What role does Antony play in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar? Why is Antony significant?

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D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Antony plays a very important role in the play. He was close to Caesar, respected him, and is heartbroken and furious that the senators assassinated him. He is especially angered that Brutus, Caesar's close friend, joined the conspiracy.

When Antony speaks to the crowd of commoners, he uses his eloquence as an orator to turn them against Brutus and the other conspirators, starting a civil war in Rome. This is exactly what Brutus, who loves Rome, hoped to avoid. After Antony's speech, the play moves to the serious business of warfare and to the question of who will have the power in Rome.

Antony is a pivotal game changer and plot mover, but he also is significant for his personality. He is a foil to Brutus. Shakespeare shows us clearly that, unlike characters such as Cassius who are self interested, Brutus's heart is in the right place. He does care about more than his own power. He does put patriotism to his country first. He does want to be fair.

But against a ruthless figure like...

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