Julius Caesar – Mark Antony Mark AntonyThe character of Mark Antony from Shakespeares play Julius Caesarmay be viewed as simply the confident and devoted supporter of JuliusCaesar.
On the contrary, Antony presents the qualities of a shrewd flatterer, aruthless tyrant, as well as a loyal follower. Antonys characteristics willchange as the play progresses. He will begin using flattery to get what hewants, but he will eventually depend on his powerful relentlessness. Furthermore, Antony uses these various attributes to make him successful. Throughout the play, Antony uses flattering to achieve his goals.
Following the assassination of Caesar, Antony quickly grasps that he mustdeal with Brutus, and he has the shrewdness to take advantage of Brutussgullibility. Antony has his servant say, “Brutus is noble, wise, valiant, andhonest” (III i 126). From this point, it is clear that Antony intends to flatterBrutus and to work upon those personal qualities of Brutus which representhis fundamental weaknesses. Antony then comes to the Capitol where hefurther flatters the conspirators by shaking their hands and saying, “Friendsam I with you all, and love you all. .Order now
. ” (III i 220). This act symbolizes thatAntony has made a new friendship with the conspirators, but in reality, he isplotting to seek revenge so he can take over Rome. Antony is also able toflatter the vast angry crowd in order to get his way.
He is first able to get thecrowd to feel sorry for him. This feeling is evident when the second plebeiansays, “Poor soul, his eyes are red as fire with weeping” (III ii 116). Antony isthen able to turn the people in the crowd against Brutus by teasing them withCaesars will. Antony says, “And being men, hearing the will of Caesar, itwill inflame you, it will make you mad” (III ii 144-145). This blandishmentprovokes an immediate response of the crowd demanding that Antony readCaesars will. Although Antony uses flattery to get what he wants, he willalso show respect for others with his devotion and loyalty.
One of the most significant characteristics of Mark Antony is hisstrong, affectionate loyalty to Julius Caesar. Antonys devotion to Caesarextends beyond a simple friendship, but politically as well. This fact is bestrecognized when he offers Caesar the crown of Rome three times in thebeginning of the play. This act shows that Antony is dedicated to Caesarbecause he is quite willing to serve under the rule of an ambitious tyrant. Immediately following the assassination of Caesar, Antony acts as though heis a friend of the conspirators.
On the contrary, he is secretly plotting to gethis revenge on all of the assassins. Antony later reveals his true feelings in awholehearted soliloquy before the bloody cadaver of Caesar, “Thou art theruins of the noblest man that ever lived in the tide of times” (III i 256-257). Antony believes that Caesar was the most imposing man ever to livethroughout the course of history. To prove his loyalty, Antony gives aconfident and persuasive speech at Caesars funeral despite an extremedanger on his own life. First, Antony expresses his sadness and grief over thedeath of his distinguished friend. However, as the speech progresses,Antonys emotions transform into extreme anger towards the conspiratorswhen he says to the crowd, “Look you here, here is himself/Marred as yousee with traitors” (III ii 197-198).
The people in the crowd were so movedby his speech that they were willing to go to war against the conspirators. Bystarting this civil war, Antony again risks his own life to get revenge on theassassins of Caesar. Antony realizes that loyalty is an advantageous qualityfor a person to possess. He emphasizes this speculation when he does not killLucilius, the officer to Brutus who stoically risked his own life to save hismaster. Antony says of Lucilius, “This is not Brutus, friend, but, I assureyou, a prize no less in worth”(V iiii 26-27). Realizing the value of havingloyal followers, Antony orders that Lucilius be protected.
Eventually,Antonys loyalty will change into an envy of Caesars ambition and he willfollow the path of the ruthless tyrant. As the play progresses, Antony develops a ruthless state of mind. Heforms into a relentless tyrant much like Caesar was before his death. Cassiusprobably describes him best as a “shrewd contriver”.
Antony first shows hisfierceness in his speech at Caesars funeral. He speaks of the conspiratorssarcastically calling them “honorable” men. He enrages the people of thecrowd by convincing them that Caesars assassination was morally wrong andthe conspirators are traitors. By his powerful speech, Antony has createdcivil war in Rome and he has no concern for the welfare of the citizens whowill suffer in the strife.
Antony again shows his ruthlessness when hecondemns his own nephew to death by saying, “He shall not live; look, with aspot I damn him” (IV i 6). The way in which Antony says these words showhis unrelenting mind. Antony is willing to ignore all ethical and moralconsiderations in order to concentrate on political practicality and expedience. Also, the way Antony regards Lepidus as a “slight” man without merit furthershows his relentlessness.
Antony uses Lepidus essentially to run errands andhe intends to eventually append Lepidus powers to his own. At Phillipi,Antony shows his ruthless nature when he immediately attacks after Brutusleft Cassiuss army exposed. As a consequence, it is because of Antonysruthless state of mind that he is successful. In conclusion, Mark Antony is more than a simple follower of JuliusCaesar.
Antony is a shrewd flatterer, a ruthless tyrant, as well as a loyalsupporter of Caesar. He is able to manipulate Brutus using flattery. Furthermore, he is able to get what he wants with his ruthless state of mind. In summary, Antony is able to use his various qualities to make himsuccessful.