How Does Antony Respond To The Conspirators After The Assassination

How does Antony respond to the conspirators immediately after Caesar’s murder?

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teachersage eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Mark Antony shakes the bloody hands of the conspirators after the murder and receives reassurances from Brutus that his own life is not in danger. He pretends not to be upset, although as Casear's friend, he is deeply angry. He asks if he can speak at Caesar's funeral. Cassius opposes this idea, saying he doesn't know how this will work out. Brutus, however, is willing to allow Antony to speak, as long as he agrees not to condemn the murders, to praise Caesar and to tell the crowd he praises Caesar with the permission of the murderers. Brutus also says,

And you shall speak
In the same pulpit whereto I am going,
After my speech is ended.
Antony goes along with these ideas.
 
However, in a soliloquy following his conversation with Brutus, Antony reveals his true intentions. He addresses Caesar's corpse and apologizes for being "gentle" towards his friend's "butchers." Antony predicts civil war and havoc. He says that from beyond the grave, Caesar will wreak vengeance on the assassins and unleash "the dogs of war." In fact, while complying with the letter of what he agreed to with Brutus, Antony uses exaggerated and repeated mocking praise of Brutus to turn the mob against him and help trigger a civil war. 

 

 

mrerick eNotes educator| Certified Educator

With a handshake and an assurance that if the conspirators can effectively show why Caesar had to die, Antony will support their actions.  What he doesn't say, though, is that he really doesn't mean it and he's only biding his time until he has substantial troops to force them out of power.

By appearing to be friendly to the conspirators, he is able to take some focus away from himself, providing him the necessary time to recruit Octavious in seeking for some revenge.

Read the study guide:
Julius Caesar

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