Caesar EssaysThe Ambitious Marc Antony in Julius Caesar

The tragic and untimely death of Julius Caesar, a condemned Roman tyrant, triggered William Shakespeare’s creativity. In his play Julius Caesar Shakespeare writes of the treacherous conspirators, Marcus Brutus and Caius Cassius, and their plans to assassinate their Roman leader, Julius Caesar. The story continues to explain how Caesar’s loyal friend, Marc Antony, helps avenge the brutal murder. After Antony receives soldiers to fight his battle, his character begins to change. The fair and faithful Marc Antony transforms to a darker and more deceitful character. Marc Antony is not suitable to rule Rome because he holds a grand desire of great power, his conceit restrains him from seeing other’s opinions and he possesses the dangerous power of crowd swaying.

Marc Antony hungers for domination, which is dangerous for Rome because he will go to any length to achieve his objective. These lengths include Marc Antony betraying his fellow country officials along with the citizens by deceiving them. The first time this treachery occurs is after Caesar’s death while Marc Antony is discussing the act with the conspirators. Antony tells the conspirators that although he is mournful of his dear friend’s death, if they believe the action they took was necessary then he will have to agree. However, once the conspirators leave, Antony reveals to Caesar’s body that he will indeed seek his revenge. Antony accomplishes his plan of retribution by speaking at Caesar’s funeral, convincing the crowd of Roman citizens that this act was truly a murder by power-hungry leaders. The fact that Marc Antony carried out his plan states that he will deceive his associates to appeal to the people, an obvious attribute of a power-driven individual (III, 2, 147-275). The second time this deception is present is when Marc Antony decides to find loopholes in Caesar’s will, which enables Antony and his friends to retain more money for themselves. Here Antony has recently told the people of Rome that they each receive 75 drachmas, then tries to cut down that number so he will have more money for the war he started by deceiving his associates. Antony does not consider the citizen’s need for money and gets their hopes up by telling them they will receive this great amount, then taking that away so his war effort can be paid for (III, 2, 227-230 and IV, 1, 8-9). Marc Antony not only deceives his coworkers and the citizens who trust him, but he also uses this to gain personally. A political leader who uses power to hurt their people through fraud and greed will only suffer in the end.

Marc Antony shuns advice from his colleagues because he believes that his ideas and plans are always correct. After Caesar’s assassination the conspirators try to explain to Antony why they committed this crime. Antony does not listen, though, because he is already carrying out his trickery and therefore will not even consider the points of the other side. This characteristic may hurt Marc Antony because a leader needs to consider every point before coming to a decision and be able to show his followers how he came to that resolution (III, 2, 148-225). In Act Four, Antony commands Lepidus and Octavius without listening to them. In this scene these men are discussing who should be killed and determining several fates by associating certain citizens to the conspiracy. When Antony sends Lepidus on an errand he begins to discuss Lepidus’ faults with Octavius as soon as Lepidus leaves to carry out Antony’s bidding. This angers Octavius as he tries to show Marc Antony why Lepidus is a dependable and valiant soldier. However, Antony continues to argue against Octavius, forcing his companion to give up (IV, 1, 1-51). This stubbornness is dangerous because a dishonest or depraved decision is risked being made.

The ability to alter a crowd’s opinion through manipulating their emotions is a dangerous, especially in the hands of Marc Antony, who uses this capability to augment his power. In Act Three Marcus Brutus changes the people’s opinion of the death of Caesar instantly. He convinces them that the assassination should not be considered evil, but seen as to the only way to survive while remaining free. The citizens of Rome trust and respect Brutus and believe him. Then Marc Antony convinces the people to come to a different conclusion than that portrayed by Brutus and his “honorable men”. The crowd believes Antony that the conspirators committed this crime through jealousy, greed and the desire to limit Julius Caesar’s growing authority. At first Marc Antony only plants a minor idea in the public’s mind, allowing them to think about and discuss the new information presented to them. This method initiates the contemplation of serious issues for the crowd of citizens who need no more than this to come to their own opinion concerning what took place (III, 2, 62-106). Marc Antony then stirs his audience with emotions every person in Rome can relate to, focusing on guilt and anger. These passions intertwine, for when the crowd begins to feel guilty, they also start to become enraged. Marc Antony creates a dangerous situation with his riled audience and the possession of information that sets them over the edge into being an unforgiving mob (III, 2, 107-259). Having a serious effect on an audience is important when trying to be understood fully, however revenge is a dangerous topic especially when being encouraged by a talented public speaker.

Marc Antony is truly a deceitful person. This attribute is apparent in Antony’s actions including how he handles his excessive greed, presumption in himself and his opinions and his perilous power of public speaking. Antony is not worthy of the presidency because he would be entrusted with too much power. Jurisdiction is an important privilege given to only those who can prove themselves as worthy and capable. Marc Antony has demonstrated that he cannot adequately rule Rome and therefore should not be allowed the opportunity.