Published: 16-09-2019

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Mark Antony's Dualistic Character

We meet the character of Mark Antony 3 instances prior to Julius Caesar’s death, even though he speaks little and we do not get a lot of an indication of his character. Antony totally enters the play exactly halfway by means of, when he makes a gripping speech, and his eloquence alterations the course of Roman history. From this point onwards, Antony becomes a important player in the action and starts to alter the nature of events in the play, particularly with respect to Brutus and Cassius. He takes part in the struggle for energy, and is driven by the need to avenge Caesar’s death. Antony emerges as a flamboyant character, but one particular who is also hard headed, clear-sighted, and ambitious.

Mark Antony was Caesar’s closest and most faithful buddy, confidante, and follower. The two guys had fought many campaigns collectively, and knew each and every other quite properly. Antony is the only character in the play who calls Caesar by his first name, ‘Julius’, a sign of their powerful friendship. Antony had also supplied Caesar the crown three times, signifying his generosity and devotion. We see clearly Antony’s really like and admiration for Caesar in the three brief statements he makes just before Caesar’s death, and more than his corpse as he says, ‘thou art the ruins of the noblest man/ That ever lived in the tide of times’. Soon after the murder, he attempts to act as Caesar would have completed. Even so, Mark Antony is also portrayed as a partier and womanizer, ‘that revels lengthy-a-nights’ and is ‘given/ To sports, to wildness, and much company’. He leads an extravagant and indulgent life style and is also portrayed as powerful and athletic. Antony’s a lot of assets emerge all through the play by the finish his character seems to have developed, and it becomes clear to the audience that he is a loyal common who is militarily achieved, as properly as politically shrewd and exceptionally skilled at oration.

Antony is equivalent to Caesar in that his power leads to ambition. An crucial moment in the play showing Antony’s power and significance occurs when Caesar asks him to touch Calphurnia as he passes her in his race in the course of the celebration of the feast of Lupercal. According to superstition, the touch of an athlete for the duration of this holy feast would make a woman fertile, and the reality that Caesar chooses Antony to touch his wife suggests that he trusts and has faith in him, and possibly even sees him as a protector. Even so, as Shakespeare kills off the character the play is named for, he maintains dramatic tension by creating Antony emerge as even much more forceful than he initially appeared to be. Brutus makes a mistake in underestimating Antony’s energy, believing that he is not interested in politics and that ‘he can do no far more than Caesar’s arm / When Caesar’s head is off’. Consequently, Antony becomes a troublesome and harmful rival to the conspirators. As Antony’s energy increases, so does his ambition, and after Caesar’s death he proves to be a great opportunist, rapidly devising a plan for revenge. Antony guarantees his servant witnesses his oration so that he can use it to impress Octavius, Caesar’s heir and Antony’s ally. Antony is planning far in advance, displaying his higher hopes for the future. From this point onwards in the play, Antony becomes ruthless and calculating, prepared to use his power and his abilities for his own purposes. His energy more than the people and soaring ambition become related to Caesar’s.

