"There's not a nobler man in Rome than Antony", How far does Shakespeare make you agree with the plebian? Mention one or more conspirators in the essay.
I have five ideas: Friendship/Nobility, Admirable/ Public appearance, No Disgrace/Integrity, Motivation and Background. I am struggling for things to say to expand on these ideas so if you could suggest what type of things I could say, I would be grateful. Please let me know as soon as possible.
2 Answers | Add Yours
In Shakespeare's tragedy Julius Caesar, the playwright seems to focus a lot of attention on the concept of true nobility versus public appearance. The conspirators against Caesar are spurred on because he appears to be an ambitious man. When Antony offers Caesar the crown, Caesar refuses the crown three times. The conspirators such as Casca, Brutus, and Cassius believe that Caesar wanted to accept the crown. Thus, Casca says, "to my / thinking, he would fain have had it."
Later in the play, after Caesar has been killed, Antony offers his funeral oration. In that speech, Antony focus on the concept of whether the way a person appears in public is truly the way that person is. Brutus had told the crowd that he killed Caesar because he was ambitious. Antony counters by acknowledging that Brutus is an honorable man, but Antony gives specific examples of why Caesar should not have been regarded as ambitious.
Following the first part of Antony's speech, the Third Citizen declares, "There's not a nobler man in Rome than Antony." Interestingly, this declaration comes on the heels of the Second Citizen's observation, "
On the surface, it is easy to agree with these citizens. Antony has given a very persuasive speech. Still, both of these citizens' remarks in admiration of Antony are based upon perception. Just as Caesar appeared to be ambitious to some, Antony appears to be noble to some people. Just because his eyes are red, does not necessarily mean he has been weeping out of grief at Caesar's death. Just because Antony argues against Brutus and the other conspirators, does not necessarily mean that Antony truly grieves for Caesar. Students of Roman history would know that Caesar's death created a vacuum that allowed Antony to emerge as one of Rome's leading citizens.
Shakespeare does not intend for the audience to agree with this plebian at all. He has this character say that Antony is noble because he wants to show how persuasive Antony has been and to show fickle the common people are in political situations.
Throughout the play, Shakespeare portrays the common citizens of Rome as easily swayed by the well-spoken opinions of others. He also has powerful characters such as Casca cast apersions on the value and intelligence of the common people.
By having the plebian call Antony "noble" he has achieved the ironic effect of painting Antony with the valued characteristic (nobility) that up until that point had been reserved for Brutus. This signals the end of Brutus' influence and power over the Roman people, and the ascension of Antony.
Join to answer this question
Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.Join eNotes