In the opening of Act 4 Scene 1 of Julius Caesar, what are Antony, Octavius and Lepidus doing?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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At the beginning of Act IV scene 1 we see further evidence of political intrigue and cloak-and-dagger Machiavellian approaches to power. Now that Julius Caesar has been assassinated and Brutus and Cassius have left, the Republic is in turmoil and Antony, Octavius and Lepidus are in power. Trying to secure their own leadership, as the scene opens, they are drawing up a list of political enemies to be slaughtered. By "pricking" the names of these people they mark them to die, even those who are closest to them or relatives:

Upon condition Publius shall not live,

Who is your sister's son, Mark Antony.

We see these three characters willing to sacrifice family members as part of a measure to secure their power. In response to this condition from Lepidus, Antony replies that "with a spot I damn him." In the murky world of politics and power we are presented with yet more characters who are willing to do anything to maintain their position--even if it means killing others.