying he was macho; he was cool; he was a great man. To call another man a “Man” is a great complement even today. Sometimes today, a great man is called: a man’s man. He would be both intellectual and yet sensitive to the feelings of others. Thus, ends The Tragedy of Julius Caesar.
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