Mark Antony, in the play The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, was a brave, intelligent, pleasure-loving, and cunning man. He was loyal to his friend, Caesar, whom he considered a true friend. He looked at life as a game in which he had a signified part to play, and played that part with excellent refinement and skill.
Antony was devoted and preferred to be dependent upon Julius Caesar since he rather have enjoyed life than to claim the highest position in the government. He wanted the crown to be given to Caesar so that all conflicts could be avoided. However, this additional power contributed to the conspirator's motive to assassinate him. Antony was distraught with Caesar's death and sought revenge first by speaking to the crowd in his speech. He showed how clever and cunning he could be when he convinced the crowd at Caesar's funeral ceremony to side with him and not with the murderers. The people became excited and rowdy when he teased them about the will, waving it in the air and pretending as if he was not going to read it. Reverse psychology is used when he first pretends to respect the conspirators calling them honorable men, and then slowly proving that they are not. He speaks out against them because he wanted power for himself, and unlike Brutus, he is politically ambitious and so believes that if he can take control while the state is in turmoil, he will remain in power. He was alone in making this oration, yet he was confidant in himself and courageous.
Rome began to collapse once Caesar was killed, and Antony was left without anyone to trust. He did not want to side with the conspirators whom he valued slightly. However, he felt his duty was to carry on Caesar's reign and clear his name. Therefore he joined the Second Triumvirate and became a great leader.
Antony was looked down upon by all the conspirators except for Brutus. They wanted to kill Antony as well as Caesar because they feared that he would become as powerful as him and possibly a dictator. Brutus persuaded the others not to add to the assassination by saying, "And for Mark Antony, think not of him: for he can do no more than Caesar's arm when Caesar's head is off"(2.1.181-183). Brutus underestimated Antony and perceived him as a person who didn't always take life seriously, couldn't have a serious nature and therefore, not a thinker. Brutus continued to argue with Cassius who did not believe him. "Alas, good Cassius, do not think of him. If he love Caesar, all that he can do is to himself -- take thought and die for Caesar. And that were much he should, for he is given to sports, to wildness, and much company (2.1.185-189). Brutus judged him as being frivolous, and simply liking sport and partying, with a reputation for womanizing. Unfortunately for Brutus and the conspirators he was respected by Caesar and so simply couldn't be ignored.
Caesar respected Antony, and his way of life. He defended him when he said, "See! Antony, that revels (makes merry) long a-nights, is notwithstanding (however) up. Good morrow, Antony" (2.4.116-117). Caesar did not think Antony to be a threat to anyone.
Antony's character was slow to emerge, and it wasn't until he was forced to show his true potential, could he really be judged. He was a character with many hidden traits until he was forced to show his true character while defending Caesar after his death. He was misunderstood by all, and his true leadership qualities were underestimated. Once he became a leader of Rome, his true character was uncovered.
The character of Mark Antony from Shakespeare\u2019s play Julius Caesar
may be viewed as simply the confident and devoted supporter of Julius
Caesar. On the contrary, Antony presents the qualities of a shrewd flatterer, a
ruthless tyrant, as well as a loyal follower. Antony\u2019s characteristics will
change as the play progresses. He will begin using flattery to get what he
wants, 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 must
deal with Brutus, and he has the shrewdness to take advantage of Brutus\u2019s
gullibility. Antony has his servant say, "Brutus is noble, wise, valiant, and
honest" (III i 126). From this point, it is clear that Antony intends to flatter
Brutus and to work upon those personal qualities of Brutus which represent
his fundamental weaknesses. Antony then comes to the Capitol where he
further flatters the conspirators by shaking their hands and saying, "Friends
am I with you all, and love you all..." (III i 220). This act symbolizes that
Antony has made a new friendship with the conspirators, but in reality, he is
plotting to seek revenge so he can take over Rome. Antony is also able to
flatter the vast angry crowd in order to get his way. He is first able to get the
crowd to feel sorry for him. This feeling is evident when the second plebeian
says, "Poor soul, his eyes are red as fire with weeping" (III ii 116). Antony is
then able to turn the people in the crowd against Brutus by teasing them with
Caesar\u2019s will. Antony says, "And being men, hearing the will of Caesar, it
will inflame you, it will make you mad" (III ii 144-145). This blandishment
provokes an immediate response of the crowd demanding that Antony read
Caesar\u2019s will. Although Antony uses flattery to get what he wants, he will
also show respect for others with his devotion and loyalty.
One of the most significant characteristics of Mark Antony is his
strong, affectionate loyalty to Julius Caesar. Antony\u2019s devotion to Caesar
extends beyond a simple friendship, but politically as well. This fact is best
recognized when he offers Caesar the crown of Rome three times in the
beginning of the play. This act shows that Antony is dedicated to Caesar
because he is quite willing to serve under the rule of an ambitious tyrant.
Immediately following the assassination of Caesar, Antony acts as though he
is a friend of the conspirators\u2019. On the contrary, he is secretly plotting to get
his revenge on all of the assassins. Antony later reveals his true feelings in a
wholehearted soliloquy before the bloody cadaver of Caesar, "Thou art the
ruins 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 live
throughout the course of history. To prove his loyalty, Antony gives a
confident and persuasive speech at Caesar\u2019s funeral despite an extreme
danger on his own life. First, Antony expresses his sadness and grief over the
death of his distinguished friend. However, as the speech progresses,
Antony\u2019s emotions transform into extreme anger towards the conspirators
when he says to the crowd, "Look you here, here is himself/Marred as you
see with traitors" (III ii 197-198). The people in the crowd were so moved
by his speech that they were willing to go to war against the conspirators. By
starting this civil war, Antony again risks his own life to get revenge on the
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