What is a soliloquy?

A soliloquy is when a character is alone on stage expressing his thoughts. It is accepted that other characters cannot hear him, and the audience is given a chance to understand the character's inner thoughts. In Julius Caesar, Mark Antony is able to tell the audience how he feels about Caesar's death through soliloquy.

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Soliloquies are used in drama when the playwright wants to help the audience understand a character's feelings and emotions. During a soliloquy, a character is alone on stage or separated from the other actors. There is an understanding during these speeches that the audience can hear the dialogue but the other characters cannot.

In his tragedy Julius Caesar, Shakespeare employs soliloquies throughout the play to give the audience insight into the character's actions. After he learns of Caesar's murder, Mark Antony's soliloquy in act 3, scene 1 lets the audience know that he is saddened by Caesar's death but must pretend not to be. Antony realizes that the murders are still present, surrounding him and covered in Caesar's blood. He outwardly pretends to be in agreement with the murder; however, his soliloquy demonstrates his true feelings:

That I did love thee, Caesar, O 'tis true:
If then thy spirit look upon us now,
Shall it not grieve thee dearer than thy death
To see thy Antony making his peace,
Shaking the bloody fingers of thy foes?

As he looks upon the body of Caesar, Antony thinks of how much he respected him and begs his spirit to forgive him. He confesses that it must seem strange that he appears to be on the side of the murders, but he knows that it is safer for him.

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