Cassius is practical in dealing with Antony. Cassius is already thinking about how the government will be reorganized now that Caesar lies dead. He asks Antony a cunningly phrased question:
I blame you not for praising Caesar so;
But what compact mean you to have with us?
Will you be pricked in number of our friends,
Or shall we on, and not depend on you?
Antony knows that his life is still in grave danger. The conspirators could turn on him and kill him at any moment. Only Brutus seems to be holding them back. Cassius does not want to make Antony an offer he can't refuse. He doesn't ask: "Will you be pricked in number of our friends, or do you intend to be one of our enemies?" Cassius is suggesting that Antony is free to leave and will not be killed regardless of which choice he expresses. He says: "Or shall we on, and not depend on you?" But Antony know they may do more than simply forego depending on him; they may kill him. Cassius wants to give Antony the impression that he has some freedom of choice here—but Antony knows it could be a choice between joining or getting killed. Antony is cunning enough to put on a big act of joining the conspirators and shaking every one by the bloody hand. He hates them all and trusts none of them except for Brutus—a little. He doesn't know how much control Brutus may have over all the other conspirators, especially now that they have tasted blood. The audience doesn't know either. It is a tense situation. They may see Antony killed before their eyes. Antony must have nerves of steel. If they all killed Julius Caesar, why should they quibble at killing Antony? Cassius would love to kill him right then and there. He knows Antony to be very dangerous. There are a whole lot of Romans who are very dangerous, and yet Brutus has insisted that only Caesar should be killed. When Antony gets into power, he has no such scruples. He immediately gets together with Octavius and Lepidus and draws up a whole list of Romans who are to be summarily executed.