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Act V, Scenes 4 and 5: Summary and Analysis

New Characters:
Clitus, Dardanus, Strato, and Volumnius: soldiers in Brutus’ army

At the height of the second battle Brutus charges into the field. Young Cato is killed and Lucilius, an officer in Brutus’ army, is captured. To confuse the enemy soldiers, Lucilius tells them he is Brutus, and offers them money to kill him. Antony identifies their captive and tells the soldiers to keep Lucilius safely under guard.

On another part of the field, after hours of fighting, Brutus and his men are in retreat. They have lost the war. Brutus begs Clitus, Volumnius, and Dardanus to assist him in his suicide, but they decline and run off as Antony and Octavius advance. Brutus convinces Strato to hold his sword while Brutus runs onto it and kills himself.

Octavius and Antony arrive with Lucilius and Messala under guard. When they ask for Brutus, Strato says his master is safe from capture and humiliation. Octavius offers amnesty for those who served Brutus and takes them into his army, restoring order after the chaos of civil war. Antony praises Brutus, calling him a noble Roman and an honest man, the best of the conspirators. The play ends with Octavius making plans to bury the dead, including Brutus, who will be given an honorable soldier’s burial, and spread the news of their great victory.

The end arrives as Brutus sees his soldiers and his friends killed or captured. Lucilius is taken by Antony’s soldiers. He tries to confuse them by claiming that he is Brutus, to allow the real Brutus to escape. But Antony recognizes him and tells his soldiers, “Give him all kindness. I had rather have / Such men my friends than enemies.” (Sc. 4, 29–30) Antony seems to be recruiting allies for a future clash with Octavius.

Brutus now realizes he has lost. “Our enemies have beat us to the pit. / It is more worthy to leap in ourselves / Than tarry till they push us.” (Sc. 5, 27–29) Brutus is in tears when he pleads for someone to assist him in his plan to kill himself, but Clitus, Dardanus and Volumnius turn down his request as “not an office for a friend, my lord.” (Sc. 5, 33)

Brutus says his final farewells, content that he is going to his death knowing that what he did was right for Rome. He is still unaware that he was tricked into the conspiracy by Cassius. He tells his “poor remains of friends” “My heart doth joy that yet in all...

(The entire section is 634 words.)