Antony confirms Cassius’ judgement of him as a ‘shrewd contriver’ when he meets the conspirators soon after Caesar’s murder. He states he is now on ‘slippery ground’, and his words have a double meaning: each literally with blood, and metaphorically in that he opposes the conspirators, but should make them think that he can nevertheless do business with them. Although he is initially at a loss for words, Antony’s ability as an orator, wit, and potential to deceive and manipulate enable him to cover his feelings, succeed in pretending to befriend the conspirators and persuading them to trust him. He starts by flattering them in order to seduce them, making use of metaphorical language, naming them ‘master spirits of this age’. He has the nerve to get in touch with Caska ‘valiant’ even even though he knows that Caska is shifty, and says ‘good Trebonius’, in spite of being aware of that Trebonius directed him aside so that they could kill Caesar. Despite the fact that on the surface it appears that Antony has turned traitor to his memory of Caesar, he openly calls himself ‘Either a coward or a flatterer’, boldly speaking aloud the thoughts that they are evidently thinking to themselves. His potential to apparently see both sides of the argument and relate to the conspirators provides Antony some protection from the ill intentions of these murderers. He is in a delicate circumstance, but keeps them on the defensive by demanding ‘reasons / Why and wherein Caesar was dangerous’. Antony cleverly avoids dealing with Cassius by taking benefit of Brutus’ energy and gullibility. He flatters him and attacks his weaknesses, naive sense of honour, and nobility. Antony knows that Brutus desires to believe that he will side with them – he had mentioned ‘I know that we shall have him properly to friend’ – and therefore takes advantage of Brutus’ hope by deceptively telling the conspirators, ‘Friends I am with you all, and love you all’. This construct permits Antony to get permission to speak at Caesar’s funeral, as it provides Brutus time to accept Antony and sympathize with him. Antony also tends to make a point of shaking each conspirator’s hand, and although undertaking so tends to make a mental note of every single man’s name, which makes it possible for him to improvise the act of the murder later in his speech to the crowd. Antony calls some of the conspirators by two names rather than one (for instance, ‘Decius Brutus’ rather than ‘Decius’, which is uncommon in each day Roman life, although this formality emphasises the tension of the moment). Antony’s plan is a gamble, requiring very some nerve, although he is not dissuaded by dishonesty. In comparison to all the conspirators, and even to Cassius, the most strategic and scheming of them all, Antony is robust and politically cunning.

As quickly as the conspirators depart, Antony begs forgiveness of Caesar’s dead body for being ‘meek and gentle with these butchers’. This offers a sturdy contrast to the ‘gentlemen’ he spoke of just moments earlier, and as a result makes the audience aware that he is now capable to express his true feelings and private thoughts, as nicely as emphasizing the falsity of his earlier actions. Antony is extremely emotional and filled with grief and anger in this soliloquy. His strong and passionate words supply him with a sort of redemption and drive him to rouse the people of Rome to rebellion. He prophesizes ‘Domestic fury and fierce civil strife’ in Italy, and uses horrific pictures such as ‘infants quartered’ to predict the a lot of future deaths and the chaos that are to come and to shock the audience. Antony’s full and utter loyalty to ‘Caesar’s spirit, ranging for revenge’, reminds us of wonderful Caesar’s continuous presence regardless of his death, and demonstrates the extreme measures Antony will take to avenge his friend’s betrayal. His words therefore set the tone for the rest of the play and prepare the audience for the forthcoming turmoil and bloodshed. Antony’s soliloquy marks a turning point in the play, which begins with his masterful and manipulative speech to the plebeians to avenge his beloved friend and to obtain energy, and eventually dooms Rome to endure Caesar’s revenge.

