Julius Caesar

-- Marc Antony makes a speech just after Caesar has been killed: "Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears..." What does Antony say to appeal to the Roman people? How effective is he?

Julius Caesar

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Antony's speech begins with the famous lines, "Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears" (3.2.70). His speech continually praises Brutus as "an honourable man" who has killed Caesar for being ambitious yet also describes Caesar as the most honorable and generous of men. In this way, Antony appears to praise his friend while respecting the men who murdered him, when in fact, Antony is inciting the crowd against Brutus, Cassius and the conspirators.

The plebeians are easily swayed and conclude that Caesar was not ambitious, and was wrongly murdered. Next, after the plebeians beg, Antony reads Caesar's will after descending into the masses and standing next to Caesar's body. He shows them the stab wounds and names the conspirators who gave Caesar the wounds. The crowd starts to surge away in anarchy, crying, "Revenge! About! Seek! Burn! Fire! Kill! Slay!" (3.2.196). Antony stops them and finally reads the will, in which Caesar has given every Roman citizen seventy-five drachmas and the freedom to roam his land. The plebeians react in a frenzy of anger against the men who killed Caesar, and carry away the body. Antony says, "Now let it work. Mischief, thou art afoot. / Take thou what course thou wilt" (3.2.248-249). The servant of Octavius arrives and tells Antony that Octavius is already in Rome and is waiting for him at Caesar's house.