In Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, what is the Second Triumvirate? Who are its members? (Act Four, Scene 1)

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Second Tiumvirate was formed after the assassination of Julius Caesar; it consisted of Caesar Octavius (later known as Augustus Caesar), Marc Antony, and Marcus Aerilius Lepidus.  After the assassination, they set out to punish the murderers of Caesar, Brutus and Cassius, who were defeated in two battles fought at Phillippi. 

After this battle, the Triumvirate agreed to divide the provinces of the Republic into spheres of influence.  Octavian took the West, Antony the East, and Lepidus Hispania and Africa.  In September 40 B.C. a Pact was enacted.

In Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar," the play ends with the death of noble Brutus and the country is separated.  Act Four, Scene I foreshadows the envy of the men for each other.  In this scene Antony callously compiles a list of men in a proscription which will deal death to some.  Antony suggests letting Lepidus go.  However, Octavius argues that

You may do your will;But he's a gried and valiant soldier.

But, Marc Antony will not hear such an objection: 

So is my horse, Octavius, and for that /I do appoint him stor of provender.

At this point, Octavius begins to worry about others.  Here the moral flaw in Marc Antony's character can also be seen.  An unflattering picture of the great Antony as well as a warning of civil war.

thetall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

After the assassination of Julius Caesar, Mark Antony delivers a speech that moves the citizens against the assassins, and Brutus and his colleagues are forced to flee. Antony reminds the people that Caesar rejected the crown he offered him. He also reads Caesar’s will, which clearly demonstrates that he was not ambitious but only wanted the best for the citizens.

SERVANT: I heard them say Brutus and Cassius are riding like madmen through the gates of Rome.

Octavius, Lepidus, and Antony meet to plan the punishment of the conspirators and the assassination of those whom they believe threaten their newfound positions. The three individuals are planning to divide the territory into parts three and share it among themselves. However, Antony has reservations about offering Lepidus his share. At this point, the Second Triumvirate is already taking shape, and its members are Octavius, Lepidus, and Antony. They are actively seeking to fill the gap left by Caesar.

ANTONY: This is a foolish man without merit, Good to be sent on errands. Is it fitting that with the world divided into three parts, he should be one of the three to share it?

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Julius Caesar

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