Act III, Scene 2

[Enter Brutus and Cassius and a throng of Citizens, disturbed by the death of Caesar.]

We want an explanation! Give us an explanation!

Then follow me and listen to me, friends.
Cassius, you go into the other street
And divide the crowd.
Let those who want to hear me speak stay here;
Let those who want to follow Cassius go with him;
And we will tell the people of our reasons
For killing Caesar.

First Citizen.
I will listen to Brutus.

Second Citizen.
I will listen to Cassius, and compare their reasons when we've heard them explained separately.

[Exit Cassius, with some of the Citizens. Brutus goes into the pulpit.]

Third Citizen.
The noble Brutus has reached the pulpit. Silence!

Be patient until the end. Romans, countrymen, and dear friends, hear me for my cause, and be silent, so that you can hear. Believe me because of my honor, and respect my honor, so that you may believe. Judge me in your wisdom, and pay attention so that you may be a better judge. If there is anyone in this crowd, any dear friend of Caesar's, to him I say that Brutus was as concerned about Caesar as he was. If that friend then demands to know why Brutus turned against Caesar, this is my answer: Not because I cared for Caesar less, but because I cared for Rome more. Would you rather Caesar were living, and you all die slaves, than that Caesar were dead, and you all live as freemen? Because Caesar was my dear friend, I weep for him; because he was fortunate, I rejoice at his good fortune; because he was valiant, I honor him; but--because he was ambitious, I killed him. There are tears for his friendship; joy for his fortune; honor for his valor; and death for his ambition. Which of you is so low that you would prefer to be a slave? If any of you is, speak, for I have offended that person. Which of you is so uncivilized that you would prefer not to be a Roman? If any of you is, speak, for I have offended that person. I pause for a reply.

None, Brutus, none!

Then I have offended none. I have done no more to Caesar than you will do to Brutus. The reasons for his death are on record in the Capitol; we have not belittled his accomplishments or overemphasized the failings for which he was killed.

[Enter Antony and others, with Caesar's body.]

Here comes his body, mourned by Mark Antony, who, although he did not participate in Caesar's death, will receive the benefit of his dying, a place in the commonwealth, just like all the rest of you. With this I leave, that, as I killed my best friend for the good of Rome, I have the same dagger for myself when my country decides it needs my death.

Live, Brutus! live, live!

First Citizen.
Bring him with triumph home to his house.

Second Citizen.
Give him a statue with his ancestors.

Third Citizen.
Let him be Caesar.

Fourth Citizen.
The best qualities of Caesar
Will be crowned in Brutus.

First Citizen.
We'll bring him to his house with shouts and noise.

My countrymen--

Second Citizen.
Peace! Silence! Brutus speaks.

First Citizen.
Quiet down!

Good countrymen, let me leave alone,
And, for my sake, stay here with Antony.
Give your respects to Caesar's corpse, and listen respectfully to the speech
About Caesar's accomplishments which Mark Antony,
By our permission, is allowed to make.
I beg you, not one of you leave,
Except for me, until Antony has spoken.


First Citizen.
Stay here! and let us listen to Mark Antony.

Third Citizen.
Let him go up into the speaker's platform.
We'll listen to him. Noble Antony, go up.

For Brutus' sake I am indebted to you.

[Goes into the pulpit.]

Fourth Citizen.
What does he say about Brutus?

Third Citizen.
He says that for Brutus' sake
He finds himself indebted to us all.

Fourth Citizen.
He'd better not say anything bad about Brutus here!

First Citizen.
Caesar was a tyrant.

Third Citizen.
No, that's for sure.
It's a good thing that Rome is rid of him.

Second Citizen.
Quiet! Let us listen to what Antony says.

You gentle Romans--

Quiet! Let us hear him.

