Julius Caesar Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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What does Antony ask of the conspirators after Caesar's death in Act 3, Scene 1 of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar?

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When Mark Antony enters the scene after Caesar's death, the very first thing he asks the conspirators is if they plan to kill him, too. He also shows his devotion to Caesar by asserting that there would be no better place for him to die than by the side of Caesar and no better means for him to die than by "those your swords, made rich / With the most noble blood of all this world" (3.1.155-56).

After Brutus replies by arguing that they committed the bloody deed for the good of all of Rome and have no desire to likewise harm Anthony, Mark Anthony next shakes the hand of each conspirator, as a gesture of making peace, and asks them to further explain the reasons why they killed Caesar. Yet, we soon realize he shakes their hands with the purpose of manipulating them and the situation. After shaking their hands, he asks permission to present Caesar's body to the public in the market place; he then asks permission to speak on Caesar's behalf as a friend at a funeral. Since Brutus has been put at ease by Antony's gesture of peace, he willingly permits Antony to do so despite Cassius's warning that Antony could turn the public against them.

In Antony's soliloquy towards the end of the scene, we learn that Antony has every intention of turning the public against the conspirators. He vows to Caesar that Caesar will be revenged in the form of "civil strife [that] / Shall cumber all the parts of Italy" (264-65). We can interpret the phrase "civil strife" as referring to civil war. He continues further to prophecy that this civil war will be the bloodiest all of Italy has ever seen.

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