Julius Caesar Act 3 Scene 2 - Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears
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Julius Caesar

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 Enter BRUTUS and CASSIUS, and a throng of Citizens. 
Citizens We will be satisfied; let us be satisfied. 
BRUTUS Then follow me, and give me audience, friends. 
 Cassius, go you into the other street, 
 And part the numbers.
 Those that will hear me speak, let 'em stay here; 5 
 Those that will follow Cassius, go with him; 
 And public reasons shall be rendered 
 Of Caesar's death. 
First Citizen I will hear Brutus speak.
Second Citizen I will hear Cassius; and compare their reasons, 
 When severally we hear them rendered. 10 
 Exit CASSIUS, with some of the Citizens. BRUTUS goes into the pulpit. 
Third Citizen The noble Brutus is ascended: silence! 
BRUTUS Be patient till the last. 
 Romans, countrymen, and lovers! hear me for my
 cause, and be silent, that you may hear: believe me 
 for mine honour, and have respect to mine honour, that 
 you may believe: censure me in your wisdom, and 
 awake your senses, that you may the better judge. 
 If there be any in this assembly, any dear friend of
 Caesar's, to him I say, that Brutus' love to Caesar 
 was no less than his. If then that friend demand 
 why Brutus rose against Caesar, this is my answer: 
 --Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved 
 Rome more. Had you rather Caesar were living and
 die all slaves, than that Caesar were dead, to live 
 all free men? As Caesar loved me, I weep for him; 
 as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was 
 valiant, I honour him: but, as he was ambitious, I 
 slew him. There is tears for his love; joy for his
 fortune; honour for his valour; and death for his 
 ambition. Who is here so base that would be a 
 bondman? If any, speak; for him have I offended. 
 Who is here so rude that would not be a Roman? If 
 any, speak; for him have I offended. Who is here so
 vile that will not love his country? If any, speak; 
 for him have I offended. I pause for a reply. 33 
All None, Brutus, none. 
BRUTUS Then none have I offended. I have done no more to 
 Caesar than you shall do to Brutus. The question of
 his death is enrolled in the Capitol; his glory not

