In Act II, what is ironic about the argument between Brutus and Cassius in regard to killing Antony, and also when Caesar is murdered?

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In Act II, the conspirators agree to kill Caesar but spare Marc Antony. The audience is aware of Brutus’s mistake not to kill Antony because he will surely avenge his dear friend. However, Brutus makes this wrong decision based on right reasons. He does not want the conspirators to be regarded as butchers but liberators. This result is hard to achieve because people seemed to love Caesar and had no qualms with Caesar’s ascension to power. They cheered when Antony offered Caesar a symbolic crown three times during his party.

It is thus ironic that Brutus wins the argument to spare Antony’s life regardless of Cassius’s fears that Antony remained dangerous, and will likely fight the conspirators with the people on his side. Although for Cassius these are only his personal fears, the audience knows for a fact that Antony will fight the conspirators and win. This situation fits the requirements of dramatic irony because the audience knows what will happen but the character (Brutus) doesn’t. The element of situational irony is also present because according to Brutus, Antony was not a threat. He does not consider the strong bond between Antony and Caesar and the people’s love for the general. Brutus expected Antony to stand down, but Antony sought revenge for his friend.


Alas, good Cassius, do not think of him.
If he love Caesar, all that he can do
Is to himself, take thought and die for Caesar.(195)
And that were much he should, for he is given
To sports, to wildness, and much company.

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This scene is an example of dramatic irony: The audience knows more at this point than Brutus and Cassius know. The audience knows that Antony is going to be very dangerous indeed and that he is going to defeat Brutus and Cassius. The audience knows that Brutus is making a grave mistake here (no pun intended!)

The other kinds of irony are situational irony and verbal irony (sarcasm).

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