Analyze the character of Mark Antony in Julius Caesar.

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Antony is an intriguing character in the play. He appears to be subservient and servile to Caesar but, following the assassination he comes into his own. Great care should be taken when writing an essay on Julius Caesar. It is important to consider the characters and their motivations very carefully when analysing this play because there are no clear-cut 'good' and 'bad' characters as there are in other Shakespeare plays. In Julius Caesar , Brutus has killed Caesar for the greater good of Rome, but nevertheless he has killed a friend who was not necessarily doing harm to Rome .

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Interestingly, the character of Mark Antony is a minor one at the beginning of Julius Caesar, but he rises in prominence, especially in Act III. Other characters regard him as a bit of a "lad" or a playboy, and his habit for keeping wild company and partying is something that prevents other characters from taking him seriously. His first appearance in the play is in the games in honour of Lupercal, and Caesar states that Antony "revels long o'nights."

Antony is led away from the assassination and after the deed has been committed he asks to meet with the murderers. There, he laments the death of Caesar and praises him. Brutus and the other conspirators are unsure of his motives, but Antony assures them that they have acted in wisdom before praising Caesar again. Antony is allowed to address the crowds at Caesar's funeral.

It is after the conspirators leave that Antony delivers his first soliloquy of the play, where he states his intention to have his revenge on the conspirators. Because this is a soliloquy, critics have argued that this shows he was motivated by grief and love of Caesar rather than any power-mongering intention, but this is one of the questions you will need to ask yourself about Antony's motivations. It is during his oration that Antony clearly manipulates the crowd and stirs them into a frenzy against the killers of Caesar. He displays his impressive rhetoric skill and wins his objective of turning the mob against the conspirators.

The last Act further confuses the picture we have of Antony. At one stage he coldly agrees to the death of his nephew in exchange for the death of the brother of Lepidus, but then, when Brutus is captured, ensures that he is taken care of and states that Brutus, alone of the conspirators, acted for what he believed to be the general good. Thus the question has to be asked about whether Antony is self-serving and a political opportunist, or whether he is a genuinely good man, provoked into taking power by the assassination of Caesar, a man he loved and admired.

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What is a characterization of Marc Antony in Julius Caesar?

Marc Antony is a superficial man:

  • In Act II, Scene 1 in the orchard of Brutus as he takes charge of the conspiracy to kill Caesar, Cassius suggests that they also kill Marc Antony, but Brutus rejects his notion that Antony is ambitious, considering him a shallow man, saying that Marc Antony is merely "given to sports, to wildness, and much company" (2.1.89). In fact, he is described by Caesar himself as one who"revels long o'nights" (2.2.116).
  • Although Antony is greatly grieved by Caesar's death as his soliloquy of Act III, Scene 1 depicts, he chooses to flatter Brutus so that he will survive: "First, Marcus Brutus, will I shake with you,"(l.185), and telling him he "doubt[s] not" of his wisdom.

Marc Antony is also a politico:

  • He capitalizes upon opportunities for his own advancement. In his funeral oration, he cleverly turns the plebians against Brutus and the other conspirators, and, although declaring his great love for Rome, Antony incites the Romans to civil war, capitalizing on an opportunity for power.
  • With Octavius Caesar, the nephew of Julius Caesar, and M. Aemilius Lepidus, Antony forms the triumvirate that battles against the armies of Brutus and Cassius. In his quest for power, Marc Antony has no qualms about taking any advantage he can. In Act IV, for instance, despite having assured the Roman people that much of Caesar's money would go to them, Antony tries to extract the money from Caesar's will for the triumvirate.
  • He displays no loyalty to this triumvirate, however; for, after Lepidus leaves, he disputes with Octavius the usefulness of Lepidus,

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? (4.1.13-16)

  • But, Octavius comes to the defense of Lepidus, an action that the politico Antony does not forget because when Octavius shows that he is a Caesar, Antony remembers this in Act V after Brutus dies. Anticipating that in a like manner, Octavius will show respect for the nobility of Brutus--as he certainly does in the final lines of the play--Antony lauds the fallen enemy, calling him "the noblest Roman of them all" (5.5.74)
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What are the main points in the character of Marc Antony in Julius Caesar?

The central question you have to ask yourself about the character of Marc Anthony is if he is a political opportunist, motivated to rise against the conspirators to seize power for his own selfish ends, or is he genuinely a great admirer of Caesar and forced to act to prevent the conspirators seizing power.

Interestingly, the character of Marc Antony is a minor one at the beginning of Julius Caesar, but he rises in prominence, especially in Act III. Other characters regard him as a bit of a "lad" or a playboy, and his habit for keeping wild company and partying is something that prevents other characters from taking him seriously. His first appearance in the play is in the games in honour of Lupercal, and Caesar states that Antony "revels long o'nights."

Antony is led away from the assassination and after the deed has been committed he asks to meet with the murderers. There, he laments the death of Caesar and praises him. Brutus and the other conspirators are unsure of his motives, but Antony assures them that they have acted in wisdom before praising Caesar again. Antony is allowed to address the crowds at Caesar's funeral.

