170. You all do know this mantle : “Of course the matter about the ‘mantle' is purely fictitious : Cæşar had on the civic gown, not the military cloak, when killed: and it was, in fact, the mangled toga that Antony displayed on this occasion : but the fiction has the effect of making the allusion to the victory seem perfectly artless and incidental.”— Hudson.

173. That day he overcame the Nervii : in 57 B.C. This was one of Cæsar's bloodiest and his most famous battle. Every schoolboy who has gone so far in the study of Latin will remember the account of this battle in the second book of the Gallic War. This bringing up of Cæsar's past glory and his great service to the state is another very clever device of Antony's ; perhaps he would not have dared do so until he had moulded the people to his will.

174. In this place ran Cassius' dagger through : Do the two prepositions seem unnecessary, or do they give an added colloquial touch to Antony's speech ?

179. As rushing out of doors : What of the taste of this violent and fanciful figure, especially in so serious a scene ? Does not one usually doubt the sincerity of a man who can stop in his grief to gather “flowers of speech”? Shakspere makes Antony a perpetual sinner in this regard. See on “ruby lips” (iii, 1, 261).

183. Most unkindest : See iii, 1, 122, and Introduction, $ 10.
188. Statuë : See on ii, 2, 76.
194. Dint : stroke, impression.
197. Marr'd . with traitors : See on i, 3, 83.

211. Flood of mutiny : Note how artfully Antony introduces this idea into the minds of his hearers-an idea suggested still more forcibly in line 230, below.

213. Private griefs : private grievances. Another very artful suggestion on Antony's part, as Brutus had just told the people Cæsar had been killed for the good of the people.

217. I am no orator, as Brutus is : This is the perfection of "mock modesty "; the daring of it is superb.

221. For I have neither wit : The correction of the second Folio. The first Folio reads, “For I have neither writ,” that is, prepared writings.

230. To rise and mutiny : See on line 211, above. This splendid climax of Antony's is followed by the desired result ; with one voice the mob takes

“ We'll mutiny." 243. Seventy-five drachmas : The drachma was a Greek coin of about the value of the French franc-between eighteen and twenty

up the cry,

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cents of American money. Of course the purchasing power was then much greater than it would be now.

250. Orchards : gardens. Cf. on ii, 1, “ Brutus' orchard.” North’s Plutarch, The Life of Marcus Brutus (ed. Skeat, p. 121), says (see Introduction to Notes on this scene), “ He left his gardens and arbours unto the people, which he had on this side of the river Tiber, in the place where now the temple of Fortune is built.” As a matter of fact, Cæsar's gardens were on the Janiculum, the other side of Tiber from where Antony was speaking ; but Shakspere took these things as he found them in his Plutarch.

253. To walk abroad : to walk abroad in. The infinitive used as gerund ; see Introduction, $ 28, and cf. on i, 1, 49.

259–60. Go fetch fire. Pluck down benches, etc.: Antony's work is now done and “mischief” is indeed “afoot.”

262. Afoot: on-foot. See on a-shouting, i, 2, 223.

268. He comes upon a wish: he comes just at the time I could have wished for him.

271. Are rid: Does this construction seem natural to you? 272. Belike: perhaps, probably, it is likely.

272–3. Some notice of the people, How I had mov'd them : a circumlocution for “some notice of how I had mov'd the people.”


This scene is indicated in the Folio merely by the words, Enter Cinna the Poet, and after him the Plebeians. Though the scene seems to add nothing to the action of the main story, it is nevertheless a magnificent climax to the game that Antony has been playing. The killing of Cinna-an innocent man—is typical of what the passions Antony has stirred up can do. The rage of the mob in this deed of lawless violence forms a fitting conclusion to the second great move in the game. Antony has now won Rome, and we know that the conspirators must away to take arms for protecting themselves and accomplishing the plans of good they have formed for Rome. The mob is, as we have said, one of the chief characters in this tragedy; it is hardly exaggerated to say that it is the mistress for whose favour all the chief characters are playing.

There is an interesting discussion throughout Brandes' William Shakspere: a Critical Study of Shakspere's aristocratic feeling and his contempt for the judgment of the masses. Of course this scene furnishes food for any critic who maintains that view of Shakspere's character. Cf. also the action of the mob in Coriolanus.

For this story of the death of Cinna, Shakspere is again indebted to North’s Plutarch; see The Life of Julius Cæsar (ed. Skeat, p. 102).

2. Unluckily: The Folio reading, though one would rather expect the unlucky some editors have substituted.

2. Fantasy: fancy. Cf. ii, 1, 231: “Thou hast no figures nor no fantasies."

3. Forth of doors: out of doors. Cf. The Tempest (v, 1, 160) : •'thrust forth of Milan.”

12. You were best: originally the you was dative after the impersonal:, it were best for you; but in Shakspere's day the you was regarded as nominative. The modern idiom is “you had best” or you had better."

18. You'll bear me a bang: I'll give you a bang." Cf. i, 2, 264: “he plucked me ope his doublet,” and see Introduction, 86. Perhaps the speaker is here too personally interested to allow us to consider the me as a genuine ethical dative. The construction, however, is very like that in i, 2, 264.


