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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
Mark Antony The character of Mark Antony from Shakespeare’s 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’s 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’s 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’s 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’s 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’s 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’. 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’s 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’s 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 assassins of Caesar. Antony realizes that loyalty is an advantageous quality for a person to possess. He emphasizes this speculation when he does not kill
Lucilius, the officer to Brutus who stoically risked his own life to save his master. Antony says of Lucilius, "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 be protected. Eventually, Antony’s loyalty will change into an envy of Caesar’s ambition and he will follow the path of the ruthless tyrant. As the play progresses, Antony develops a ruthless state of mind. He forms into a relentless tyrant much like Caesar was before his death. Cassius probably describes him best as a "shrewd contriver". Antony first shows his fierceness in his speech at Caesar’s funeral. He speaks of the conspirators sarcastically calling them "honorable" men. He enrages the people of the crowd by convincing them that Caesar’s assassination was morally wrong and the conspirators are traitors. By his powerful speech, Antony has created civil war in Rome and he has no concern for the welfare of the citizens who will suffer in the strife. Antony again shows his ruthlessness when he condemns his own nephew to death by saying, "He shall not live; look, with a spot I damn him" (IV i 6). The way in which Antony says these words show his unrelenting mind. Antony is willing to ignore all ethical and moral considerations in order to concentrate on political practicality and expedience. Also, the way Antony regards Lepidus as a "slight" man without merit further shows his relentlessness. Antony uses Lepidus essentially to run errands and he intends to eventually append Lepidus’ powers to his own. At Phillipi, Antony shows his ruthless nature when he immediately attacks after Brutus left Cassius’s army exposed. As a consequence, it is because of Antony’s ruthless state of mind that he is successful. In conclusion, Mark Antony is more than a simple follower of Julius Caesar. Antony is a shrewd flatterer, a ruthless tyrant, as well as a loyal supporter 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 him successful.
The Character of Mark Antony
Throughout the play, Antony grapples with the conflict between his love for Cleopatra and his duties to the Roman Empire. In Act I, scene i, he engages Cleopatra in a conversation about the nature and depth of their love, dismissing the duties he has neglected for her sake: “Let Rome in Tiber melt, and the wide arch / Of the ranged empire fall” (I.i.35–36). In the very next scene, however, Antony worries that he is about to “lose [him]self in dotage” (I.ii.106) and fears that the death of his wife is only one of the ills that his “idleness doth hatch” (I.ii.119). Thus, Antony finds himself torn between the Rome of his duty and the Alexandria of his pleasure. The geographical poles that draw him in opposite directions represent deep-seated conflicts between his reason and emotion, his sense of duty and his desire, his obligations to the state and his private needs. Antony’s understanding of himself, however, cannot bear the stress of such tension. In his mind, he is first and foremost a Roman hero of the first caliber. He won his position as one of the three leaders of the world by vanquishing the treacherous Brutus and Cassius, who conspired to assassinate his predecessor, Julius Caesar. He often recalls the golden days of his own heroism, but now that he is entangled in an affair with the Egyptian queen, his memories do little more than demonstrate how far he has strayed from his ideal self. As he points out to Octavia in Act III, scene iv, his current actions imperil his honor, and without his honor—the defining characteristic of the Roman hero—he can no longer be Antony: “If I lose my honor, / I lose myself. Better I were not yours / Than yours so branchless” (III.iv.22–24). Later, having suffered defeat at the hands of both Caesar and Cleopatra, Antony returns to the imagery of the stripped tree as he laments, “[T]his pine is barked / That overtopped them all” (IV.xiii.23–24). Rather than amend his identity to accommodate these defeats, Antony chooses to take his own life, an act that restores him to his brave and indomitable former self. In suicide, Antony manages to convince himself and the world (as represented by Cleopatra and Caesar) that he is “a Roman by a Roman / Valiantly vanquished” (IV.xvi.59–60).
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