Relationship Between Marc Antony and Julis Caesar
Yet that statement is put under scrutiny when the persona of Marc Antony is anatomized. Although most politicians are predominantly loyal to themselves, Antony exhibited faithfulness to Caesar even past death. Nevertheless, he was shrewd enough to use his love for Caesar to manipulate the murderers into believing his desire to “[take their] hands” and “be pricked in number of [their] friends” (III. i. 216, 218). Using the guise of a friendly gesture, he internally marked the conspirators for revenge.
Because of his innate skill of reading people and melding his actions to their desires, the abettors were blinded by adulation and failed to see the irony in his words. Twisting people’s will to suit his own through flattery, expression, and rhetoric is a talent of Antony’s. Using his sly ways, he convinces the audience at Caesar’s funeral that rebelling against the murderers is not only what they need to do but what they want to do as well.
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What’s even better is that he manages to make them believe that this decision was made on their own part; however, it was a plot that he subliminally embedded into their brains.
After Brutus spoke citizens cried that “Caesar was a tyrant” (III. ii. 72) and felt loyalty to the aforementioned. Accordingly, he cleverly juxtaposed “ambitious Caesar” (III. ii. 27″ with “the noble Brutus” (III. ii. 79) to convince the listeners of Julius’ true, caring self while simultaneously smiting Brutus’ character. Using persuasive rhetoric concerning the means of Caesar’s will, he then clenches the hearts of the people and gains a guarantee of having them on his side. Yet, even though the general welfare of the people is his first priority, Antony never separates his private affairs from his public actions.
Antony convinces the people that they would “beg a hair of [Caesar] for memory, and dying, mention it within their wills, bequeathing it as a rich legacy unto their issue” (III. ii. 136-139) due to the treasures willed to them by the deceased Caesar. He then pulls a complete 180° turn and conspires with Octavious Caesar about “how to cut off some charge in legacies” (IV. i. 9) in order to raise an army against Brutus and Cassius. It becomes pointedly clear in this dialogue that Antony doesn’t let ethical concerns prevent him from harvesting resources in a more politically tactical manner.
In the two lines a flaw in Marcus’ moral dignity is revealed. Concurrently, Shakespeare sews in the underlying theme that solid virtuous principles can’t always co-exist with political success. However, although this blemish is disclosed to us, Antonious’ verbal irony is veiled from the public eye. He sagaciously employs Lepidus as a member of the triumvirate to bend to his own aspirations. He cleverly lies “honors on this man to ease [himself] of diver’s sland’rous loads” (IV. i. 19-20). Intending to have Lepidus “bear them as the ass bears gold,” “either led or driven as [he] point[s] the way,” (IV. . 21, 23) he knows that in the end all the fault will lie with his frontman while his image remains virtually unscathed. By positioning Lepidus’ character beside a pack animal’s in an insulting simile, Antonious’ view of his ally as a stepping stone is projected and his principles are once again put into question. In one instance Marcus Antonious is built up as a savior of Rome as an effect of the charisma and sincerity that litter his long monologues and peek through his rhetorical sayings.
Yet in the next his character may be pulled under the analytical knife by a sudden change in idiosyncrasies. In this way, Shakespeare effectively camouflages the total extent of Antony’s true qualities. By layering these multiple personalities, Shakespeare created a powerful, manipulative character (even more so than Cassius) within The Tragedy of Julius Caesar. Therefore, no matter what conclusion is drawn about Marcus Antonious’ ethical principles, it must be succeeded that he, although not always an honest one, is a propitious politician.