The character of Mark Antony from Shakespeares 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. Antonys 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 Brutuss 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 Caesars 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 Caesars 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. Antonys 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 ecause 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 onfident and persuasive speech at Caesars 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, Antonys 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 ssassins 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, Antonys loyalty will change into an envy of Caesars 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 Caesars funeral. He speaks of the conspirators sarcastically calling them “honorable” men. He enrages the people of the crowd by convincing them that Caesars 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 ill 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 Cassiuss army exposed. As a consequence, it is because of Antonys 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.