 extenuated, wherein he was worthy, nor his offences 
 enforced, for which he suffered death. 39 
 Enter ANTONY and others, with CAESAR's body. 
 Here comes his body, mourned by Mark Antony: who, 
 though he had no hand in his death, shall receive
 the benefit of his dying, a place in the 
 commonwealth; as which of you shall not? With this 
 I depart,--that, as I slew my best lover for the 
 good of Rome, I have the same dagger for myself, 
 when it shall please my country to need my death. 46
All Live, Brutus! live, live! 
First Citizen Bring him with triumph home unto his house. 
Second Citizen Give him a statue with his ancestors. 
Third Citizen Let him be Caesar. 
Fourth Citizen Caesar's better parts 50
 Shall be crown'd in Brutus. 
First Citizen We'll bring him to his house 
 With shouts and clamours. 
BRUTUS My countrymen,-- 
Second Citizen Peace, silence! Brutus speaks.
First Citizen Peace, ho! 
BRUTUS Good countrymen, let me depart alone, 55 
 And, for my sake, stay here with Antony: 
 Do grace to Caesar's corpse, and grace his speech 
 Tending to Caesar's glories; which Mark Antony,
 By our permission, is allow'd to make. 
 I do entreat you, not a man depart, 60 
 Save I alone, till Antony have spoke. 
First Citizen Stay, ho! and let us hear Mark Antony. 
Third Citizen Let him go up into the public chair;
 We'll hear him. Noble Antony, go up. 
ANTONY For Brutus' sake, I am beholding to you. 65 
 Goes into the pulpit 
Fourth Citizen What does he say of Brutus? 
Third Citizen He says, for Brutus' sake, 
 He finds himself beholding to us all.
Fourth Citizen 'Twere best he speak no harm of Brutus here. 
First Citizen This Caesar was a tyrant. 
Third Citizen Nay, that's certain: 
 We are blest that Rome is rid of him. 70 
Second Citizen Peace! let us hear what Antony can say.
ANTONY You gentle Romans,-- 
Citizens Peace, ho! let us hear him. 
ANTONY Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears; 
 I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. 
 The evil that men do lives after them; 75
 The good is oft interred with their bones; 
 So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus 
 Hath told you Caesar was ambitious: 
 If it were so, it was a grievous fault, 
 And grievously hath Caesar answer'd it. 80
 Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest-- 
 For Brutus is an honourable man; 
 So are they all, all honourable men-- 
 Come I to speak in Caesar's funeral. 
 He was my friend, faithful and just to me: 85
 But Brutus says he was ambitious; 
 And Brutus is an honourable man. 
 He hath brought many captives home to Rome 
 Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill: 
 Did this in Caesar seem ambitious? 90
 When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept: 
 Ambition should be made of sterner stuff: 
 Yet Brutus says he was ambitious; 
 And Brutus is an honourable man. 
 You all did see that on the Lupercal 95
 I thrice presented him a kingly crown, 
 Which he did thrice refuse: was this ambition? 
 Yet Brutus says he was ambitious; 
 And, sure, he is an honourable man. 
 I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke, 100
 But here I am to speak what I do know. 
 You all did love him once, not without cause: 
 What cause withholds you then, to mourn for him? 
 O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts, 
 And men have lost their reason. Bear with me; 105
 My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar, 
 And I must pause till it come back to me. 
First Citizen Methinks there is much reason in his sayings. 
Second Citizen If thou consider rightly of the matter, 
 Caesar has had great wrong.
Third Citizen Has he, masters? 110 
 I fear there will a worse come in his place. 
Fourth Citizen Mark'd ye his words? He would not take the crown; 
 Therefore 'tis certain he was not ambitious. 
First Citizen If it be found so, some will dear abide it.
Second Citizen Poor soul! his eyes are red as fire with weeping. 
Third Citizen There's not a nobler man in Rome than Antony. 116 
Fourth Citizen Now mark him, he begins again to speak. 
ANTONY But yesterday the word of Caesar might 
 Have stood against the world; now lies he there.
 And none so poor to do him reverence. 120 
 O masters, if I were disposed to stir 
 Your hearts and minds to mutiny and rage, 
 I should do Brutus wrong, and Cassius wrong, 
 Who, you all know, are honourable men:
 I will not do them wrong; I rather choose 125 
 To wrong the dead, to wrong myself and you, 
 Than I will wrong such honourable men. 
 But here's a parchment with the seal of Caesar; 
 I found it in his closet, 'tis his will:
 Let but the commons hear this testament-- 130 
 Which, pardon me, I do not mean to read-- 
 And they would go and kiss dead Caesar's wounds 
 And dip their napkins in his sacred blood, 
 Yea, beg a hair of him for memory,
 And, dying, mention it within their wills, 135 
 Bequeathing it as a rich legacy 
 Unto their issue. 
Fourth Citizen We'll hear the will: read it, Mark Antony. 
All The will, the will! we will hear Caesar's will.
ANTONY Have patience, gentle friends, I must not read it; 
 It is not meet you know how Caesar loved you. 141 
 You are not wood, you are not stones, but men; 
 And, being men, bearing the will of Caesar, 
 It will inflame you, it will make you mad:
 'Tis good you know not that you are his heirs; 145 
 For, if you should, O, what would come of it! 
Fourth Citizen Read the will; we'll hear it, Antony; 
 You shall read us the will, Caesar's will. 
