Hey! (: So I'm doing this project that's coming up and REALLY need some help on this, teachers and students. I keep going over and over it to try and figure it out, but I'm just uncertain. What's the true theme of Antony's monologue? Thanks in advance!
Ambition is in fact a central theme of the play. Its centrality is underscored by Mark Antony's use of the word "ambition" in his funeral oration for Caesar.
Antony's speech utilizes irony in a play on virtue, enumerating the ways in which the conspirators are hypocrites and dangerous men masquerading as virtuous protectors of the republic. The theme of his speech then relates to ambition, as it functions as the basis for the argument of both the virtues espoused by the conspiracy and as it becomes the basis for his own motivations to overthrow the conspiracy.
Marc Antony's rhetorical address to the Roman people is a persuasive argument against Brutus and the other conspirators, an address that discredits them. Rather than acting nobly, Antony argues, the assassins killed Julius Caesar in order to gain the power for themselves. With verbal irony, Antony repeatedly refers to Brutus as "an honorable man" and states that the "ambition" of which Caesar has been accuses should have been made "of sterner stuff." With dramatic irony, it is later discovered that Antony himself covets power and is, himself, most ambitious. For, he incites the crowd to civil war by telling them that Caesar loved them and left money for them in his will, suggesting that Brutus and the others were going to keep this money.
Antony also emphasizes the idea that he was a friend of Caesar's. This implies to the crowd that they should support him. In fact, at one point, Antony actually says, "He was a friend to me."
If Brutus is not really "honorable," as he claims to be, then the crowd should not support him.
The theme to which he returns several times, even if he only does so sarcastically, is honor. He repeats over and over that "Brutus is an honorable man," suggesting that he is, in fact not honorable, but a traitor who has murdered Caesar, a hero.