Act III, Scene 1

[The senate sits on a higher level, waiting for Caesar to appear. Artemidorus and the Soothsayer are among the crowd. A flourish of trumpets. Enter Caesar, Brutus, Cassius, Casca, Decius, Metellus, Trebonius, Cinna, Antony, Lepidus, Popilius, and others. Caesar stops in front of the Soothsayer.]

The ides of March have arrived.

Yes, Caesar, but not left.

[Artemidorus steps up to Caesar with his warning.]

Hail, Caesar! Read this document.

[Decius steps up quickly with another paper.]

Trebonius would like you to read over
(When you have time) this his humble request.

O Caesar, read mine first, because mine's a request
That is more personally important to Caesar. Read it, great Caesar!

What is important to us personally shall be dealt with last.

[Caesar pushes the paper aside and turns away.]

Don't wait, Caesar. Read it right now!

What, is this man crazy?

Boy, get out of the way!

[Publius and the other conspirators force Artemidorus away from Caesar.]

What, do you present your petitions in the street?
Come to the Capitol.

[Caesar goes into the Senate House, the rest following. Popilius speaks to Cassius in a low voice.]

I hope that your enterprise today is successful.

What enterprise, Popilius?

Good luck.

[Advances to Caesar.]

What did Popilius Lena say?

He hoped that our enterprise today would be successful.
I am afraid our plot has been discovered.

Look how he approaches Caesar. Watch him.

Casca, be quick, for we are afraid of being stopped.
Brutus, what shall we do? If our plot is revealed,
Either Cassius or Caesar will not return alive,
Because I will kill myself.

Cassius, stay calm.
Popilius Lena is not talking about our plans,
For look, he smiles, and Caesar's expression does not change.

Trebonius has good timing, for see, Brutus,
He draws Mark Antony out of the way.

[Exit Antony and Trebonius.]

Where is Metellus Cimber? Let him go
And immediately present his petition to Caesar.

He is ready. Get near him and back him up.

Casca, you will be the first that raises your hand.

[Caesar seats himself in his high Senate chair.]

Are we all ready? What is now wrong
That Caesar and his Senate must make right?

Most high, most mighty, and most powerful Caesar,
Metellus Cimber throws before your seat
A humble heart.


I must stop you, Cimber.
This bowing and scraping
Might excite ordinary men
And change what has already been decided
Like children change their minds.
Do not be foolish
And think that Caesar's heart has such weak blood
That it will be thawed from its firmness
By things which melt fools--I mean, sweet words, low bows, and behavior fit for a dog.
Your brother is banished by law.
If you bow and beg and grovel for him,
I will kick you like a mangy dog out of my way.
You must know that Caesar does not make mistakes, nor will he be satisfied
Without a good reason.

Isn't there a voice any better than mine
To speak more successfully to Caesar
For the return of my banished brother?

I kiss your hand, but not in flattery, Caesar,
Asking that Publius Cimber may
Immediately have the right to return to Rome.

What, Brutus?

Pardon me, Caesar! Caesar, pardon me!
Cassius falls as low as your foot
To beg for freedom for Publius Cimber.

I could be well moved, if I were like you;
If I could beg others to be moved, then begging would move me;
But I am as steady as the Northern Star,
Which has no equal in the sky
Of its true and immovable nature.
The skies are painted with uncounted sparks;
They are all fire, and every one shines;
But there's only one that stays in the same place.
It's the same way in the world: it is well supplied with men.
And men are flesh and blood, and intelligent,
Yet out of all of them I know only one
That, unable to be attacked, holds his position,
Unmoved; and that I am that man,
Let me show you, even in this example,
That I was firm that Cimber should be banished.
And I am still firm to keep him that way.

O Caesar!

Get away! Will you lift up Mt. Olympus?

Great Caesar!

Can't you see that even Brutus' kneeling doesn't influence me?

My hands will speak for me!

[They stab Caesar. Casca, the others in turn, then Brutus.]

Et tu, Brute?--Then fall Caesar!


Liberty! Freedom! Tyranny is dead!
Run from here, tell the news, shout it on the streets!

Some of you go to the speakers' platforms and call out,
"Liberty, freedom, and enfranchisement!"

People and Senators, do not be afraid.
Don't run away; stand still. Ambition's debt has been paid.

Go to the pulpit, Brutus.

And Cassius, too.

Where's Publius?

