What do Octavius and Antony argue about?


Quick Answer

In William Shakespeare's play "Julius Caesar," the characters Octavius and Antony have an argument in the fifth act over how they will attack Brutus and Cassius's armies. Antony is the more experienced soldier, ordering Octavius to attack from the left but Octavius refuses, believing he should command the more important unit and attack from the right.

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Full Answer

Octavius tells Antony that he should be the one to attack from the left. Antony is vexed, asking Octavius why he is suddenly questioning his authority, but Octavius stands firm in his beliefs.

This argument precedes a meeting between the leaders of the armies, in which they exchange insults before clashing in battle. The battle is the pivotal scene in "Julius Caesar," where Brutus and Cassius's forces are defeated, forcing the leaders to commit suicide out of fear of being made prisoners of war.

Octavius's defiance to Antony is an important moment in the play where Octavius displays his role as Caesar's successor. He refuses to take orders from Antony, asserting his new-found sense of authority. Antony soon takes notice of this change in Octavius's attitude and actually begins to address Octavius as Caesar. This is also another important moment in the play, where the name of Caesar no longer signifies the name of one man, but the title of leadership.

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