‘Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears’. Mark Antony starts his speech with an appeal for consideration before a confused and hostile crowd. Commas punctuate his 1st line as he speaks slowly to give the retreating individuals time to hear him. This oration will test their loyalty towards Rome and towards ‘Noble Antony’. His speeches take the form of verse rather than prose, which make his words a lot more strong, emotive, and poetic than Brutus’. Antony right away disables all opposition in the crowd with the words ‘I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him’. However, he quickly begins to direct his audience’s thoughts away from the ‘evil ambition’ that Brutus spoke of by talking of Caesar’s legacy and hinting at his heroism, kindness, and honour. Becoming a master of rhetorical and political ability, Antony simultaneously maintains Brutus’ arguments while highlighting their flaws and suggesting the opposite, and hence is able to seem deferential to the conspirators but nonetheless incite a revolt against them, a lot as the earlier scene, exactly where he damns the murderers even though appearing to spend them respect. Here, Antony states that ‘Caesar was ambitious’ a lot of instances, then counters these arguments by employing tangible pictures that appeal to the plebeians and remind them that Caesar brought income to Rome, showed compassion for the poor, and turned down the crown three times. This logical evidence concerns the validity of Brutus’ argument and makes the crowd really feel guilty by reminding them that they all loved Caesar once, although there are ‘none so poor to do him reverence’ at his death. Antony also repeatedly calls the conspirators ‘honourable men’ so that it seems that their view of Caesar as ‘ambitious’ should for that reason have been appropriate, and so as not to go against the crowd, who are, at this point, nevertheless in favour of Brutus. Nonetheless, the use of this phrase is heavily ironic, as he believes the males are traitors. Antony’s repetition of the term ‘honourable men’ gives his speech energy and infuses it with an increasingly sarcastic tone that queries their honour merely by drawing so significantly focus to it: ‘For Brutus is an honourable man,/ So are they all, all honourable men’. The emphasis on this phrase also builds rhythm into the speech which captures the crowd’s consideration. Antony continues to flatter the conspirators by saying ‘I am no orator, as Brutus is’, despite providing a speech three times the length of Brutus’. This also expresses his supposed low self-self-assurance, thereby evoking pity amongst the crowd in an attempt for support and praise of his wonderful oration. Once more demonstrating his potential to manipulate the thoughts of the crowd, Antony introduces the concept of ‘mutiny and rage’ whilst claiming to stop it, then says that if he have been as skilled an orator as Brutus, he would stir the men and women to revenge and riot. Antony then proceeds to flatter the Romans, calling them ‘gentle’ when they are in fact uncouth. By creating it appear as if he is consulting the crowd, and by not explicitly enforcing any opinion, Antony does not seem dictatorial, but rather a statesman. He entails the crowd and provides the impression that they are in control. He asks rhetorical queries, to which he supplies answers. The consultation of the crowd (such as ‘You will compel me then to study the will?’) takes on a significance, as there is an intimacy among the crowd, the speaker, and the physique. Antony uses the will itself as a device to tantalize the crowd as the possibility of money tends to make the men and women selfish and excited, meanwhile stating that he can't read it as it would demonstrate how considerably Caesar loved his citizens and for that reason stir them up. Here, again, he is deviously employing the craft of the rhetoric, as a riot is precisely what he desires. He plays with their wish and strengthens it by holding back info until precisely the proper moment, which consequently tends to make the mob even a lot more passionate and harmful. When Antony finally reads the will, Caesar’s generosity in bequeathing his private gardens and orchards and seventy-5 drachmans to each and every citizen emphasises the injustice of the assassination and sends the crowd into a frenzy.

Usually, actions speak louder than words, and Antony effectively uses theatrics in his oration to generate a dramatic impact that will have a lasting effect on the crowd. He initially makes a effective entrance by entering the Forum bearing dead Caesar’s physique, which moves the audience, and from this moment onwards, all eyes are turned towards him. He makes a final lasting image when he uncovers Caesar’s body and reveals his wounds, at which point one particular plebeian responds with ‘O piteous spectacle’. I have observed a production of Julius Caesar at The Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, and the continual presence of the dead body at the forefront of the stage, draped in white fabric with the bloody head uncovered, enhanced and sustained the dramatic tension and suspense all through Antony’s speech, although the dim blue lighting designed a sombre mood and cast shadows on the characters, attaining an air of mystery. Antony thus utilizes the energy of theatre to prolong the strife following the assassination by shocking the audience with a improvisatory account of the death, claiming to know which conspirator made each wound. He deliberately makes use of hyperbole such as ‘O, what a fall was there, my countrymen! / Then I, and you, and all of us fell down’, to aggravate his audience. Harsh ‘k’, ‘r’ and ‘t’ consonants in words like ‘unkindest cut’ emphasise the brutality of the murderous assault, although soft ‘f’ and ‘l’ sounds echo Caesar’s fall. By recounting the murder in a production filled with tragic pathos, he and all the citizens of Rome are forced to relive the traumatic expertise. Antony’s oration is clearly based far more on emotion than on reason. His passionate mourning and sorrow, as shown by his genuine tears over the corpse, and his sentimental reminiscing about Caesar all through his speech win over the feelings of the crowd and contrast with all the other characters’ actions and language. Antony’s lengthy speeches are truly motivated by grief for an additional person, horror, and outrage, and the audience is enchanted by such a show of loyalty. Antony states, ‘He was my friend’, taking on a softer, a lot more reflective tone. Concerns such as friendship are ones they can all realize, and the crowd can therefore empathize with him. Antony shows how a lot he has been hurt by Caesar’s death, stating, ‘My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar’. At this point, he feels the require to ‘pause’ to recover himself, and it is precisely right here exactly where the crowd instinctively started to adjust sides. Moved by his emotion, the fickle crowd start to sympathise with Antony, commenting ‘Poor soul, his eyes are red as fire with weeping’. Caught up in their own emotion, they accept every little thing he says. The cause Antony’s speech is so profitable is since he employs theatrical effects and colorful language in a way that is effective and appealing to the audience. He is clearly not the ‘plain blunt man’ he claims to be, and alternatively proves himself to be eloquent and articulate, with a understanding of managing crowds. Antony skilfully makes use of each piece of information he can to win more than the crowd. His speech is well received, and public opinion turns against the conspirators.

