As I mentioned here, the funeral service for my great aunt Catherine brought up a number of Shakespeare questions. The priest read Antony’s line about “The evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft interred with their bones,” and then went on to explain how Shakespeare was wrong, how you should strive to do good in your life because your good deeds will outlive you.
My question to you is, how would you “correct” this interpretation of the line? Why did Shakespeare have Antony say it? Imagine you’ve just bumped into somebody who was at that service (my aunt’s, not Caesar’s), who’d never heard this line before and now thinks that “Shakespeare was wrong.” What would you say to correct this person’s understanding of the passage, in context?
For example I tried to explain to my wife about the complexity of Antony’s situation at that particular moment. He’s been given permission to speak at Caesar’s funeral by the guys that killed Caesar in the first place. It’s not like he can get up there and say that Caesar was an awesome guy and it’s a shame he died. He has to at least pretend that he agrees with them that Caesar was a bad dude.