Mark Antony is often seen as a confident, and devoted follower of Julius Caeser. Yet there is more to him then the eye can see. As the play progresses his characteristic changes.
He began as a loyal follower of Caeser, to a shrewd flatterer, and finally a ruthless tyrant. Furthermore, Antony uses these various qualities to make him successful.
Within the play, Antony uses flattering to achieve his goals. Following after Caesers death, Antony quickly learned that he must deal with Brutus, and he has the shrewdness to take advantage of Brutuss gullibility.
Antony began by having his servant say, “Brutus is noble, wise, valiant, and honest” (III i 126). Beginning from this point, Antony intends to flatter Brutus and to work upon those personal qualities of Brutus, which represent his weaknesses. He later went to the capitol to flatter the other conspirators by shaking their hands and by saying, “Friends am I with you all, and love you all..Order now
.” (III i 220) With this, it may seem that he had created a new friendship and trust with the conspirators, but he is actually plotting to seek revenge so he can take over Rome. He then uses his flattery to persuade the crowds at Caesers speech. He first started by making them feel sorry for him.
This is evident as one of the plebeian responded, “Poor soul, his eyes are red as fire with weeping” (III ii 116). Thus he is now able to turn the crowds to go against Brutus and the conspirator by teasing them with Caesers will. In his speech he said, “And being men, hearing the will of Caesar, it will inflame you, it will make you mad” (III ii 144-145). With this he provokes the crowds to wanting him to read it.
Although Antony uses flattery to get what he wants, he will also show respect for others with his devotion and loyalty. One of Antonys strong traits is his affectionate loyalty to Caeser. His devotion toward him goes beyond a simple friendship, but politically also. This is most evident when he presented Caeser the crown of Rome three times.
This enactment depicted his dedication toward Caeser because he is willing to live under the rule of an ambitious tyrant. Later as Antony was left alone with Caesers body, he shows his true feelings about the conspirator and Caeser. As he kneels down toward Caeser he said, Thou art the ruin of the noblest man that ever lived the tide of times(III i 256-257). To prove his loyalty, Antony gives a confident and persuasive speech at Caesars funeral despite extreme danger on his own life.
He began by expressing his grief and sadness. As the speech progresses Antonys emotion changed to extreme anger toward the conspirators when he told the crowd, “Look you here, here is himself/Marred as you see with traitors” (III ii 197-198). The crowd was so moved by his speech that they were willing to go to war against the conspirators, thus again Antony risked his life by creating a civil war. To Antony, loyalty was an advantageous quality a person could have.
He emphasized this when he chose not to kill Lucilius, for he risked his own life to save his master, Brutus. “This is not Brutus, friend, but, I assure you, a prize no less in worth”(V iiii 26-27). Realizing the value of having loyal followers, Antony orders that Lucilius join his army and be protected. Eventually, Antonys loyalty will change into an envy of Caesars ambition and he will follow the path of the ruthless tyrant.
As the play builds up, we begin to see Antonys ruthless state of mind. Antony first began to show his fierceness in his speech. He speaks of the conspirators sarcastically as honorable men. He then enrages the crowd by telling them that Caesars assassination was morally wrong, and that the conspirators are traitors.
And again he showed his ruthlessness when he condemned his nephew to death by saying, He shall not live; look, by the spot I damned him(IV i 6). Antony is willing to ignore all ethical and moral considerations in order to concentrate on political practicality. Also at Phillipi,