Julius Caesar Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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In Julius Caesar, why does Antony call Brutus "the noblest Roman of all"?  

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D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Mark Antony becomes so angry at Brutus for killing Caesar that he mocks the idea that Brutus is an "honorable man," speaking with such sarcasm in front of the crowd after the assassination that he turns the common people against Brutus.
Later, Brutus, knowing he is defeated in his fight against Antony in the civil war that breaks out, falls on his sword, saying his own death is more welcome to him than the death of Caesar.
Once Brutus is dead, Antony softens his stance against him and acknowledges what we all know to be true: that Brutus was the only one of the conspirators who genuinely put the good of Rome ahead of personal ambition. Brutus, Antony said, was a person of "honest thought" who cared about the "common good." Antony also says of Brutus that
His life was gentle, and the elements
So mixed in him that Nature might stand up
And say to all the world, “This was a man.”
This is a famous passage, and we all might agree that Brutus was a man who tried his best to live up to his convictions. That is why his betrayal was especially shocking to both Caesar and Antony: he was the last person they would have expected to lower himself to the act of assassination.
It is worth noting, too, that as ruthless and bent on success as Antony has become, he still places a high value on a person who exemplifies a "gentle" nature. Brutus was "gentle" (counter-intuitive as that might be for an assassin) and "noble" because he had a heart for others, not just for himself.

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Dolly Doyle eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Antony calls Brutus the noblest Roman of all because Brutus was the only one of the conspirators to do what he did in the interest of Rome, rather than for personal gain. Brutus, in fact, would have rather not killed Caesar, because he loved the man as a friend and preferred not to shed blood if there had been any other way, in his mind, to save the republic from tyranny and corruption. The other conspirators acted more out of jealousy of Caesar's influence or out of hopes of gaining power themselves.

Brutus's death is tragic in that his end comes because he acted on his nobler feelings. He thought in his heart he was doing right, and you get the feeling that if he could do it all over, he would have acted differently.

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Alec Cranford eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Antony realizes that Brutus, almost alone among the conspirators, and really, the audience might think, among all of the characters in the play, acted in the interest of Rome. All of the others acted out of jealousy of Caesar's popularity and power or out of personal ambition. Brutus killed Caesar because he believed him a threat to Rome itself:

All the conspirators, save only he,
Did that they did in envy of great Caesar; 
He only, in a general honest thought 
And common good to all, made one of them. 

Brutus's suicide at the end is thus a fitting end to a man whose actions in the play are self-sacrificing in nature. Antony's comments upon finding Brutus's body form an interesting counterpoint to his speech over Caesar's body. Then, when he referred to Brutus as an "honourable man," he was doing so sarcastically. At the end of the play, he does so literally.

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