ANTONY Will you be patient? will you stay awhile?
 I have o'ershot myself to tell you of it: 150 
 I fear I wrong the honourable men 
 Whose daggers have stabb'd Caesar; I do fear it. 
Fourth Citizen They were traitors: honourable men! 
All The will! the testament!
Second Citizen They were villains, murderers: the will! read the will. 155 
ANTONY You will compel me, then, to read the will? 
 Then make a ring about the corpse of Caesar, 
 And let me show you him that made the will. 
 Shall I descend? and will you give me leave? 160
Several Citizens Come down. 
Second Citizen Descend. 
Third Citizen You shall have leave. 
 ANTONY comes down. 
Fourth Citizen A ring; stand round. 
First Citizen Stand from the hearse, stand from the body.
Second Citizen Room for Antony, most noble Antony. 166 
ANTONY Nay, press not so upon me; stand far off. 
Several Citizens Stand back; room; bear back. 
ANTONY If you have tears, prepare to shed them now. 
 You all do know this mantle: I remember 170
 The first time ever Caesar put it on; 
 'Twas on a summer's evening, in his tent, 
 That day he overcame the Nervii: 
 Look, in this place ran Cassius' dagger through: 
 See what a rent the envious Casca made: 175
 Through this the well-beloved Brutus stabb'd; 
 And as he pluck'd his cursed steel away, 
 Mark how the blood of Caesar follow'd it, 
 As rushing out of doors, to be resolved 
 If Brutus so unkindly knock'd, or no; 180
 For Brutus, as you know, was Caesar's angel: 
 Judge, O you gods, how dearly Caesar loved him! 
 This was the most unkindest cut of all; 
 For when the noble Caesar saw him stab, 
 Ingratitude, more strong than traitors' arms, 185
 Quite vanquish'd him: then burst his mighty heart; 
 And, in his mantle muffling up his face, 
 Even at the base of Pompey's statua, 
 Which all the while ran blood, great Caesar fell. 
 O, what a fall was there, my countrymen! 190
 Then I, and you, and all of us fell down, 
 Whilst bloody treason flourish'd over us. 
 O, now you weep; and, I perceive, you feel 
 The dint of pity: these are gracious drops. 
 Kind souls, what, weep you when you but behold 195
 Our Caesar's vesture wounded? Look you here, 
 Here is himself, marr'd, as you see, with traitors. 
First Citizen O piteous spectacle! 
Second Citizen O noble Caesar! 
Third Citizen O woful day! 200
Fourth Citizen O traitors, villains! 
First Citizen O most bloody sight! 
Second Citizen We will be revenged. 
All Revenge! About! Seek! Burn! Fire! Kill! Slay! 
 Let not a traitor live!
ANTONY Stay, countrymen. 205 
First Citizen Peace there! hear the noble Antony. 
Second Citizen We'll hear him, we'll follow him, we'll die with him. 
ANTONY Good friends, sweet friends, let me not stir you up 
 To such a sudden flood of mutiny.
 They that have done this deed are honourable: 210 
 What private griefs they have, alas, I know not, 
 That made them do it: they are wise and honourable, 
 And will, no doubt, with reasons answer you. 215 
 I come not, friends, to steal away your hearts:
 I am no orator, as Brutus is; 
 But, as you know me all, a plain blunt man, 
 That love my friend; and that they know full well 
 That gave me public leave to speak of him: 220
 For I have neither wit, nor words, nor worth,
 Action, nor utterance, nor the power of speech, 
 To stir men's blood: I only speak right on; 
 I tell you that which you yourselves do know; 
 Show you sweet Caesar's wounds, poor poor dumb mouths, 
 And bid them speak for me: but were I Brutus, 226
 And Brutus Antony, there were an Antony 
 Would ruffle up your spirits and put a tongue 
 In every wound of Caesar that should move 
 The stones of Rome to rise and mutiny. 230
All We'll mutiny.
First Citizen We'll burn the house of Brutus. 
Third Citizen Away, then! come, seek the conspirators. 
ANTONY Yet hear me, countrymen; yet hear me speak. 
All Peace, ho! Hear Antony. Most noble Antony! 
ANTONY Why, friends, you go to do you know not what:
 Wherein hath Caesar thus deserved your loves? 
 Alas, you know not: I must tell you then: 
 You have forgot the will I told you of. 
All Most true. The will! Let's stay and hear the will. 240
ANTONY Here is the will, and under Caesar's seal.
 To every Roman citizen he gives, 
 To every several man, seventy-five drachmas. 
Second Citizen Most noble Caesar! We'll revenge his death. 
Third Citizen O royal Caesar! 
ANTONY Hear me with patience.
All Peace, ho! 
ANTONY Moreover, he hath left you all his walks, 
 His private arbours and new-planted orchards, 
 On this side Tiber; he hath left them you, 250
 And to your heirs for ever, common pleasures,
 To walk abroad, and recreate yourselves. 
 Here was a Caesar! when comes such another? 
First Citizen Never, never. Come, away, away! 
 We'll burn his body in the holy place, 255
 And with the brands fire the traitors' houses.
 Take up the body. 
Second Citizen Go fetch fire. 
Third Citizen Pluck down benches. 
Fourth Citizen Pluck down forms, windows, any thing. 
 Exeunt Citizens with the body. 
ANTONY Now let it work. Mischief, thou art afoot, 261
 Take thou what course thou wilt! 
 Enter a Servant 
 How now, fellow! 
Servant Sir, Octavius is already come to Rome. 
ANTONY Where is he? 
Servant He and Lepidus are at Caesar's house.
ANTONY And thither will I straight to visit him: 
 He comes upon a wish. Fortune is merry, 
 And in this mood will give us any thing. 
Servant I heard him say, Brutus and Cassius 269
 Are rid like madmen through the gates of Rome.
ANTONY Belike they had some notice of the people, 
 How I had moved them. Bring me to Octavius. 

