Antony wants to speak at Caesar's funeral. What reaction do Brutus and Cassius have?

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Following Julius Caesar's assassination, Mark Antony cautiously sends his servant to the senators to make sure that he (Antony) is not also in danger and a target of their wrath. When Antony feels comfortable addressing Brutus and Cassius, he expresses his affinity for Julius Caesar and questions their motives. Antony cleverly shakes the senators' hands and asks Brutus if he can give Caesar's funeral oration in the marketplace. Brutus demonstrates his naivety by immediately giving Antony permission to speak at Caesar's funeral. However, Cassius is more discerning, and privately tells Brutus,

"You know not what you do. Do not consent / That Antony speak in his funeral. / Know you how much the people may be moved / By that which he will utter?" (Shakespeare, 3.1.244-248).

Brutus does not listen to Cassius's advice, instead simply telling Antony that he must not blame them (the senators) during his funeral oration. Brutus has faith that Antony will follow his directives and tells him,

"Mark Antony, here, take you Caesar’s body. / You shall not in your funeral speech blame us, / But speak all good you can devise of Caesar, / And say you do ’t by our permission. / Else shall you not have any hand at all / About his funeral. And you shall speak / In the same pulpit whereto I am going, / After my speech is ended" (Shakespeare, 3.1.258-265).

When Brutus and Cassius leave the scene, Antony reveals to the audience his true intentions and feelings regarding the senators, who brutally murdered Julius Caesar. During his funeral oration, Antony incites the masses to riot and becomes Octavius's ally during the bloody civil war.

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Mark Antony, a Caesar loyalist and sympathizer, asks the conspirators to speak at Caesar's funeral.  Brutus, who is trusting by nature, agrees to allow Mark Antony to address the Romans even though Cassius warns Brutus that this decision isn't wise. 

Brutus, in 3.1.263-267, tells Antony that allowing Antony to speak will make the conspirators' murder seem less brutal to the Romans:

What Antony shall speak I will protest

He speaks by leave and by permission,

And that we are contented Caesar shall

Have all true rites and lawful ceremonies.

It shall advantage more than do us wrong.

On the other hand, Cassius suggests that Antony will do harm instead of good (3.1.258-259):

Know you how much the people may be moved

By that which he will utter?

Ultimately, Brutus's generosity and trust account for his downfall, since the Romans do, in fact, turn against the conspirators because of what Mark Antony says at Caesar's funeral.


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