What does it mean? A soothsayer warns Julius Caesar about his impending assassination in this pivotal scene. What makes it especially important is Caesar's reaction.
More by William Shakespeare
Antony has been allowed by Brutus and the other conspirators to make a funeral oration for Caesar on condition that he will not blame them for Caesar's death; however, while Antony's speech outwardly begins by justifying the actions of Brutus and the assassins "I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him", Antony uses rhetoric and genuine reminders to ultimately portray Caesar in such a positive light that the crowd are enraged against the conspirators. Throughout his speech, Antony calls the conspirators "honourable men" — his implied sarcasm becoming increasingly obvious. He denies that Caesar wanted to make himself king, for there were many who witnessed the latter's denying the crown three times. As he does this, the crowd begins to turn against the conspirators. Antony then teases the crowd with Caesar's will, which they beg him to read, but he refuses.
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Spoken by Marc Antony, Julius Caesar, Act 3 Scene 2
Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears; I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones; So let it be with Caesar. He was my friend, faithful and just to me: But Brutus says he was ambitious; And Brutus is an honourable man. He hath brought many captives home to Rome Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill: Did this in Caesar seem ambitious? When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept: Ambition should be made of sterner stuff: Yet Brutus says he was ambitious; And Brutus is an honourable man. You all did see that on the Lupercal I thrice presented him a kingly crown, Which he did thrice refuse: was this ambition?
No Fear Act 3 Scene 2 Page 4. Page 4. He says for Brutus' sake. Let us hear what Antony can say. Peace, ho! Let us hear him. Friends, Romans, countrymen, give me your attention. I have come here to bury Caesar, not to praise him. The evil that men do is remembered after their deaths, but the good is often buried with them.