How do Antony and Cassius differ in their perspectives about Ceasar in William Shakespeares Julius Ceasear?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Certainly, Cassius and Marc Antony of Julius Caesar are on opposite ends of the "opinion poll" about Caesar.  In the opening scene of Shakespeare's play, Antony accompanies Caesar in his triumphal entry into Rome.  Like the dutiful son, he obeys--"When Caesar says, 'Do this,' it is performed (1.2.11). Caesar and touches Calpurnia on his run as Caesar directs.  He proudly holds the crown over his "mighty" ruler and engages in the dramatics of Caesar as he ostensibly rejects the laurel three times. On the other hand, "the lean and hungry" Cassius perceives Caesar as a "Colossus" who straddles over the people beneath him.  In addition, he believes that Caesar is physically weak as he tells Brutus that when Caesar challenged him to swim one time, Cassius had to rescue him. Then, after he has Casca tell Brutus about Caesar's having fallen down in a seizure, Cassius adds,

So is he now in execution

Of any bold or noble enterprise

however he puts on this tardy form

This rudeness is a sauce to his good will

Whcih gives menstomach to digest his words

with better spirit (1.2.300-305)

Of course, Cassius is the catalyst to the assasination plot as he enlists the noble and popular Brutus into the plot, giving it more credibility to the other conspirators and to the people, at least, until Marc Antony follows with his powerful rhetoric.  Initially mourning the loss of his beloved ruler, Antony, then, incites  revenge against Brutus and the other conspirators, planning a civil war for Rome in his personal revenge against the others.

 

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Julius Caesar

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