Octavius, nephew and adopted son of Julius Caesar , fumes about Antony's negligence. Pompey, a dangerous adversary, controls the seas around Italy, threatening the authority of the triumvirate. Act Two. When Antony finally returns, tension between himself and Octavius remains high. To seal the men's alliance, a marriage is brokered between Antony and Octavia, Octavius' sister.
A soothsayer warns Antony that he must stay away from Caesar, for in any contest between them, Caesar will prevail. Back in Alexandria, Cleopatra takes the news of Antony's marriage rather poorly, beating the messenger and threatening him with a knife. The triumvirate meets with Pompey, and forces a rather disadvantageous peace on him. Antony's presence is enough to frighten Pompey into submission. That night, when Pompey feasts the triumvirs, his subordinate Menas offers to murder the three men and make Pompey unchallenged ruler of the Roman world.
Pompey declines the offer because of his sense of honor, but he does so with some regret. Act Three. Octavia and Octavius have an emotional parting, and Antony takes her with him to Athens.
Cleopatra, back in Egypt, has trained her messenger to give only good news. She has not given up, even though Antony is married, and plans to win him back. Some time elapses between 3. Antony frets in Athens: Octavius has moved, unapproved, against Pompey. He has slandered Antony's character, and seems to be preparing for war against Antony. Antony sends his wife to act as emissary to her brother.
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Pompey is dead, and Octavius has imprisoned Lepidus, taking his power and possessions unto himself. Caesar receives his sister in Rome, and prepares for war.
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The war is rapid, and Antony makes a series of strategic blunders. He confronts Octavius by sea, even though victory seems more likely by land.
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Octavius defeats Antony and Cleopatra decisively at the sea battle of Actium. The turning point in the battle comes when Cleopatra panics and flees, taking sixty ships with her, and Antony follows, abandoning his men. Many of Antony's men, disgusted by this total lapse in duty, desert him. Enobarbus, however, remains loyal.
Back in Alexandria, Antony is overcome with grief and humiliation by what he has done.
Now, he has no chance of defeating Octavius. But anger with himself and Cleopatra turns quickly to resignation, as he decides to feast and drink despite their impending doom. Act Four. Antony grows increasingly irrational as the end approaches, swinging between extreme emotions, challenging Caesar to single combat, abusing a messenger, giving parting gifts to friends, and indulging in great feasts.
Enobarbus finally defects to Caesar's camp. Antony sends his treasure after him, and Enobarbus feels such remorse that he dies of grief. The fleet deserts Antony, and he is convinced that Cleopatra has betrayed him. Afraid of his wrath, Cleopatra closes herself in her monument and sends false word that she is dead. Ever quick to forgive, Antony resolves to kill himself to join her.
He tries to get his servant Eros to slay him, but Eros kills himself to avoid the duty. Antony falls on his own sword, and too late word comes from Cleopatra that she is still alive. Soldiers bring him to her, and she and her maids hoist him up into the monument. He gives her final advice about whom to trust in Caesar's camp, and dies. Cleopatra is grief-stricken. Act Five. Casca is mad, because each time Caesar pretended he didn't want the crown, which made the crowd of plebeians common folk love him even more.
Not only that, but Caesar acted like a total drama queen and fainted or pretended to the third time Antony offered him the crown. This made the "stinking" crowd go nuts. A month passes, which means we're approaching the "Ides of March. Casca and Cicero are running around in a violent thunderstorm and comment on all the crazy stuff that's been happening in Rome lately: a lion was roaming around and a bunch of men in flames were spotted walking around the streets. Cassius, who interprets these omens to mean that Caesar must be taken down, continues to plot against Caesar.
He sends someone to plant fake letters from Roman commoners urging Brutus to eliminate Caesar, and attends a meeting that night to plot Caesar's death. Meanwhile, Brutus has decided to go ahead and kill his friend Caesar because the man might become a complete tyrant if he gains more power. Is he right? We don't know for sure, but Shakespeare definitely wants us to think about this. Brutus finally meets with all the conspirators, and they hatch a plan: they'll arrange to bring Caesar to the Capitol so they can hack him into a million little pieces. Meanwhile, Caesar has had a rough night, complete with a crying wife Calphurnia who wants Caesar to stay at home because she's had a bad dream and fears something awful is about to happen to him.
But Caesar ultimately decides to go to the Capitol, because Decius one of the conspirators! Caesar goes skipping off to the Senate. On the way to the Capitol, an old man tries to give Caesar a letter warning him about the assassination plot, but Caesar blows him off. At the Capitol, Caesar stands around bragging about how awesome he is. Just as he's making a big speech about how he's the brightest star in the sky, Cassius, Brutus, and the other plotters surround him and stab him to death — 33 times, just to be sure. Before falling, Caesar looks up and says "Et tu, Brute? What happened to us being best buds forever?
The conspirators wash their hands in Caesar's blood hmm The idea is that they'll seem more convincing about their plans for a new dawn of peace if they're dripping with Caesar's fresh blood. Surprisingly, instead of hailing Brutus and Cassius as saviors, the people of Rome run around declaring that it's Doomsday. The situation is not going according to plan. Things really go awry when Antony shows up to weep over Caesar's body. While clearly distraught, he promises not to blame the conspirators as long as he's allowed to speak at the funeral in praise of Caesar's virtues.
Julius Caesar Summary
Of course, we hear in an aside that Antony plans mayhem and murder, so we're not surprised when he gets to the funeral pulpit and urges the people of Rome to riot against Julius Caesar's murderers. An "aside," by the way, is when a character says something to the audience that no other characters on stage can hear. Meanwhile, Brutus and Cassius have fled and chaos has ensued. Even politically unimportant folks like poets are being killed on the street.
Antony has met up with Lepidus and Caesar's adopted son, Octavius. Together they'll form the new triumvirate to lead Rome and battle against Cassius and Brutus. Meanwhile, Cassius and Brutus get into a big argument at their first meeting after the funeral.
Cassius has been accepting bribes on the side, which compromises their credibility. Remember, the only reason Brutus agreed to join the conspiracy was that he believed killing Caesar was for the greater good, not for any self-serving reason. At least, that's what Brutus says.
Still, they agree to march and meet the enemy Antony, Octavius, and Lepidus at Philippi, despite a visit from Caesar's ghost to Brutus to say he'll be at Philippi too. It's going to be like a family reunion, except this one will mostly end in death.