1. Can you imagine what the Capitol of ancient Rome must have looked like ? 2. Do you suppose Shakspere would have desired, if he were writing for the stage to-day, to have this scene, in representation, archæologically correct? 3. What seems to you the most important moment in the action of the first scene of the act ? 4. Which, from the point of view of Shakspere, is the most notable blow struck at Cæsar ? 5. Can you imagine the thoughts of Brutus as he aimed his dagger ? 6. Why would he probably suffer more than Cassius ? 7. Was Shakspere thinking, perhaps, of the historical scene less than of the actual scene in his tragedy, when he wrote the prophecy, “How many ages hence Shall this our lofty scene be acted over, In states unborn and accents yet unknown”? 8. What do you think of Antony's course in seeming to join with the party of the conspirators ? 9. Was his apparent lack of faith justifiable ? 10. Does Antony win the sympathy of the reader ? Why ? 11. What sort of man do you imagine him to have been?

12. What should you have seen about you in ancient Rome, if you had actually stood in the Forum as Brutus and Antony delivered their speeches nearly two thousand years ago ? 13. Which of these two speeches, as Shakspere conceived them, do you like the better ? 14. Can you see why Brutus did not make a more lasting effect by his speech ? 15. Why does Shakspere make him speak in prose ? 16. What is the effect of Antony's continual reference to the “honourable" Brutus ? 17. Could a speaker like Antony foresee the result of this oration? 18. Is his oratory sound and good? 19. What popular elements can you find in it ? 20. Can you trace the progress of his influence over the mob, in the changed tone of his address, particularly toward the end ? 21. What do you think the real Roman mob would have looked like ? 22. What was Shakspere's conception of the mob in Julius Cæsar ? 23. Can you see the dramatic propriety of the scene of the killing of Cinna, the poet ? 24. Does it add to the effect of Shakspere's treatment of the whole story?



THE STRUCTURE OF THE Act.-Octavius, Lepidus, and Antony against Brutus and Cassius—the new order against the old : which shall win ? Cæsar is dead, but his spirit lives on ; can the conspirators lay it ? This is the problem of the fourth and fifth acts of the play. We see Brutus, still noble in adversity, under the affliction of the death of his wife and the quarrel with his friend Cassius, overcoming all difficulties of the spirit, and living on in the hope of restoring his country. He is now committed to justifying the blow of the Ides of March ; but, with all his good intentions, he fails. {The quarrel with Cassius is, perhaps, dramatically valuable as showIng Brutus' inability to meet the practical difficulties of the situation ; he alienates, at least temporarily, those he should most carefully bind to him. The scene shows, too, the disintegrating influences at work in the ranks of the army. Other than this, there would seem to be but little dramatic value to the famous quarrel between Brutus and Cassius ; it shows their characters—but does it affect, for more than a moment, the development of the plot ? It is true that, immediately after the scene, Cassius the more readily gives up his plan of battle in favour of that of Brutus—the third mistake of the two men in exacting and in yielding—but Cassius had, from the first, learned to bow to the supposedly superior judgment of Brutus. Strong as the scene is, might we consider it (however splendid in itself) as an episode apart from the main current of the action ? Whatever our answer to this question, we cannot but admit the significance of the visit of Cæsar's spirit to the tent of Brutus ; there, at least, is a strong link between the last act and what has gone before. But as for the superb quarrel scene—was it put in to fill up ?


A house in Rome : The Folio reads, Enter Antony, Octavius, and Lepidus. That the scene must have been intended by Shakspere to be in Rome is shown by lines 10 and 11 in the dialogue. In reality, the meeting occurred November, 43 B.C., nineteen months after the assassination of Cæsar, at a small island in the Rhenus (now Reno) near Bononia (Bologna). The scene excellently indicates the progress of time and events between the assassination and the gathering of the two armies in the present act.

1. These many : so many.

1. Their names are prick’d: Cf. iii, 1, 217 : “Will you be prick'd in number of our friends ?”

5. Who is your sister's son : Plutarch says it was Antony's uncle, Lucius Cæsar.

6. With a spot I damn him : With a mark I condemn him.

12. Slight, unmeritable man : insignificant, without merit. For slight, see Brutus' taunt to Cassius (iv, 3, 37), “Away, slight man!'

22. To groan and sweat: Cf. Hamlet (iii, 1, 77), to grunt and sweat under a weary life.”

22. Business : a trisyllable here. 26. Like to : Cf. i, 3, 81, “like to their ancestors.” 28. Soldier : also a trisyllable. 30. Appoint : give, provide. 32. Wind : turn or wheel ; a term in horsemanship. 37. On objects, arts, etc. : The Folio reading, changed by Theobala

on abject orts,” that is, “on the scraps and fragments of things rejected and despised by others.” Staunton went further in his read

on abjects, orts, and imitations,” abjects being “things thrown away as useless.” Though it is perhaps difficult to explain, word by word, the line as it stands in the Folio, nevertheless the whole line seems easy enough to comprehend, especially in connection with the following line. Lepidus is interested in talks of such things as others have grown tired of. Cf. the description-frequently quoted in this connection-of Shallow in 2 Henry IV (iii, 2, 307): “He came ever in the rearward of the fashion ; and sung those tunes to the overscutched huswives which he heard the carmen whistle, and sware they were his fancies, or his good-nights.”

38. Stald : made common. See i, 2, 73. 40. But as a property : but as a stage property, to be treated as we

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