Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Mark Antony - Loyalty towards Julius Caesar

In the play, ‘Julius Caesar’ written by William Shakespeare, Mark Antony, a character that had always respected and loved Caesar is in conflict with the murderers of Caesar. The conspirator’s saw Caesar to be gaining too much power, and that they had to bring him down in order for the republic of Rome to stay strong, instead of Caesar becoming a tyrant. ‘Here didst thou fall; and here thy hunters stand, Sign’d in thy spoil, and crimson’d in they lethe. O world, tho wast the forest to this hart; And this indeed, O world, the heart of thee.’ [Julius Caesar, Act 3 Scene 1] Mark Antony is in great sadness seeing the corpse of the beloved man of Rome, Caesar. He is in turmoil as to wonder why had the conspirators thought this as a noble act. How Caesar was the heart of the world, and that the conspirators were responsible for murdering him. When the conspirators assassinated Julius Caesar, Mark Antony who was loyal to Caesar was driven by revenge to murder the conspirators.

Antony loved Caesar and had always stayed loyal to him. He had respected Caesar to be worthy to become the ruler of Rome and sees him as the noblest man of all. ‘I shall remember: When Caesar says, ‘Do this,’ it is perform’d’ [Act one Scene 2 lines 9~10] This quotation shows Antony’s loyalty towards Caesar. He respects him enough that he would do anything for him. However as Caesar is murdered, Antony is filled with anger and wishes to avenge Caesar’s death. Antony devotes his own life in order to be able to punish the one’s who had murdered the noblest man of Rome. ‘He was my friend, faithful and just to me; But Brutus says he was ambitious. And Brutus is an honorable man. He hath brought many captives home to Rome, Whose ransom did the general coffers fill:’ [Act three scene 2 Lines 83~86] Unlike how the commoners of Rome had turned against Caesar due to Brutus’s speech explaining Caesar’s ambition, Antony stays loyal to Caesar and convinces the crowd to think otherwise. As Brutus hadn’t explained why Caesar was ambitious, Antony uses Brutus’s flaw in order to turn the crowd against the Conspirators. Antony fights for Caesar even after he had been killed, devoting and risking his own life. As Antony remained loyal to Caesar, his act upon killing the Conspirators was due to revenge.

The assassination of Caesar had enraged Antony. This had motivated him to kill the men who were responsible for the act. Outraged, Antony wishes revenge and to punish the conspirators for killing the noble Caesar whom he had loved. ‘A curse shall light upon the limbs of men; Domestic fury and fierce civil strife shall cumber all the parts of Italy’ [Act 3 Scene 1, 262~264] Antony calls a future civil war and a curse towards the conspirators. Antony is filled with revenge and has the need to punish the conspirators. The curse that will plague men’s lives is the war, which shall end up in the destruction of Italy and the death of countless people. Unlike the Antony that was described in previous scenes, Antony is shown as hate filled and destructive. ‘Cry Havoc and slip the dogs of war, That this foul deed shall smell above the earth With carrion men, groaning for burial’ Antony foresees the complete destruction and havoc in the whole of Italy. He mentions the foul deed, the assassination of Caesar and states that the ‘noble’ conspirators responsible for Caesar’s death will be killed, and not given a proper burial. Antony believes that the death of Caesar wasn’t necessary by all means, and that for this fault, destruction will cry over Italy in order to avenge Caesar’s death. Antony’s mind is set on the fierce civil war, which he was about to create due to conspirator’s actions. As Antony remained loyal and respectful towards Caesar both when Caesar was alive, and after he was killed, he had also become revengeful. These two motivating factors had driven Mark Antony into creating a civil war and the death of the conspirators.

Mark Antony was a loyal, noble man who had respected Caesar. However as the conspirators killed Caesar for becoming too powerful and wishing to keep their statuses, Mark Antony’s noble, thoughtful and humble character had changed to a angry hate filled man seeking revenge. Antony had been successful with achieving his goal, changing the minds of the people of Rome by staying loyal to Caesar then turning the people against the conspirators. Antony had not turned against Caesar but instead worked to fight for Caesar. Mark Antony was fueled by revenge to kill the conspirators; therefore the act was not noble. Nor was the act worthy as after Caesar was killed, there was no necessity to kill the conspirators who had wished to keep the republic of Rome. Although Antony had managed to achieve his goal of avenging Caesar’s death, the end result had not been a noble or worthy act.

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