This page is solely dedicated to looking at the motives, ideas, thoughts, and reasoning of Antony in Act III of Julius Ceasar. Here you will see some basic informaton on Antony based on his actions in Act III. Also, all quotations used on this page come with an interpretation into post-modern English (the English we speak today), as well as specific definitions of certain Shakespearean terminology. (the original is bolded and the interpretation in is italics below it).


This is the act where Antony becomes a key character to the play. We start to learn a bit about his own character. In the beginning of the play, Antony is basically viewed by the audience (the readers) as a devout follower of Caesar. In fact, when discussing the death of Caesar, Brutus and Cassius believe that Antony would easily be won over to their side because his stereotypical "brawns no brains" personality leads people to believe he is not very bright. They only see him as an important military power. However, Antony proves to have a manipulative characteristic within him. Due to his manipulative characteristic, the Romans are soon convinced. With the two soliloquiys he gives in Act III(shown below), Antony shows that he is capable of manipulating anyone into following his will which, in this case, results in his revenge against the Conspirators for Caesar's death.

First Century bust of Mark Antony. For original source, click here
First Century bust of Mark Antony. For original source, click here

Marcus Antonius (or Antony for short) is at first seen as a slow, innocent, and utterly useless man in the political world, as shown in this quote from Act II where Brutus states, "And for Mark Antony, think not of him, for he can do no more than Caesar's arm when Ceasar's head is cut off." (Act II, scene i, ll 194-196). In scene i, he makes a rather famous soliloquy that shows us his true self. However, he is also a fast runner.

"O pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth,
Ceasar, you must forgive me
That I am meek and gentle with these butchers.
For being nice the those butchers
Thou art the ruins of the noblest man
You are the greates man
That ever liv├Ęd in the tide of times.
Who ever lived in all of time
Woe to the hand that shed this costly blood!
Damn those who cause he deat of one so great
Over thy wounds now I do prophesy
By your name, Ceasar,
(Which like dub mouths do ope* their ruby lips
(For you would wish it done as well)
To beg the voice and utterance of my tongue)

A curse shall light upon the limbs of men;
I give a curse to all the people of Rome
Domestic fury and fierce civil strife
The people will rise and riot in the streets.
Shall cumber all the parts of Italy
Throughout all of Italy;
Blood and destruction shall be so in use
There will be so much blood and destruction
And dreadful objects so familiar
That it shall be so familiar
That mothers shall but smile when they behold
That mothers will smile when they see
Their infants quartered with the hands of war,
Their babies being brutally tortured to death
And Ceasar's spirit, ranging for revenge,
And Ceasar's ghost, lusting for revenge,
With {Ate} by his side come hot from hell
With {Ate} herself joning in the mischief
Shall in the onfines of a monarch's voice
Will, with all his kingly authority,
Cry, "Havoc!" and let slip the dogs of war,
Cry, "to war!" and add to the destruction
That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
And the death shall stink so bad
With carrion men groaning for burial"
People the world over will cry for death.
(Julius Ceasar, Act III, scene ii, ll 280-301)
hunting, seeking prey
{Ate; the Roman Goddess of discord. Greek Eris}

While Antony had merely planned his move and referred to it in the soliloquiy in scene i, in scene ii he plays it. After having convinced Brutus to let him speak at Ceasar's funeral, (on the condition that he only speak good of the conspirators), he uses the power of word choice to win the crowd over and start a civil war.

"The noble Brutus
Brutus, who is noble,
Hath told you Ceasar was ambitious
Told you Ceasar was ambitious
If it were so, it was a grievous fault
If he was, it was a fault of his
And grievously hath Ceasar answered it
And he piad for it (by dieing)
Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest
Here, by the permission of Brutus and his political
advocates (the Conspirators)

(For Brutus is an honorable man;
(For Brutus is an honorable man
So are they all, honorable men)
They all are, really)
Come I to speak at Ceasar's funeral
I've come to speak at Ceasar's funeral.
He was my friend, faithful and just to me,
He was a very good friend of mine,
But Brutus says he was ambitious
But Brutus said he was ambitious
And Brutus is an honorable man.
And Brutus is an honorable man.
He hath brought many captives home to Rome
He brought many POWs home
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill
Using his own money
Did this in Ceasar seem ambitious?**
Was that very ambitious of him?
(Julius Ceasar, Act III, scene ii, ll. 86-99)

Notice how Antony merely repeats, "Brutus is an honorable man" while going into detail about Ceasar, this persuades the Romans to believe that Julius Caesar did not deserve the death he was given by the fellow conspirators. He then continues on to talk about more of the great things Ceasar did, while merely stating "Brutus is an honorable man." He is providing evidence of Ceasar's kindness, while merely stating that Brutus is honorable. Generally, people prefer to believe in things that are backed up with hard evidence. Therefore, he's secretly banding the people against the 'honorable' conspirators.

Also see how, through the course of his speech, Antony was able to change the swing of his argument. By saying that the conspirators where 'honorable' it seemed as if he was still supporting the conspirators in his speech. However, when putting the 'honorable' actions of the conspirators into perspective, and by comparing their 'honorable' actions with Caesar's, Antony was able to change the direction of his speech before the conspirators even knew what had happened. Which once again shows his intelligence, and how he was underestimated by everyone (especially the conspirators). The scene and speech of his at Caesar's funeral expands on that. At the funeral, Antony talks about Caesar's will, in which Antony reads has given so much to the citizens of Rome. Obviously this is untrue, right after Caesar's death, Antony came to the funeral. He couldn't have stopped at Caesar's house and gotten it. So obviously, he made it up. This was "icing on the cake" that finally turned the citizens against the conspirators. Antony is clearly showing us he has been underestimated, and in fact, has delibritely shown himself as meager and dim-witted so others would disregard him. In fact, in scene ii, Antony's funeral oration becomes the most important point in the story.