Scene 3.1 - At the Capitol
The soothsayer warns Caesar again. Artemidorus gives Caesar his letter and begs him to read it. Caesar ignores them both and heads into the senate house. The senator Popillius whispers to Cassius wishing him good luck. Brutus and Cassius are concerned that their plot is discovered when Popillius speaks to Caesar, but the expression on Caesar's face indicates that he is still ignorant of the plot against him.
The execution of the plan is underway. A conspirator takes Antony out of the way. Metellus Cimber, a conspirator, kneels in front of Caesar praising his greatness. Caesar says that no amount of flattery will convince him to allow Metellus Cimber's brother Publius back from exile. Metellus then asks around if someone nobler than he could support his plea to Caesar. The real purpose is to get everyone closer to Caesar. Brutus, to Caesar's surprise, kneels to support Metellus' cause, and then Cassius kneels. Caesar tells them all that he will not budge and that Publius Cimber will remain in exile because once Caesar makes a decision, it is final. The rest of the conspirators get closer and kneel. Finally, Casca kneels and draws his dagger. They begin to stab Caesar, and as Caesar struggles to survive against them all, he realizes that Brutus is stabbing him, too. At that point, Caesar stops struggling and declares that he willingly dies if his own friend murders him.
The conspirators shout freedom. Brutus tries to calm everyone down saying that the worst is over. But no one listens and they all flee the senate house. Brutus tells his fellow conspirators to bathe their hands in Caesar's blood and parade around the Roman Forum crying freedom. They smear their hands with Caesar's blood, and as they do, they imagine that people in the future will act out this heroic scene many times.
A servant of Antony enters requesting an audience for Antony with the conspirators to understand why they killed Caesar. Brutus grants it because he hopes that he can convince Antony that killing Caesar was the right thing to do. When Antony enters, he sees the dead body of Caesar and his emotions overwhelm him. Antony stares in disbelief that for all of Caesar's mighty accomplishments in life, he has been brought down so low in death. He begs the conspirators to kill him now so that he may lie with Caesar, as Antony is unable to conceive of a better time or place to die. Brutus pleads for Antony to understand that they killed Caesar for the good of Rome, and now that it is done, their swords have lost their edge and can do no more harm. Brutus says that after they have calmed the public down, he will be able to explain why he felt he had to kill Caesar even though he was a friend.
Antony seems appeased for now, and he shakes the bloody hand of each conspirator. As he does, emotions overrun him again. He cries out to Caesar asking his forgiveness for shaking the bloodstained hands of the men who killed him, right over his dead body. Cassius, worried because of Antony's displays of emotion over Caesar, asks him if he can be counted on to be on their side. Antony answers that he can be, but he simply lost himself when he looked down at Caesar's body. Brutus, trying to comfort him, claims that even if Antony were Caesar's son he would agree with their decision to kill Caesar. This seems to satisfy Antony, and now all he wishes is to speak at Caesar's funeral. Cassius takes Brutus aside and tell him not to allow it. Brutus says that he will speak first at the funeral to warm the public towards their viewpoint. Brutus makes Antony promise not to say anything damaging about them. The conspirators leave.
Antony, now alone with Caesar's body, begs him for forgiveness in bargaining with the conspirators. He promises that he will make the world pay. He will bring about so much destruction and havoc that the world will no longer feel sorrow: mothers will smile when they see their babies ripped to pieces. It will be as if hell were set loose on earth.
The servant of Octavius enters and sees Caesar's corpse. Antony tells the servant to leave because Antony begins to cry again when he sees the tears in the servant's eyes. Antony tells him to warn Octavius to stay away from Rome until after the funeral, but before he does so, Antony asks for his assistance in carrying Caesar's body to the Roman Forum in preparation for his speech that will send the people off in violent mobs.
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Points to Ponder
Did You Know
Scenes 2.2, 2.3, and 2.4
Scenes 3.2 and 3.3
Scenes 5.1 and 5.2
Scenes 5.4 and 5.5