Julius Caesar - Mark Antony

Mark Antony, in the play The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, was a brave, intelligent, pleasure-loving, and cunning man. He was loyal to his friend, Caesar, whom he considered a true friend. He looked at life as a game in which he had a signified part to play, and played that part with excellent refinement and skill.

Antony was devoted and preferred to be dependent upon Julius Caesar since he rather have enjoyed life than to claim the highest position in the government. He wanted the crown to be given to Caesar so that all conflicts could be avoided. However, this additional power contributed to the conspirator's motive to assassinate him. Antony was distraught with Caesar's death and sought revenge first by speaking to the crowd in his speech. He showed how clever and cunning he could be when he convinced the crowd at Caesar's funeral ceremony to side with him and not with the murderers. The people became excited and rowdy when he teased them about the will, waving it in the air and pretending as if he was not going to read it. Reverse psychology is used when he first pretends to respect the conspirators calling them honorable men, and then slowly proving that they are not. He speaks out against them because he wanted power for himself, and unlike Brutus, he is politically ambitious and so believes that if he can take control while the state is in turmoil, he will remain in power. He was alone in making this oration, yet he was confidant in himself and courageous.

Rome began to collapse once Caesar was killed, and Antony was left without anyone to trust. He did not want to side with the conspirators whom he valued slightly. However, he felt his duty was to carry on Caesar's reign and clear his name. Therefore he joined the Second Triumvirate and became a great leader.

Antony was looked down upon by all the conspirators except for Brutus. They wanted to kill Antony as well as Caesar because they feared that he would become as powerful as him and possibly a dictator. Brutus persuaded the others not to add to the assassination by saying, "And for Mark Antony, think not of him: for he can do no more than Caesar's arm when Caesar's head is off"(2.1.181-183). Brutus underestimated Antony and perceived him as a person who didn't always take life seriously, couldn't have a serious nature and therefore, not a thinker. Brutus continued to argue with Cassius who did not believe him. "Alas, good Cassius, do not think of him. If he love Caesar, all that he can do is to himself -- take thought and die for Caesar. And that were much he should, for he is given to sports, to wildness, and much company (2.1.185-189). Brutus judged him as being frivolous, and simply liking sport and partying, with a reputation for womanizing. Unfortunately for Brutus and the conspirators he was respected by Caesar and so simply couldn't be ignored.

Caesar respected Antony, and his way of life. He defended him when he said, "See! Antony, that revels (makes merry) long a-nights, is notwithstanding (however) up. Good morrow, Antony" (2.4.116-117). Caesar did not think Antony to be a threat to anyone.

Antony's character was slow to emerge, and it wasn't until he was forced to show his true potential, could he really be judged. He was a character with many hidden traits until he was forced to show his true character while defending Caesar after his death. He was misunderstood by all, and his true leadership qualities were underestimated. Once he became a leader of Rome, his true character was uncovered.