In what ways does the quote "Success is somebody else's failure" apply to Julius Caesar?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

You might want to think about this quote in relation to the way in which power is shown to be grasped whenever there is a vacuum in the play. The most notable example of this is Antony's transformation from a politician who is not taken seriously to somebody who cynically uses the death of his former loved leader as a podium to unleash the mob against the conspirators and ensure his own support. Surely Antony is an excellent example of a Machiavellian politician, who sees the opportunity to gain power through the death of Caesar and goes for it, transforming in a single Act from a carefree politician to one that is able to chillingly discuss the murder of his nephew and others to secure his position, even trying to turn Octavius against Lepidus in Act IV scene 1:

This is a slight unmeritable man,

Meet to be sent on errands; is it fit,

The threefold world divided, he should stand

One of the three to share it?

Antony definitely shows how success is based on or built on somebody else's failure in this excellent tragedy that has so much to say about the grasping nature of power.

dermotgill | Student

This question can be looked at in two ways. In the first instance, the conspiriators use the moment of Caesar's impending greatness against him by planning his assassination. Their short lived success can be explained by their inability to use the crowd to support their cause.

Likewise the conspiriators show their own failure by allowning Mark Anthony time alone with the crowd to sway them and get them on his side. The success of Mark Anthony is as a direct result of the failure of the conspiriators to keep the spotlight on themselves.


Dermot Gill (8/07/2011)

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Julius Caesar

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