The Speeches Of Brutus And Antony In Julius Caesar

The speech of Brutus :

After the murder of Caesar all the citizens crowded round Brutus and Cassius and demanded an explanation of the reasons why their hero was killed. Brutus took them to a public place and delivered a fine and impressive speech.

Addressing them as “Romans, countrymen and lovers” he asked them to hear him for his cause and believe him for his honour. To the friends of Caesar his explanation was that Caesar was his friend also. Whey they did he murder him? Only because the interests of the country were more important than the interest of a friend. He killed Caesar not because beloved Caesar less but be- cause he loved Rome more. Caesar’s death had freed them all from bondage.

Brutus then put the entire issue in a nutshell in the following words:

“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 velour; and death for his ambition.”

He killed Caesar because he was ambitious and wanted to get more and more power in his hands by enslaving the Romans more. Brutus proceeded to ask them whether there was any one among them so mean that he did not love his country, for he had offended only such a person.

When the question was put in this form none could come forward to say that Brutus had offended him. So, with one voice they replied, “None, Brutus none.”

Brutus then concluded by saying that everyone of them including even Mark Antony shall receive the benefit of his death, a place in the Commonwealth. He had killed his best friend for the good of his country, and he was keeping the same dagger for himself whenever his countrymen needed his death.

One citizen now suggested that he should be brought with triumph to his house. Another said that he should be made Caesar. They wanted to take him in a procession but he asked them to stay where they were and for his sake to listen to the speech which Mark Antony had been permitted to make. So say- ing, he departed alone. Antony now ascended the pulpit.

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The Speech of Antony :

Antony addressed them as “Friends, Romans and countrymen” and told them at the outset that he had no intention of praising Caesar, The noble Brutus had told them that Caesar was ambitious and if it was so it was indeed a great fault. But Caesar brought many captives to Rome and the ransom obtained to set them free filled the treasury of Rome. Would Caesar have done this if he was ambitious? When the poor were in trouble Caesar used to weep. An ambitious man should have a stronger heart. On the Lupercalia he was thrice offered the kingly crown and he refused it thrice.

After everyone of these statements Antony said, “Yet Brutus says he was ambitious and sure he (Brutus) is an honourable man.” The word “honourable” was used with greater and greater irony as the speech proceeded.

He told them that they all loved him once. What then prevented them from mourning for him? Then looking at the corpse of Caesar he said that his heart was in the coffin there, and he must pause till it came back.

Actually Antony had stopped to know the effect of his words. He was gratified to find that the citizens were moved. They were saying that there was much reason in his sayings and Caesar had been greatly wronged. The fourth citizen even said that it was certain that Caesar was not ambitious.

Antony then proceeded to say that till the previous day Caesar’s word was respected by them all, but now none was so poor as to do him reverence. He said that if he roused them up to mutiny he would be doing wrong to Brutus and Cassius who were all “honourable” men. He would rather wrong Caesar. But he had found Caesar’s will in his closet which he did not want to read to them, for if they heard the will they would feel so thankful to Caesar that they would go and kiss his wounds and even preserve his fair as a very precious possession.

Now the citizens all shouted “The will !” The will! We will hear Caesar’s will.”

Antony then pretended to persuade them not to force him to read the will. It was not proper for them to know how much Caesar loved them, for hearing the will would inflame them. Nay, it would make them mad.

The citizens all shouted, “The will, the will !” Antony now pretended to be sorry that he had excited them so much, for he was in this way wronging the “honourable” men who had killed Caesar.



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