Act IV, Scene 1
Octavius, Lepidus, and Antony are making a list of people marked for death. Lepidus agrees to kill his brother, but only if Antony agrees to kill his nephew. He does and then sends Lepidus off on some sort of errand.
With Lepidus out of the way, Antony makes his real feelings clear. He thinks Lepidus is good for nothing but running errands, and he is simply aghast that Lepidus will control one-third of Rome. Octavius points out that Antony agreed to this and just agreed to kill his nephew on Lepidus’ word. Antony asserts again that Lepidus is only there to lighten their load, like a donkey. Octavius defends Lepidus as a good soldier. Antony dismisses that notion because his horse is also a good soldier that does exactly what he has been trained and told to do. Antony doesn’t want to hear any more about Lepidus unless he is being referred to as property.
Anyway, they better get to work because Brutus and Cassius’ forces are growing stronger.
Act IV, Scene 2
Brutus and Lucilius prepare for the upcoming fight. Cassius’ servant, Pindarus, has arrived to inform Brutus that Cassius is near. Brutus is pleased to hear it despite some clear tension between him and Cassius. Lucilius explains that Cassius seemed colder to him than usual. Brutus isn’t surprised. Men like Cassius will always rely on ceremony and proper behavior when they are mad at you.
Cassius comes in and he is mad. He tells Brutus that they are in a fight. Brutus says he hasn’t done anything wrong. Cassius starts getting louder, but Brutus tells him to calm down and talk to him in his tent privately.
Act IV, Scene 3
Cassius is mad because Brutus executed his friend, Lucius Pella. Lucius accepted bribes and Brutus killed him even though Cassius wrote a letter on his behalf. Brutus thinks it’s silly that Cassius even wrote the letter. Cassius thinks it’s silly that Brutus cares so much about a little offense like bribery. Brutus then lands the low blow of calling Cassius money-hungry. Cassius only lets this slide because it’s Brutus.
Brutus remind Cassius that they stabbed Caesar. They stabbed Caesar in the name of justice. Now, they are willing to rely on unjust practices? Not on Brutus’ watch.
Cassius says he is an abler soldier and has been a soldier longer. Brutus takes offense at this. That makes Cassius mad. Brutus doesn’t care that Cassius is mad, which makes him more mad. Cassius doesn’t even understand why Brutus is mad. Brutus explains that Cassius is definitely not a better soldier. Cassius insists he didn’t say he was better; he said he was older. Brutus doesn’t care anymore.
Cassius exclaims that even Caesar couldn’t have made him this mad. Brutus thinks he would have been too chicken to get that mad at Caesar. Cassius warns Brutus to watch what he says, or Cassius may do something he regrets. Brutus doesn’t even care because Cassius already did something he regrets. Cassius denied Brutus the gold he needed to pay his soldiers because Brutus will have none of that dirty money. He won’t pinch money off of the poor people that need it.
Cassius blames the messenger for miscommunication. He never denied Brutus his money. Cassius feels attacked because Brutus makes all his flaws seem so much worse than they are. Brutus snaps back that only does that when Cassius starts being mean to him. Cassius thinks Brutus doesn’t like him anymore. Brutus admits he is not fond of Cassius’ faults. Cassius thinks a friend would not see those faults. Brutus assert that only false friends would ignore them. This is Cassius’ breaking point. He tells Brutus to just kill him because he’s tired of all this nonsense. He knows that even when Brutus hated Caesar, he liked Caesar better than he ever like Cassius.
This calms things down. Brutus tells Cassius to put away his dagger. Cassius gets mad too easily and then gets cold again. Cassius’ feelings are still hurt. Brutus explains that he was just mad too. He didn’t mean it. They make up.
A poet busts in at that moment to inspire the two men to set their differences aside and make up. They laugh at his silly poem and send him away.
Brutus and Cassius tell Titinius and Lucilius to tell the soldiers to make camp for the night. Then, they are to fetch Messala and come back to the tent.
Cassius remarks how he didn’t think Brutus could get that angry. Brutus reveals that Portia killed herself…by swallowing hot coals. Brutus doesn’t want to talk about it anymore.
Titinius and Messala return. They settle in to discuss the battle plans with some bowls of wine. Messala has received letters, much like Brutus, that Octavius and Antony are marching to meet that at Philippi. Also, they killed between seventy and a hundred senators (the letters disagreed). Messala also breaks the news that Portia is dead, to which Brutus basically responds “Oh,well. We all have to die sometime. So, about Philippi.”
Cassius doesn’t think they should march on Philippi. It will be better to have their enemy chase them and wear themselves out. Normally, Brutus would agree but all of the people between them and Philippi are likely to side with Antony. That would be bad new bears for them. Cassius tries to argue his point again, but Brutus isn’t done. He realizes that they have pulled together all of the people they possibly can, but Antony will only be getting stronger. This convinces Cassius.
