In act two, scene one, Cassius, Casca, Cinna, Decius, Metellus Cimber, and Trebonius visit Brutus's home around three in the morning to organize their plot to assassinate Julius Caesar at the Capitol. Brutus takes charge of the meeting by addressing the senators and telling them that it will not be...
In act two, scene one, Cassius, Casca, Cinna, Decius, Metellus Cimber, and Trebonius visit Brutus's home around three in the morning to organize their plot to assassinate Julius Caesar at the Capitol. Brutus takes charge of the meeting by addressing the senators and telling them that it will not be necessary to swear an oath because their motivation to prevent tyranny is enough to spur them to action. Brutus then convinces the senators that they will not need Cicero's help, and Cassius suggests that they also murder Mark Antony. Cassius believes that Antony is a "shrewd contriver" and recognizes that he could cause them significant anguish if allowed to live. Brutus responds by telling Cassius that they will "seem too bloody" if they take Antony's life and compares him to "a limb of Caesar." Brutus then outlines how they should go about murdering Julius Caesar by saying,
"Let us be sacrificers but not butchers, Caius. We all stand up against the spirit of Caesar, And in the spirit of men there is no blood. Oh, that we then could come by Caesar’s spirit And not dismember Caesar! But, alas, Caesar must bleed for it. And, gentle friends, Let’s kill him boldly but not wrathfully. Let’s carve him as a dish fit for the gods, Not hew him as a carcass fit for hounds. And let our hearts, as subtle masters do, Stir up their servants to an act of rage And after seem to chide 'em. This shall make Our purpose necessary and not envious, Which so appearing to the common eyes, We shall be called purgers, not murderers." (Shakespeare, 2.1.173-187).
Brutus is very much concerned about public opinion and desires the masses to view them as "purgers" and not murderers. He instructs the senators to "carve him [Caesar] as a dish fit for the gods" and commit the murder without wrath or malice. Brutus's words and actions are contradictory and the senators proceed to brutally assassinate Julius Caesar, stabbing him twenty-three times and bathing their hands in his blood. The violent, cruel nature of Caesar's assassination is something Mark Antony emphasizes during his passionate funeral oration, which incites the masses to riot and sways public opinion against the conspirators.