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil things that men do live on after them;
The good things are often buried with their bones.
Let it be this way with Caesar. The noble Brutus
Has told you that Caesar was ambitious.
If that were true, it was a terrible fault,
And Caesar has paid for it terribly.
Here, with the permission of Brutus and the rest
(For Brutus is an honorable man;
So are they all, all honorable men),
I come to speak in Caesar's funeral.
He has brought many captives home to Rome,
Whose ransoms filled the government treasury.
Did this seem ambitious in Caesar?
Whenever the poor have cried, Caesar has wept;
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff.
But Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honorable man.
You all saw that on the Lupercal
I offered him a kingly crown three times,
Which he refused three times. Was this ambition?
But Brutus says he was ambitious;
And surely he is an honorable man.
I am speaking not to disprove what Brutus said,
But I am here to say what I do know.
You all loved him once, for good reasons.
What reason keeps you from mourning for him, then?
O judgment, you have run away to dumb animals,
And men have lost their intelligence! Bear with me,
My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar,
And I must pause until it comes back to me.

First Citizen.
It seems that what he says makes sense.

Second Citizen.
If you think about this correctly, Caesar has been treated very badly.

Third Citizen.
Has he, gentlemen?
I am afraid someone worse will come in his place.

Fourth Citizen.
Did you notice what he said? He would not take the crown;
Therefore it is certain he was not ambitious.

First Citizen.
If that is found to be true, some will pay dearly for 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.

Fourth Citizen.
Now pay attention. He's starting to speak again.

Only yesterday the word of Caesar might
Have stood against the world. Now he lies there,
And no one will stoop so low as to pay him respect.
O gentlemen! If I wanted to stir up
Your hearts and minds to mutiny and rage,
I would be doing Brutus wrong, and Cassius wrong,
Who, you all know, are honorable men.
I will not do them wrong. Instead, I choose
To wrong the dead to wrong myself and you,
Rather than wronging such honorable men.
But here's a document with Caesar's seal.
I found it in his closet; it's his will.
Just let the public hear this testament,
Which (pardon me) I do not mean to read,
And they would go and kiss dead Caesar's wounds
And dip their handkerchiefs in his sacred blood;
Yes, beg a hair from him to remember him by,
And when they are dying, mention it in their wills,
Bequeathing it as a valuable inheritance
To their children.

Fourth Citizen.
We'll hear the will! Read it, Mark Antony.

The will, the will! We will hear Caesar's will!

Have patience, gentle friends, I must not read it.
It is not proper that you know how much Caesar loved you.
You are not wood, you are not stones, but men;
And since you are men, if you hear Caesar's will,
It will excite you, it will make you mad.
It's good that you don't know that you are his heirs,
Because if you did, O, what would happen?

Fourth Citizen.
Read the will! We'll hear it, Antony!
You shall read us the will, Caesar's will!

Will you be patient? Will you wait awhile?
I have gone too far in even mentioning it to you.
I am afraid that I wrong the honorable men
Whose daggers have stabbed Caesar; I am afraid of it.

Fourth Citizen.
They were traitors. Honorable men!

The will! the testament!

Second Citizen.
They were villains, murderers! The will! Read the will!

You will force me then to read the will?
Then make a circle around Caesar's body
And let me show you the person who made the will.
Shall I come down? and will you give me permission?

Come down.

Second Citizen.

Third Citizen.
You have permission.

[Antony comes down.]

Fourth Citizen.
A circle! Stand round.

First Citizen.
Stand back from the hearse! Stand back from the body!

Second Citizen.
Make room for Antony, most noble Antony!

No, do not crowd me so much. Stand far back.

Stand back! Room! Move back!

