Mark Antony as a Developing Character
In the play “Julius Caesar” by William Shakespeare, the author writes the Character “Mark Antony” very well. In the beginning of the play Antony is a very good friend of Caesar and watches out for him. He treats Caesar as a father with great respect. Antony is very loyal to Caesar and he does everything in his power to make Caesar happy, for example while he runs the race in the beginning of the play, he touches Caesars wife so that she may be fertilized.
After Caesar is killed, Antony becomes very mournful and outrage by the treachery of the conspirators that killed Caesar. Antony asks for just to a speech at Caesars funeral and Brutus grants him that one wish. Antony is a very intelligent man and he has the ability to manipulate a crowd with his speeches. For example in Act 3 During Antony speech he says
“But Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
He hath brought many captives home to Rome
whose ransoms did the general coffers fill:
Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?
When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept:
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is a honourable man.”
By this it shows that Antony is intelligent and has courage for he mocks Brutus and his accusations. And it shows how he can manipulate the crowd by telling of Caesars wonderful accomplishments.
Antony then shows his anger towards the conspirators by getting the mob to release their anger by rioting and going out and killing the conspirators. Antony then starts a war against the conspirators and when this war starts Antony changes from the people’s hero to just a normal greedy leader. His hate for Brutus grows over time and with that hate grows greed. Antony starts thinking more about his wealth then about the people that he is supposed to be caring for.
In Act 5 Antony expresses his feelings towards Brutus before they go into the battle that will decide who is the rightful ruler of Rome.
“Villains, you did not so, when your vile daggers
Hack’d one another in the sides of Caesar:
You show’d your teeth like apes, and fawn’d like hounds,
And bow’d like bondmen, kissing Caesar’s feet;
Whilst damned Casca, like a cur, behind
Struck Caesar on the neck. O you flatterers!”
Antony has become just as those he hates for he and Octavius are Building their wealth and their lands for the better of themselves. Antony treats Octavius as a less important partner instead of an equal. Antony has become greedy and let his greed take over his thoughts and his feelings.
During the coarse of the play Shakespeare allows the character of Antony to develop his character gradually and express his feelings. Antony’s Character is one of the strongest characters in the play because of his feelings towards Caesar and how he takes his feelings and uses them to play with the crowd’s minds during his speech at Caesar’s funeral.
“Only yesterday the word of Caesar might
Have stood against the world. Now he lies there,
And no one will stoop so low as to pay him respect.
O gentlemen! If I wanted to stir up
Your hearts and minds to mutiny and rage,
I would be doing Brutus wrong, and Cassius wrong,
Who, you all know, are honorable men.
I will not do them wrong. Instead, I choose
To wrong the dead to wrong myself and you,
Rather than wronging such honorable men.
But here’s a document with Caesar’s seal.
I found it in his closet; it’s his will.
Just let the public hear this testament,
Which (pardon me) I do not mean to read,
And they would go and kiss dead Caesar’s wounds
And dip their handkerchiefs in his sacred blood;
Yes, beg a hair from him to remember him by,
And when they are dying, mention it in their wills,
Bequeathing it as a valuable inheritance
To their children.”
A noticeable change in Antony’s character is with the will. At first when he reads Caesar’s will to the people he tells them how that every man shall receive a payment, yet later on in the play Antony and Caesar discuss how they can squeeze more money from Caesar’s wealth for themselves.
Throughout the play Antony’s character shows many changes and William Shakespeare does a wonderful job on telling the story of “Julius Caesar” and his friends and foes.