It is after the conspirators leave that Antony delivers his first soliloquy of the play, where he states his intention to have his revenge on the conspirators. Because this is a soliloquy, critics have argued that this shows he was motivated by grief and love of Caesar rather than any power-mongering intention, but this is one of the questions you will need to ask yourself about Antony's motivations. It is during his oration that Antony clearly manipulates the crowd and stirs them into a frenzy against the killers of Caesar. He displays his impressive rhetoric skill and wins his objective of turning the mob against the conspirators.

The last Act further confuses the picture we have of Antony. At one stage he coldly agrees to the death of his nephew in exchange for the death of the brother of Lepidus, but then, when Brutus is captured, ensures that he is taken care of and states that Brutus, alone of the conspirators, acted for what he believed to be the general good. Thus the question has to be asked about whether Antony is self-serving and a political opportunist, or whether he is a genuinely good man, provoked into taking power by the assassination of Caesar, a man he loved and admired.

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Discuss the character of Mark Antony in Julius Caesar.

Antony is one of the more intriguing characters of the play. We see evidence of several different sides to him. At first he appears in rather a slight role and somewhat servile in front of Caesar, but following Caesar's assassination he comes into his own.

First, he acts resourcefully in meeting with the conspirators immediately following the assassination, fooling Brutus with his show of meekness, and extracting from him the promise that he can speak at Caesar's funeral - an opportunity which he turns to his advantage. He is quick to exploit situations for his own benefit; he is proactive, and extremely subtle and manipulative in his handling of the crowd at Caesar's funeral. In all these traits, he is the opposite of the idealistic and somewhat impractical Brutus - as Brutus himself notes.

I am not gamesome; I do lack some part

Of that quick spirit that is in Antony (I.ii.28-29)

Antony, then, is 'quick' in thought and action and deed while Brutus ponders, reflects, and very often agonises over his decisions.

Antony however also reveals himself to be a cold and calculating type. He plots the downfall of his enemies, has dozens of senators put to death, and looks to seize power along with the equally ruthless Octavius while getting rid of their less effective companion Lepidus.  He is instrumental in steering Rome to civil war and plans to gain personal profit from the situation.

Along with all this, though, Antony does display genuine emotion at Caesar's death and vows to avenge him. Although he can personally gain from the power void left at Caesar's death, when left alone with the body he laments his friend's passing rather than speculating upon his own plans for power. In his most private moments, therefore, he appears as a devoted friend rather than being just concerned with himself.

Antony, then, is a varied and somewhat contradictory character. He proves himself a loyal friend to Caesar, an astute politician, and also a ruthless power-seeker in his own right. 

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Discuss Marc Antony's character in Julius Caesar.

As great a general  that Caesar was Antony was just as great a soldier, which made them a great pair. However, Antony did not possess one fifth the military and social intellect of Caesar and this shortcoming would ultimately undermine the both of them. In many ways Caesar and Antony were polar opposites. Caesar possessed the disipline which Antony lacked, and Antony possessed the youth that Caesar wished he still had. By all accounts on the outside Antony was faithful to Caesar, but we must remember that when one lives in the shadow of another one's loyalty is subject to interpretation. Marc Antony tried to aspire to Julius Caesar, but was incapable of understanding the essence of who Caesar really was.

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Discuss Marc Antony's character in Julius Caesar.

Antony alters as the political winds shift.  Given preference by Caesar, he of course supports him, but after Caesar's murder "makes peace" with the conspirators, shaking each bloody hand.  Immediately after meeting with the conspirators, he vows revenge on them, addressing the slain Caesar -- Is this a reflection of how deep his friendship was for Caesar?  Perhaps. Was the murder instead his excuse to grab power?

Unlike Brutus, who attempts to speak the truth to the citizens, Antony twists his speech to manipulate them for his own ends.  He further makes a backroom deal of who shall live and die to garner support for his activities against Brutus and Cassius.  Successful in gaining power and seeing Brutus destroyed, he orders he be buried with full honors, which serves to underscore his own authority. Seems like a modern-day politician!

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Explain Marc Antony Character.

Marc Antony, in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, is highly loyal to Caesar, intelligent, a great speaker, noble, but also tenacious, cruel, and ruthless when he needs to be.

Thought to be only a playboy by Brutus before the assassination, Antony turns out to be smarter and more gifted than the conspirators.  He manipulates Brutus into allowing him to speak at Caesar's funeral, and subsequently turns the mob against the conspirators and sets off a civil war.

Yet, he respects Brutus, praising his nemesis once he's defeated as the only conspirator that assassinated Caesar out of loyalty to Rome, rather than out of personal gain.

At the same time, in Act 4, Antony agrees to the executions of numerous Romans and actually agrees to the death of a cousin.

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What are some character traits of Mark Antony from Julius Caesar?

Antony is hedonistic. He loves all forms of pleasure, including sports and banqueting. Caesar is sober and austere. His main pleasure is in using his mind. Caesar is very ambitious. He wants to be first. Cassius is quite right in his judgment of Caesar's character. Antony does not think ahead. He is content to be a faithful follower of Caesar.

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