He's here, very confused by this rebellion.

Stand close together, in case one of Caesar's friends
Should happen--

Don't talk about standing! Publius, be cheerful.
We do not intend to harm you
Nor any other Roman. Tell them that, Publius.

And leave us, Publius, or else the people,
Rushing on us, might harm you, an old man.

Do that, and don't let any man suffer for what happened
But we, the men who did it.

[Reenter Trebonius.]

Where is Antony?

He ran to his house, astonished.
Men, wives, and children stare, cry out, and run,
As if it were the end of the world.

Fates, we will know what you plan for us.
We know that we will die; it is only when,
And increasing their allotted days, that men care about.

Why the person who removes twenty years of life
Removes that many years of fearing death.

If you accept that, then death is a benefit.
So we are Caesar's friends, who have shortened
His time of fearing death. Stoop, Romans, stoop,
And let's bathe our hands in Caesar's blood
Up to the elbows and smear our swords.
Then we will walk forth, as far as the marketplace,
And waving our red weapons over our heads,
Let's all shout, "Peace, freedom, and liberty!"

Stoop then and wash. How many years from now
Will this lofty scene of ours be acted out
In countries not yet created and languages not yet spoken!

How many times will Caesar bleed in plays,
Who now lies on Pompey's base
No more important than the dust.

As often as that,
The group of us will be called
The men that gave their country liberty.

What, shall we go out?

Yes, we'll all go.
Brutus will lead, and we will honor him by following
With the boldest and the best hearts of Rome.

[Enter a Servant.]

Quiet! Who's here? A friend of Antony's.

Like this, Brutus, my master told me to kneel;
Like this Mark Antony told me to fall down;
And lying face down, he told me to say this:
Brutus is noble, wise, valiant, and honest;
Caesar was mighty, bold, royal, and loving.
Say I love Brutus and I honor him;
Say I feared Caesar, honored him, and loved him.
If Brutus will promise that Antony
May safely come to him and be given an explanation
Why Caesar deserved to die,
Mark Antony will not love Caesar, who is dead,
As well as Brutus, who is alive, but he will follow
The fortunes and affairs of noble Brutus
Through the hazards of this new, untried government
Faithfully. This is what my master Antony says.

Your master is a wise and valiant Roman.
I never thought of him as anything worse than that.
Tell him, if he chooses to come here,
He shall receive a satisfactory explanation and, by my honor,
Leave here without being touched.

I'll get him immediately.


I know that we will convince him to be our friend.

I hope so. But still I am
Afraid of him; and my misgivings are usually accurate.

[Reenter Antony.]

But here comes Antony. Welcome, Mark Antony.

O mighty Caesar! Do you lie so low?
Are all your conquests, glories, triumphs, spoils,
shrunk to this small amount? Fare you well.
I don't know, gentlemen, what your plans are,
Who else must have his blood let, who else is diseased.
If I myself, there is no better time
Than the time of Caesar's death; nor any instrument
Half as worthy as your swords, which have been made rich
With the most noble blood in the whole world.
I beg you, if you have a grudge against me,
Now, while your blood-stained hands stink and smoke,
Do what you want. If I live a thousand years,
I will not find myself as ready to die;
No place will please me as much, no method of death,
As next to Caesar, and by you killed,
The greatest men of this time.

O Antony, do not beg us to kill you!
Although right now we must seem bloody and cruel,
Because of our hands and this recent action
Which you can see we did, still you only see our hand
And this bleeding business that they have done.
You do not see our heart. They are pitiful;
And pity for the troubles of Rome
(As one fire consumes another, so our pity for Rome consumed our pity for Caesar)
Has done this thing to Caesar. As far as you are concerned,
Our swords are harmless to you, Mark Antony.
Our arms, strong in hate, and our hearts,
Full of brotherly feelings, welcome you
With all kinds of love, good thoughts, and reverence.

You will have as much to say as anyone
In handing out honors from the new government.

Just be patient until we have calmed
The crowds, who are beside themselves with fear,
And then we will explain to you the reason
Why I, who was Caesar's friend when I struck him,
Acted the way I did.

