It's tempting to think that Shakespeare meant (meaning "public" in this context) to be pronounced more like to adhere more strictly to meter. As it stands, it's just as easy to read as a substitution in a predominantly line. "General coffers" refers to the public treasury of Rome, and Antony uses Brutus's logic about acting for the good of Rome to show that Caesar was also acting for the good of Rome. Antony also displays the mark of a true politician: he appeals to their wallets, reminding the crowd that what was good for the economy was good for them.
Cassius is one of the leading conspirators and is weary of Antony; Brutus is confident that there is nothing to fear, but he speaks before Antony at the funeral just to be safe....
Julius Caesar Brutus and Mark Antony Speech Comparison
In his speech, Antony urges the Romans to recognize Julius Caesar’s merits and Brutus and the conspirator’s immoral act, all while adopting the persona of an emotional friend of the people....
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Antony returns to the actual predicate of his statement with innocuous metrical regularity. The line is all but a throwaway; Antony doesn't want the crowd dwelling on the idea that he is speaking here by permission. The preceding parenthetical insertion of Brutus and the rest being "honourable men" displaces his emphasis and lessens the impression that Brutus holds sway over him. In doing so, Antony effectively obeys the letter of his agreement without yielding to its spirit.
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Metrically, Shakespeare employs a inversion centered upon a midline . Antony, rather unsurprisingly, begins his formal eulogy of Caesar by recalling their friendship. On the rhetorical level, this will also help call into question the reasoning that Brutus gives for Caesar's murder.
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Antony contrasts his experience with what Brutus has said. The obvious implication is that Brutus and Antony have different views of Caesar. The more subtle implication is that since both men have claimed him as their friend, they have equal authority to speak on the subject of Caesar's disposition. Antony, however, has the advantage of not needing to justify his actions. Instead, Antony can focus on sawing the limb out from under Brutus's argument.
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At this point, Antony is still ostensibly speaking well of Brutusat least to the crowd. A plebian might think that at worst, perhaps, either Antony or Brutus has made an honest mistake in his judgment of Caesar. On the other hand, the words , , and are becoming impossible to miss.