Complexity of Antony
In the eyes of many, Mark Antony is viewed to be only a passionate follower. How he contains no spirit of a great leader and will always follow behind others. As the series of events lead up to the death of Caesar, Antony surprises everyone by collecting himself and taking charge of the transformed empire. Within William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Mark Antony must arise from the shadow of his idol and strive to succeed him. At Antony’s disposal are several advantages; he is underestimated by the conspirators, has characteristics that prove to be valuable, and uses these opportunities to change a dismal situation to his expediency.
Prior to Caesar’s assassination, Antony only made a couple of brief comments showing us his loyalty to Caesar: “I shall remember; / When Caesar says, “Do this,” it is perform’d/” (I, ii, 9-10). Anthony’s comments display his loyalty of Caesar as both a friend and dictator. While the conspirators were planning their plot to murder Caesar, Cassius, knowing of Antony’s ambitious demeanor, suggests that they should kill two birds with one stone and also remove Antony from the picture:
“Decius, well urged. I think it is not meet / Mark Antony, so well belov’d of Caesar, / Should outlive Caesar; we shall find of him / A shrewd contriver; and you know, his means, / If he improved them, may well stretch so far as to annoy us all; which to prevent, / Let Anton and Caesar Fall together/” (II, i, 155-161).
Due to Brutus’s naiveté, he believes that Antony is nothing without Caesar and will be like a fish on land when Caesar is deceased: “And for Mark Antony, think not of him; / For he can do no more than Caesar’s arm / When Caesar’s head is off/” (II, i, 181-183). Brutus convinces the conspirators that Antony is no threat to them though Cassius is still wary of him. Being underestimated was a blessing for Antony, and helped him to deliver vengeance to Caesar’s murderers.
Even with being underestimated Antony’s...