I do not doubt your wisdom.
Let each of you give me his bloody hand.
First, Marcus Brutus, I will shake hands with you;
Next, Caius Cassius, I take your hand;
Now, Decius Brutus, yours; now yours, Metellus;
Yours, Cinna; and, my valiant Casca, yours.
Although you are last, you are not the least in friendship, yours, good Trebonius.
Gentlemen all of you--Alas, what shall I say?
My reputation now stands on such slippery ground
That you must think of me in one of two bad ways,
Either a coward or a flatterer.
That I was your friend, Caesar, O, it's true!
If your spirit looks in on us now,
Won't it grieve you more terribly than your death
To see Antony making his piece,
Shaking the bloody hands of your enemies,
Most noble! in the presence of your corpse?
If I had as many eyes as you have wounds,
Weeping as fast as they bleed,
It would be more appropriate than to reach an agreement
In friendship with your enemies.
Forgive me, Julius! Here is the place where you were trapped, brave hart;
Here you fell; and here your hunters stand,
Marked with your blood, and red in your death.
O world, you were the forest for his hart;
And he was truly, O world, your heart!
Just like a deer, struck down by many princes,
Do you lie here!

Mark Antony--

Forgive me, Caius Cassius.
Even the enemies of Caesar will say these things,
So, from a friend, it is calm, reasonable speech.

I do not blame you for praising Caesar like that;
But what agreement do you intend to have with us?
Will you be counted as one of our friends,
Or shall we go on, and not depend on you?

That is why I shook your hands; but I was truly
Distracted by looking down at Caesar.
I am friends with you all, and friendly to you all,
With this hope, that you will give me reasons
Why and how Caesar was dangerous.

Otherwise this would be a savage display.
Our reasons are so carefully considered
That if you were, Antony, the son of Caesar,
You would be satisfied.

That's all I seek;
And I am also a suitor that I may
Display his body to the marketplace
And in the pulpit, as is appropriate for a friend,
Speak during the course of the funeral.

You shall, Antony.

Brutus, I'd like a word with you.

[Aside to Brutus.]

You don't know what you're doing. Do not let
Antony speak in his funeral.
Do you know how much the people may be moved
By the things he will say?

Excuse me,

[Aside to Cassius.]

I will myself go to the pulpit first
And show the reason for Caesar's death.
What Antony says, I will explain
He says on our authority and by our permission,
And that we want Caesar to
Have a proper funeral.
His speech will do us more good than harm.


[Aside to Brutus.]

I don't know what will happen. I don't like it.

Mark Antony, here, take Caesar's body.
In your funeral speech you may not say bad things about us,
But say anything good that you can think of about Caesar,
And say you do it with our permission.
Otherwise you shall not participate
In his funeral. And you shall speak
In the same pulpit to which I am going,
After my speech is over.

So be it.
That's all I want.

Prepare the body then, and follow us.

[Exit all but Antony, who looks down at Caesar's body.]

O, forgive me, you bleeding piece of earth,
For cooperating with these butchers!
You are the ruins of the noblest man
Who ever lived in all of history.
Woe to the hand that shed this expensive blood!
Over your wounds now I predict the future
(Which, like silent mouths, open their red lips
To beg my tongue to speak for them),
A curse will fall on the arms and legs of men;
A terrible civil war
Will burden all the parts of Italy;
Blood and destruction will be so common
And dreadful objects so familiar
That mothers will only smile when they see
Their children torn into pieces during the fighting,
All pity disappearing because cruelty is so common;
And Caesar's ghost, roaming about in search of revenge,
With Ate at his side still hot from hell,
Will in these boundaries with a ruler's voice
Cry "Havoc!" and let loose the dogs of war,
So that this terrible action will smell above the earth
With rotting corpses, begging to be buried.

[Enter Octavius' Servant.]

You serve Octavius Caesar, don't you?

I do, Mark Antony.

Caesar did write and ask him to come to Rome.

He received his letters and is on his way,
And asked me to say to you--
O Caesar!

Your heart is swollen up with grief.
Go off by yourself and weep.
Strong feeling, I see, is catching, for my eyes,
Seeing those beads of sorrow stand in yours,
Began to water. Is your master coming?

He has set up camp about twenty-one miles outside Rome.

Hurry back and tell him what has happened.
Here is a mourning Rome, a dangerous Rome,
Not a safe Rome for Octavius yet.
Leave here and tell him that. But wait awhile.
Don't go back until I have taken this corpse
Into the marketplace. There I will find out
In my speech how the people react
To the cruel action of these bloody men,
Depending on which you shall tell
Young Octavius how things stand.
Give me a hand.

[Exit with Caesar's body.]