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Mark Antony: Loyal Friend or Cunning Politician Essay

Mark Antony was a cunning, strong-willed, and loyal Roman. He was a devoted friend to Caesar. He looked at life as a game in which he had a significant part to play, and played that part with excellent refinement and skill.

Antony was a devoted follower of Julius Caesar. Because he was a good friend, he was willing to be second hand to Caesar, the new king. Whilst Caesar would become the king, the most valuable but least powerful piece in chess, he would become the rook, a semi-valuable, very important piece. He wanted the crown to be given to Caesar so that the political vacuum would be filled and no conflicts would occur. Antony was unsettled by Caesar’s death but mainly sought to use this to his advantage and gain power. 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. Antony took advantage of the public idiocy when he first pretended to respect the conspirators calling them honorable men, and then slowly proving that they were not. He spoke out against them because he wanted power for himself, and unlike Brutus, he was politically ambitious and so believed that if he could take control while the state was in turmoil, he will remain in power. He was alone in making this oration, showing he had the confidence and courage needed to take charge.

Rome began to collapse once Caesar was killed, so Antony joined the new government in order to lead the Roman people into a new age of prosperity. He did this partly due to a feeling of responsibility as Caesar’s friend, and also from his own ambitions.

Antony was viewed as a threat by all of the conspirators but Brutus. They wanted to kill Antony as well as Caesar because they feared that he would become as powerful as Caesar 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). 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 loves 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). Brutus judged him as being frivolous, and simply liking sport and partying, with a reputation for womanizing. This caused Brutus to see Antony as a pushover and a force that could be molded to their uses. Unfortunately for Brutus and the conspirators he turned out to be quite the orator and the people immediately loved him.

Antony’s character was slow to emerge, and it wasn’t until he was forced to show his true potential, that he could he really be judged. He was a character with many hidden traits until he was forced to show his genuine character while trying to take the throne after Caesar’s death. Once he became a leader of Rome, his true character was uncovered.

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