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 Caeser’s death, Antony quickly learned that he must deal with Brutus, and he has the shrewdness to take advantage of Brutus’s 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… .’ (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 Caeser’s 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 Caeser’s will.
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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 Antony’s 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 Caeser’s 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 Caesar’s funeral despite extreme danger on his own life.
He began by expressing his grief and sadness. As the speech progresses Antony’s 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, 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 builds up, we begin to see Antony’s 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 Caesar’s assassination was morally wrong, and that the conspirators are traitors.
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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 Phillip i, 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.
So in the end, Mark Antony is more than just a simple follower of Julius Caeser. He turned out to be a shrewd flatterer, a ruthless tyrant, as well a loyal follower of Caeser. He was able to manipulate Brutus with his flattery, and get what he wants with his ruthlessness. So in short, the usage of all of his qualities made him very successful. At the beginning of the play, Brutus appears to be a gentle spirit.
But ironically he was the one in charge in leading the conspiracy. In many points of the play, Brutus was talking and next to Caesar. He was a loyal servant to Caeser and love him well. Yet his love for Rome is a lot greater than that is for Caeser.
After Caeser’s death Brutus showed his love for Rome, where he expressed to Antony, ‘Our hearts you see not; they are pitiful; and pity to the general wrong of Rome ‘ (III i 185-186).
Brutus had an important role within the conspirators. It was essential that the conspirators had Brutus join them. He led the whole conspiracy as Cassius stood back and watched. One of the reasons Brutus had the leader position was for an insurance, so the people will think that when Brutus kills Caeser, it wasn’t that bad a thing since Brutus was a noble man. His role was also to protect Rome from Caeser’s growing ambition.
He showed this fear as the crowd cried out he said to Cassius, ‘What means this shouting? I do fear the people do choose Caesar for their king yet I love him well.’ (I ii 85-89).
In the end Brutus proved himself to be a noble man. He had slain his own life, with more good intention than when he had led the conspirators to murder Caeser. So in summary, Brutus had greater loyalty toward Rome and its people, even though the means needed were to sacrifice his own life.
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Antony and Brutus have many likes and differences. For one they both love Caeser, but only to certain extents. Antony is more outgoing, and loved to be involved in sports and activities. As for Brutus he is not the athletic type as he explain to Cassius why he chose not to run the race, “I am not gamesome. I do lack some part of that quick spirit that is in Antony.” (I ii 33-34) They are both great leaders, but Brutus’s gullibility got the best of him as Antony used it to manipulate him. Both characters are essential within the play.
Without one or the other there wouldn’t be a tragedy.