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Summary Act III

Scene 1

This scene occurs at the Capitol with the senate present above. A crowd of people are present, with the soothsayer and Artemidorus in it. Caesar enters accompanied by the conspirators, Antony, Lepidus, Popilius, Publius and unnamed others. Caesar says to the soothsayer that the Ides of March have arrived, the soothsayer responds that the day is not over yet.

Artemidorus pleads for Caesar to read his suit, but Caesar dismisses him. Caesar refuses to read petitions in the street and goes to join the senate.

Popilius wishes Cassius success on his mission, which leads Cassius to worry that their secret has been revealed. Brutus convinces Cassius to calm down, and assures him that everything is going according to plan. Trebonius lures Antony away and the two leave the stage together.

Cimber kneels before Caesar to plead for his brother's banishment to be repealed. Caesar delivers a speech about his immovable personality and his unwillingness to repeal the banishment. The other conspirators gather around and plead Cimber's case, but Caesar is unmoved. The conspirators then stab Caesar repeatedly, Caesar says “Et tu Brute” to Brutus and dies.

The conspirators cheer about liberty and freedom. Brutus reassures the non-conspirators that they are in no danger. They determine to bathe their hands and swords in the blood of Caesar and to go through the city behind Brutus to declare liberty from Caesar's tyranny. Cassius says that their deed will be remembered forever for bringing freedom to Rome.

A servant from Antony arrives and informs Brutus that he will forgive the murder of Caesar if they can give him a good reason for why it was done. Brutus promises not to hurt Antony and has the servant go fetch him.

Antony shakes hands with the murders and says that he will love them as well as he loved Caesar and that he is sure they had good reason. He speaks of Caesar's greatness and expresses conflicting feelings over speaking with Caesar's murderers while Caesar lies dead at their feet. He convinces Brutus to allow him to speak at Caesar's funeral. Cassius warns against this but Brutus says that he will justify the assassination of Caesar at the funeral before Antony speaks.

Everyone exits except Antony. Alone Antony reveals that he is committed to starting a civil war and resisting the conspirators. His servant returns, and Antony tells him to tell Octavius Caesar (Julius Caesar's adopted heir), who has been recalled to Rome by Caesar, not to return since it is not safe for him. He exits the scene with Caesar's body.

Scene 2

This scene occurs at the Forum in Rome (A stadium like structure). Brutus, Cassius, and the citizens of Rome are present. Cassius and Brutus promise to explain why Caesar had to die to the Roman people, some of the citizens follow Cassius to hear his explanation while others stay with Brutus.

Brutus tells the citizens that he killed Caesar for the sake of the Roman people because he would be a tyrant and would take away their freedoms. He says that it was “Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved / Rome more.” He promises to allow himself be killed for his crime, but the citizens cheer for him to live, and seem convinced by his explanation. Brutus then allows Antony to speak, and he leaves.

Antony then gives a speech where he convinces the Roman people that Caesar was not ambitious as Brutus said. He reminds them that Caesar had refused the crown in the past and that he has always had the best interest of Romans at heart. He questions whether Cassius and Brutus are actually as honorable as they claim to be. He describes in detail the brutality of Caesar's murder by pointing to the knife wounds on his body. Antony also claims he lacks the rhetorical abilities of Brutus, and that all he has is the truth to convince the Roman people. Finally, Antony reads Caesars will, where Caesar leaves large amounts of property and money to the Roman people. He manages to gain the support of the Roman citizens against Brutus and the conspirators.

Antony's servant arrives and tells him that Octavius is already in Rome at Caesar's home. The servant says that Brutus and Cassius have fled Rome. Antony exits to meet with Octavius, declaring that Rome is now safe for him.

Scene 3

This scene occurs on a street in Rome. Cinna the Poet enters with some citizens. The citizens accost him and demand to know who he is, asking his marital status, and where he lives. Cinna tells them his name and that he lives near the Capitol. The citizens mistake him for the conspirator Cinna, and he is dragged off to be killed. The citizens are intent on burning the homes of the conspirators.

William Shakespeare