Next: Julius Caesar, Act 3, Scene 3


Explanatory Notes for Act 3, Scene 2
From Julius Caesar. Ed. Samuel Thurber. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.



Scene 2

The scene of the famous speeches to the citizens of Rome, -- two of the most widely known passages in all Shakespeare. Notice that Brutus speaks with studied plainness of manner, disdaining oratorical tricks and presenting his case with fewest possible words. He believes that his cause is plainly right and needs no defence. He tries to seem to have brought no passion to his deed as assassin. Antony, on the contrary, uses all the tricks of a mob leader. He is overwhelmed with grief and apologizes for his emotion, which, however, he displays before the people with clever effect. He evidently understands his audience better than does Brutus.

It is still the ides of March, a few hours perhaps after Caesar's death. Up to this point the conspirators have carried everything before them, but in this scene the tide turns and the spirit of Caesar begins to work out its revenge.

4. part the numbers: divide the crowd.

7. And public reasons, etc.: And reasons for Caesar's death shall be publicly set forth.

11. is ascended. We should say "has ascended." The poet frequently uses forms of "be" with verbs that today take "have," as later (V, 3, 25) "my life is run his compass."

13. lovers: friends, -- as often in Shakespeare. So in 44 below, "I slew my best lover" and "Thy lover Artemidorus" (II, 3, 8).

15. have respect to: consider, look to.

16. censure: judge, -- not "find fault with."

26. There is tears. This construction, common enough in Shakespeare's time, has already occurred in the play. Do you remember "Three parts of him is ours"? "There's two or three of us"? "Is Decius and Trebonius there"?

29. bondman: slave. Where did Casca say,

So every bondman in his own hand bears
The power to cancel his captivity?
36, 37. The question of his death, etc. That is, a statement of the reasons why Cassar was put to death is placed in the official records of the Capitol.

38. extenuated: lessened, diminished. enforced. Here just the opposite of extenuated, -- that is, enlarged, exaggerated.

42. the commonwealth. According to Cassius, while Caesar lived, all Romans were "bondmen"; now that he is dead, Brutus believes that the commonwealth will be restored.

52. clamors: cheers.

57. Do grace to: honor, pay respect to.

58. Tending to: indicating, touching upon.

61. Save I alone. Shakespeare often uses the nominative case of pronouns after prepositions where modern grammatical usage demands the objective. See "save only he" in V, 5, 69.

65. I am beholding: I am beholden, or under obligations to you. Notice the marked contrast between Antony's style and that of Brutus.

74. to bury Caesar. The Romans burned their dead. Shakespeare is speaking to an English audience and thinks of English manners and customs, as when he speaks of the coffin in 106 below.

76. oft interred: often buried.

89. the general coffers: the public treasury. In "The Merchant" Portia speaks of the treasury of Venice as "the privy coffer of the state."

103. withholds you then to mourn: keeps you from mourning.

114. dear abide it: dearly pay for it. Where did Brutus say, "Let no man abide (suffer for) this deed But we the doers"?

120. so poor to do: so poor as to do, etc. Antony says there are now none so poor or humble but that Csesar is too low for their regard.