Now it’s time for bed. The other men depart Brutus’ tent. Brutus is going to let Lucius sleep…eventually. First, he has to fetch Varro and Claudius. Brutus wants them to sleep in his tent. Brutus finds a book in his pocket that he blamed Lucius for losing. He and Lucius have a nice moment. Everyone lays down for bed, except Lucius. Lucius has to play a song. He plays until he falls asleep.
Brutus settles in to read, but is startled by Caesar’s ghost. Caesar tells Brutus he will see him at Philippi and then leaves. Brutus, thoroughly freaked out, wakes everybody up to make sure they weren’t the ones talking. They weren’t. They also didn’t see anything. Brutus send Varro and Claudius to tell Cassius he should march in front of Brutus.
Act V, Scene 1
Octavius takes the time to tell Antony he was wrong about Brutus not coming to Philippi. Antony thinks it’s probably meant to intimidate then with how brave they are, but Antony isn’t going to fall for that. A messenger informs them that it’s time for battle. Antony tells Octavius to take the left side, but he wants to take the right. Antony doesn’t see why Octavius cares. He doesn’t really, but he’ll take the right all the same.
Octavius, Antony, Brutus, and Cassius meet in the field to taunt each other before battle. Brutus is surprised they are talking before fighting. Octavius says it’s not because they love talk like Brutus does. Brutus would rather speak well than fight poorly. Antony brings up that Brutus struck blows against Caesar while he hailed him. Cassius doesn’t know how well Antony will fight, but his words are meaningless. Brutus agrees. Antony then recounts how they stabbed Caesar and then Casca came from behind to finish him. Cassius takes offense at being called a flatterer.
Octavius tries to shut down the arguing by drawing his sword and swearing to avenge Caesar or else be killed by traitors. Brutus point out that he can’t technically be killed by traitors if the people killing him aren’t loyal to him. Octavius amends his statement to say he doesn’t want to die by Brutus’ hand. Brutus and Cassius think it would be too good of an honor for Octavius to be killed by Brutus. Antony tells Cassius to be quiet. Octavius takes Antony away to prepare for battle.
Brutus talks to Lucilius aside and Cassius pulls Messala aside. Cassius reveals that it is his birthday (womp, womp). He is concerned because the birds seem to be indicating an ominous fate for them. Messala tells him not to worry about it, but Cassius is apparently ready to die all the same.
Brutus and Cassius say goodbye. They hope it is not the last time they meet, but just in case they lose, the two men say their peace to each other.
Act V, Scene 2
Brutus tells Messala to signal the charge. He thinks it’s a good time to attack Octavius and Antony’s men.
Act V, Scene 3
Cassius’ men are fleeing. Brutus signaled too soon and now they are losing to Antony. Pinarus informs Cassius that Antony and his men have his Cassius thinks he sees his tent on fire and sends Titinius up one hill to see if the troops there are friends or enemies. He sends Pindarus up another hill to see what happens to Titinius. Cassius remarks on how his life has come full circle. Pindarus informs him that Titinius is surrounded by the enemy, likely about to be killed. Cassius frees Pindarus and then has Pindarus kill him.
Titinius and Messala come in, excited about how they appear to be winning. They are quite shocked to find Cassius dead. Messala tells Titinius to go and find Pindarus while he informs Brutus. Titinius doesn’t find Pindarus. He is too upset about Cassius dying and so he kills himself. (To summarize: Titinius kills himself because Cassius killed himself because Titinius was dead).
Messala returns with Brutus and they mourn their two dead friends.
Act V, Scene 4
Brutus and Cato pump themselves up before charging back into battle. Lucilius sees Cato die. Another soldier comes to take him prisoner or kill him. Lucilius pretends to be Brutus and tries to pay his way out of the situation. They are not going to pass up the opportunity to take Brutus prisoner.
They take him straight to Antony, who of course knows it isn’t Brutus. Lucilius taunts Antony that no one will ever take Brutus alive. Antony promises the soldier that he will still see a significant reward for this prisoner.
Act V, Scene 5
Brutus has realized they are losing and calls his friends around to sit. Clitus informs them that Statilius went to get a torch and never came back, and so is probably dead. (I will give you all a minute to recover from this devastating blow). Brutus tells Clitus to sit next to him. He whispers a request to which Clitus gives a firm no. That he would rather kill himself. Brutus asks the same of Dardanius, who also says no. Clitus and Dardanius comfort each other over being asked to kill Brutus.
Brutus calls over Volumnius. He explains that he has seen Caesar’s ghost a few times now and knows it is his time to die. They have lost. He asks Volumnius to hold his sword out, so Brutus can run into it. They hear the other men shouting to flee. Brutus gives a sincere goodbye and the rest flee. He makes Strato hold the sword to kill him. Strato does and Brutus dies.
Octavius and Antony enter with Messala as their prisoner. Strato informs them that Brutus has killed himself. Octavius offers to take them all into his service. Strato will serve him.
Antony comments on Brutus being a noble man because he killed Caesar for Rome while everyone else did it for personal reasons. Octavius declares that he must be given a proper burial.