It is by targeting the masses that Antony is able to develop a chaotic situation that allows him to seize power in location of the republicans. He even later attempts to dissuade Octavius from getting into Rome, possibly to avoid sharing energy. By indicates of his ruthless show of grief and persuasive rhetoric, Antony has convinced the unruly mob to revolt against the conspirators. They are enraged to the point of rebellion and violence, and leave to cremate Caesar’s body with due respect, burn the houses of the conspirators, and incite common mayhem. Consequently, Brutus and Cassius flee Rome. Antony’s ruthlessness becomes ever a lot more apparent as he personifies his mischief, saying ‘Mischief, thou art afoot: / Take thou what course thou wilt’. Delighted that the crowd is now acting to his benefit, Antony right away thinks of ways he can profit from this chaos, and visits Octavius and Lepidus at Caesar’s house. Utterly confident about his military approach, Antony personifies fortune, stating ‘Fortune is merry, / And in this mood will give us anything’. By readily trading the lives of the conspirators for his personal political good results, Antony’s merciless nature is revealed. Henceforth, he utilizes his existing position of leadership to defeat his opponents.

At the starting of Act V, as the two opposing sides argue ahead of the battle, Shakespeare shows that language has gone past the point of getting an impact. It is ironic, although, that Antony accuses the ‘Villans’ of ‘kissing Caesar’s feet’ while their ‘vile daggers / Hacked 1 an additional in the sides of Caesar’, when he did the very same by betraying Brutus’ trust and friendship while turning the crowd against him at Caesar’s funeral. Nevertheless, no measure of insult or accusation will deter the inevitable violence brought on by that which has currently been spoken. The war at Philippi that follows reveals a lot about Antony’s character. We mainly see that he is a skilled military leader, as he makes much better decisions on the battlefield than any of the other generals and is proficient at pinpointing the very best point of attack for example, when Brutus leaves Cassius’ army exposed, Antony attacks immediately. Even when Antony takes the inferior ‘left hand of the even field’ he is victorious, whilst Octavius is defeated. Allowing Octavius to take the a lot more advantageous right hand side of the battlefield could recommend Antony’s modesty and explanation, as it shows that he is loyal to Caesar’s fantastic-nephew and heir and acknowledges his superiority. On the other hand, Antony and Octavius argue, as they are both power-craving. There is some character clash, although they are each in a position to location their differences secondary to their shared aspiration to defeat Brutus and Cassius. To do this, however, they have to be expedient and sensible. Antony recklessly adjustments Caesar’s will, which he previously utilised to manipulate the Romans, by looking for methods to ‘cut off some charges in legacies’. He wants to decrease the quantity of cash left by Caesar to the poor of Rome, and as an alternative keeps it for the triumvirate and to reduce expenses for his army. He also proves to be cold and tough-hearted in discussing the deaths of any senators with power who could threaten his reign (for instance, by curtly stating that his own nephew, Publius, ‘shall not live’, rather than attempting to argue for his life). Antony’s actions are filled with irony, as he is now assassinating folks who he feels have energy, just as the conspirators did to Caesar. Similarly, he goes behind the back of Lepidus, his ally, criticising him and making use of him resourcefully to do their ‘errands’ and to ease themselves of ‘diverse slanderous loads’. Antony therefore compares Lepidus to his horse, and plans to withdraw him from energy as soon as they are accomplished utilizing him, in spite of him becoming a ‘tried and valiant soldier’. His program is to then assume power in Lepidus’ spot. In this scene Antony appears very controlling, and by talking down to Octavius, who defends Lepidus by reminding him that he, Antony, has ‘seen more days’ than him and thereby implying that he is wiser, he comes across as pompous and self-crucial. By this point in the play we see how significantly Antony has changed. The generosity of Octavius that Antony himself utilized to manifest contrasts sharply with his personality now. The triumvirs, specifically Antony, defeat the conspirators, even though they do so with no regard for cruelty, tyranny, and betrayal.

