What task does Brutus have the conspirators do? And why? Act 3 Scene 1

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lsumner | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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Brutus and the conspirators stab Caesar thirty three times. After the stabbing, Brutus directs the conspirators to dip their arms in Caesar's blood. He then directs them to return to the market-place with their swords smeared in Caesar's blood. He directs them to cry out that there is liberty now that Caesar is dead:

Bend, Romans, bend,
And let’s wash our hands in Caesar's blood
Up to the elbows, and smear our swords with it.
Then we will walk out, even to the market-place,
And waving our red weapons over our heads,
Let's all cry, "Peace, freedom, and liberty!"

Brutus is advising the conspirators on how to act once they reach the market-place. 

Once they reach the market-place, Brutus is trying to communicate with the people. He is persuading them to think of Caesar's death as a sign of liberty. In other words, Brutus is stating that tyranny is dead. Liberty prevails. Brutus desires to comfort the people and calm them with his rhetorical speech. Brutus is trying to reassure the people that Caesar had to be killed in order for liberty to come forth. 

Brutus plans what he shall say to pacify the people. That is his main concern now that Caesar is dead. He speaks to Mark Antony first saying that they shall give him reason as to why they have murdered Caesar:

Only be patient until we have pacified
The multitude, who are beside themselves with fear,
And then we will tell you the reason
Why I, that loved Caesar when I struck him,
Have acted this way.

Brutus continues to speak to the Roman people. His use of rhetoric quicly wins over the people. He points out that he loved Caesar but he had to kill Caesar for his ambition. He continues to express his own grief at having had to murder Caesar. Brutus is very convincing. He persuades the people to believe him. His excellent speech convinces the people that Caesar had become overly ambitious and had to die for his ambition:

As Caesar loved me, I
weep for him; as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was
valiant, I honor him; but, as he was ambitious, I killed him.
There are tears for his love; joy for his fortune; honor for his
valor, and death for his ambition. Who is here so low that they would
rather be a slave?

Brutus is convincing. All would have been well had he not allowed Antony to speak.


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