If you have tears, prepare to shed them now.
You all recognize this toga. I remember
The first time Caesar ever put it on.
It was on a summer's evening in his tent,
That day he overcame the Nervii.
Look, in this place Cassius' dagger ran through.
See what a hole the envious Casca made.
Through this one the well-beloved Brutus stabbed;
And as he pulled his cursed steel away,
Notice how the blood of Caesar followed it,
As if it was rushing outside to find out
If it was Brutus who so unkindly knocked or not;
Because 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;
Because when the noble Caesar saw him stab,
Ingratitude, stronger than traitors' arms,
Totally defeated him. Then his mighty heart burst;
And hiding his face in his toga,
Right at the bottom of Pompey's statue
(Which ran blood the whole time) great Caesar fell.
O, what a fall that was, my countrymen!
Then I, and you, and all of us fell down,
While bloody treason grew over us.
O, now you weep, and I can tell that you feel
The beginnings of pity. These are gracious drops.
Kind souls, what, do you weep when you look only
At our Caesar's wounded clothing? Look at this!
Here is his body, damaged, as you see, with traitors.

[Pulls the cloak off Caesar's body.]

First Citizen.
O horrible sight!

Second Citizen.
O noble Caesar!

Third Citizen.
O sad day!

Fourth Citizen.
O traitors, villains!

First Citizen.
O most bloody sight!

Second Citizen.
We will get revenge.

Revenge! Look around! Seek! Burn! Fire! Kill!
Slay! Don't let a traitor live!

Wait, countrymen.

First Citizen.
Quiet there! Listen to the noble Antony.

Second Citizen.
We'll hear him, we'll follow him, we'll die with him!

Good friends, sweet friends, don't let me stir you up
To such a sudden flood of mutiny.
The men who have done this are honorable.
Alas, I don't know what private concerns they have
That made them do it. They are wise and honorable,
And no doubt will answer you with reasons.
I do not come, friends, to steal away your hearts.
I am no orator, like Brutus is,
But (as all of you know me) a plain blunt man
That loves my friend; and that is known very well by the men
Who publicly gave me permission to speak of him.
Because I don't have intelligence, or words, or worthiness,
Action, or voice, or the power of speech
To stir up men's emotions. I only speak right on.
I tell you what you yourselves know,
Show you sweet Caesar's wounds, poor poor speechless mouths,
And ask them to speak for me. But if I were Brutus,
And Brutus were Antony, then there would be an Antony
Who would ruffle up your spirits, and put a tongue
In every wound of Caesar that would persuade
The stones of Rome to rise and mutiny.

We'll mutiny.

First Citizen.
We'll burn the house of Brutus.

Third Citizen.
Let's go then! Come, look for the conspirators.

Listen to me still, countrymen. Still listen to me speak.

Be quiet! Hear Antony, most noble Antony!

Why, friends, you don't know what you are leaving to do.
How has Caesar deserved so much of your love?
Alas, you don't know! Then I have to tell you.
You have forgotten the will I told you about.

Most true! The will! Let's stay and hear the will.

Here is the will, under Caesar's seal.
He gives to every Roman citizen,
To each and every man, seventy-five drachmas.

Second Citizen.
Most noble Caesar! We'll revenge his death!

Third Citizen.
O royal Caesar!

Listen to me patiently.

Be quiet!

In addition, he has left you all his paths,
His private gardens, and newly-planted orchards,
On this side of the Tiber; he has left them to you,
And to your heirs forever--common pleasures,
To walk outside and enjoy yourselves.
Here was a Caesar! When will another one come along?

First Citizen.
Never, never! Come, away, away!
We'll burn his body in the holy place
And with the burning pieces of wood burn the traitors' houses.
Pick up the body.

Second Citizen.
Go get fire!

Third Citizen.
Pull down the benches!

Fourth Citizen.
Pull down the benches, windows, anything!

[Exit citizens with the body.]

Now let it work. Mischief, you are loose,
Take whatever path you want.

[Enter a servant.]

What do you want, fellow?

Sir, Octavius has already arrived in Rome.

Where is he?

He and Lepidus are at Caesar's house.

I will go right there to see him.
He comes just as I had hoped. Fortune is favorable,
And in this mood will give us anything.

I heard him say that Brutus and Cassius
Have ridden like madmen through the gates of Rome.

Probably they had some warning of the people,
The way I excited them. Take me to Octavius.