129. closet: room, private study, -- as in II, i, 35, where Lucius said to Brutus, "The taper burneth in your closed, sir."

130. the commons: the common people.

133. napkins: handkerchiefs.

137. issue: children, descendants.

141. meet: fitting, proper.

150. I have o'ershot myself. That is, I have gone too far I have spoken more than I should. To overshoot is to shoot beyond, or over, the mark.

165. hearse: bier, coffin.

167. far: further, -- as often in Shakespeare.

168. Bear back: fall back, move further away.

173. That day he overcame the Nervii. Caesar tells of his great victory over the Nervii, "the stoutest warriors of all the Belgae," in the second book of his "Gallic War." Perhaps none of his conquests had contributed more to his fame and popularity with the common people of Rome, who looked upon him as their great military hero.

175. envious: malicious, spiteful. (Cf. II, i, 178.)

179. resolved: informed, assured. Where did Antony send to Brutus to "be resolved How Caesar hath deserved to lie in death"?

181. angel. That is, Brutus was one whom Caesar could trust as he would his guardian angel. Possibly angel is equivalent here merely to "best-loved friend," "favorite."

183. most unkindest cut. Cassius used a similar double superlative when he spoke of "the most boldest and best hearts of Rome." (See III, i, 122 and note.)

194. dint: impression, influence.

197. marred ... with: mangled by.

213. private griefs: personal grievances.

221. wit: understanding.

222. utterance: gift of speech. Antonyms repeated assertion that he is not eloquent is summed up by his "I only speak right on."

243. every several: each separate. seventy-five drachmas. This is the sum given by Plutarch. The drachma was a Greek coin, worth approximately twenty cents; but of course the purchasing value of the fifteen dollars left by Caesar to each citizen was far greater then than it would be today.

249. orchards: gardens, -- as in the stage direction of II, i.

250. On this side Tiber. Caesar's gardens were in reality on the right bank of the river, or beyond the Tiber. Shakespeare copied the error from North's incorrect translation of Plutarch, left them you. The "you" is placed out of its natural order, and at the end of the line, for emphasis. Contrast this arrangement of the words with "he hath left you them."

252. To walk abroad, etc.: For walking out and refreshing yourselves.

260. forms: seats, benches.

267. He comes upon a wish. That is, he comes just at the time I most wished or desired. Fortune is merry. As we say, "Fortune smiles upon us."

270. Are rid: have ridden. (We still use both chid and chidden as past participles of "chide.")

271. Belike they had, etc.: Probably they had some information of how I had moved, or stirred up, the people.

272. Bring: escort, accompany.

How to cite the explanatory notes and scene questions:
Shakespeare, William. Julius Caesar. Ed. Samuel Thurber. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1919. Shakespeare Online. 26 Feb. 2013. < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/julius_3_2.html >.

Scene Questions for Review

microsoft images 1. Why do you think Shakespeare allows us to hear the speech of Brutus rather than that given by Cassius?

2. Do you believe that Cassius was more or less successful than Brutus in addressing the mob?

3. Do you see any reasons for having Brutus speak in prose? (Notice the form of Antony's oration, beginning with line 73.)

4. What are the most striking qualities of Brutus' speech? How would it have affected you had you been in the crowd?

5. Contrast the opening words of the speeches made by Brutus and Antony to the citizens. Which is the more appealing?

6. Point out several ways in which Antony shows greater knowledge of human nature than does Brutus, -- also greater skill as an orator.

7. What is the effect of Antony's pause at line 107? Is this merely an oratorical trick?

8. What do you feel is the most successful point made by Antony?

9. What is the effect of Antony's repeated reference to the "honorable Brutus"? How would you read these words throughout the speech?

10. Can you explain why Brutus had no lasting effect with the citizens? Would he have been more successful had he followed Antony?

11. Did Antony, in your judgment, foresee his influence upon the mob? Can you follow his plan?

12. Describe the Roman mob as you imagine it.

13. What is it that has made the speeches in this scene so famous? Quote the lines from each that you like best.

14. Read the account of these speeches in Plutarch, and then comment upon the changes and improvements made by Shakespeare in his play.


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