Julius Caesar


Act 3

Summary: Act III, scene i

Caesar, unwittingly surrounded by his enemies, encounters the Soothsayer again at the entrance to the Capitol. Confidently, he points out to the Soothsayer that “The ides of March are come,” to which the Soothsayer replies, “Aye,Caesar, but not gone,” attempting to warn Caesar once again that he is in danger. Caesar ignores the warning, and then he also ignores the letter which Artemidorus attempts to put into his hand. As his entourage enters the Capitol, Popilius Lena wishes Cassius success in his “enterprise to-day,” indicating that others are aware of the conspiracy. Trebonius carefully draws Marc Antony out of the room so that he will not be able to intervene with Caesar’s assassination.

Metellus Cimber appeals to Caesar for a repeal his brother’s banishment, which Caesar refuses, delivering two lengthy speeches on his own constancy. It is not in his character, he says, to change his mind. Brutus and the other conspirators all add their voices in support of Metellus, each kneeling close to Caesar. When Caesar is surrounded, Casca stabs him in the back. The others follow with their own swords and daggers until Brutus delivers the last wound. As Caesar falls, dying, his last words are: “Et tu, Brute?”—meaning “You too, Brutus?”

Cinna and Cassius begin shouting cries of “Freedom!” and “Liberty!” to the horrified crowd. Brutus sends Publius to carry the message throughout the city that no-one is in danger, and Trebonius reports that Marc Antony has fled from the Capitol, probably in fear of his own life. Brutus instructs the conspirators to soak their hands and weapons in Caesar’s blood and then walk proudly to the marketplace announcing how they have save the people from Caesar’s tyranny and brought freedom to Rome.

Marc Antony’s servant delivers a message from Antony that he wants to know why Caesar’s murder was justified, and that he will be loyal to Brutus if he...

Sign up to continue reading Act 3 >

Essays About Julius Caesar