As it stands following the battle, Antony and Octavius are both competing for domination. Antony has underestimated Octavius’ determination to rule Rome, and there is no clear winner, although Antony’s prospects remain higher. Nonetheless, we have to question whether or not Antony would actually be a good ruler. He has been given energy by the individuals of Rome, and they are clearly in favour of him, even though given that his oration his principles seem to have changed. Even though his actions have been carried out on behalf of Rome, he has adapted them for private achieve. It becomes evident that as a ruler Antony would be ready to overlook truth, loyalty, and simple principles as he has accomplished in the past, therefore losing his nobility. Nevertheless, he is still in a position to recognize and commend nobility amongst others, as in the final scene Antony pays tribute to Brutus, calling him ‘the noblest Roman of them all’, recognizing that of all the conspirators he was the only 1 who acted with very good intentions, rather than out of ‘envy of excellent Caesar’. This public show of praise has the added purpose of uniting the individuals of Rome. The future of Rome now seems to lie in Antony’s hands. Brutus killed Caesar to create democracy and to avert a one-man state, but the murder seems to have failed to solve their political problems, as Antony’s climb to power indicates that he too will be a dictator like Caesar. Antony has small concern for the plebeians who will suffer due to the civil strife he has developed. It is ironic that Antony hails Brutus as being a ‘man’ rather than a god like Caesar was, but nonetheless is set out to be a related type of leader. The future of Rome is the audience’s main concern in this scene, although the fact that the play ends with a sense of uncertainty signifies that several decisions are left up to the audience. Following the assassination we have ‘a mourning Rome, a dangerous Rome’, and considering that the political structure as it is at the end of the novel is largely how it was to start with, the most probably conclusion is that tiny will adjust in the future. This is due to the overwhelming wish for power and authority among the ruling class. There is no prospect of hierarchy in the political method the triumvirate has designed. These males must unite and function towards bringing Rome to stability, functioning for the good of the people, but they are in truth divided by their pride and self-interest, and their continuous attempts to undermine each and every other. These issues have preoccupied their minds, and as a outcome they have overlooked the qualities of honor and dignity that must be characteristic of all Romans. The tragedy of Julius Caesar for that reason lies not only in the murderous assault on the central character, but also in the crisis of a strong nation which guidelines one particular third of the world.

Throughout ‘Julius Caesar’ Mark Antony proves himself to be a sophisticated and artful public speaker, a effective military leader, and a sly politician, meanwhile fulfilling Brutus’ assessment of him as a ‘wise and valiant Roman’. Antony has a romantic side to him, which encourages his emotion to influence both other folks, and several of his personal choices. His emotional oration more than Caesar’s physique is deserved and enables him to stand up for what he feels is correct, though this emotion also provokes political unrest in Rome. Antony also embraces purpose, particularly in his speech to the plebeians, and his outstanding charisma demonstrates the power of oratory, as it overwhelms the Roman individuals. Nevertheless, his deliberate misuse of language reveals his calculating personality, which during the battle becomes brutal and cruel. Two contrasting sides of his character are hence exposed: the logical and reasonable, and the ruthless. Antony thus symbolizes both the problem and the resolution for Rome, which is the purpose for the indefinite consequences of the action and events in the play.
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