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Mark Antony is a loyal friend of Caesar’s who has stepped out of Caesar’s shadow and emerged as a leader of his own right after Caesar’s fateful death. Compared to Brutus, Antony is passionate more than principled, claiming alliance with Brutus to save his own life. However, he eventually maneuvers a masterful rhetoric to stir the crowd in a revolt against the conspirators with tears streaming down his cheeks. His impulsive nature serves him perfectly, allowing him to take advantage of every possible situation and twist it, allowing him to have an edge against his enemies. Antony is manipulative, loyal, hypocritical and a cunning speaker.
Antony is a cunning speaker. In order to save himself from the wraith of the conspirators, Antony quickly sends a servant which shows his sub-service, to the conspirators saying, “My master bid me kneel.” By doing this, Antony has set stage for his appearance, and enters the scene himself, shaking the hand of each and every conspirator, saying, “Let each man render me his bloody hand.” By doing this, Antony establishes intimacy between the conspirators and himself, making sure that they do not kill him. By doing this, Antony wants to find out the reason for Caesar’s death and speak at his funeral. He then says, “My credit now stands on such slippery ground, that one of two bad ways you must conceit me.” this shows that Antony removes any doubt that the conspirators might have about Antony flattering them using reverse psychology. He then makes a request to Cassius to “produce his body to the market-place” and “speak in the order of his funeral.” This shows that by using underhand methods, the cunning Antony pulled of a skillful maneuver to persuade Cassius to allow Antony to speak at Caesar’s funeral. Because of the way Antony has achieved his objective and purpose of his visit, Antony proves himself to be a cunning contriver.
Antony is manipulative. In his speech to persuade an emotional crowd to evolve into an angry, hysterical mob, Antony first established friendship and intimacy, addressing the crowd as “friends” followed by “Romans”. By doing this, Antony has gained trust from his targeted audience, rather than immediately stressing on the things he has to say. Later in his speech, the manipulative Antony takes advantage of his opportunity on the podium, this time to cast doubt on whether Caesar was really ambitious. He questions Brutus’ reasoning, saying a total of 3 times in his speech, “Yet Brutus says he was ambitious, and sure he is an honorable man.” However, he also ties in Caesar’s motives with Brutus’ honor, saying “I thrice presented him a kingly crown, which he did thrice refuse.
Was this ambition?” By doing this, Antony proves to the crowd that Caesar was not ambitious, by doing heroic things for Rome, like bringing captives back to Rome and refusing the crown. He shows that Caesar was not ambitious, and Brutus wronged him. He starts his sentences with “yet” to cast doubt on Brutus’ words. Antony connects Brutus’ honorable nature with Caesar’s ambition. By destroying Brutus’ explanation, Antony has completely marred Brutus’ character and questions his motives. To gain sympathy, Antony cries at his speech, and saying “if you have tears, prepare to shed them now”, telling the crowd exactly how to react. Finally, when the climax of his speech is over, he asks the crowd “shall I descend? Will you give me Leave?” This makes the crowd feel like they have control and power over Antony, who again, uses this opportunity to his advantage.
Antony is hypocritical. When trying to save himself from death by the conspirators, he pretends to befriend them, saying he is “friends with you all”. However, after he has completed this objective and gaining the trust of the conspirators to allow him to speak at Caesar’s funeral, he says at the forum, that he is “meek with those butchers, referring to the conspirators. He calls them “butchers” like vile, murderous and merciless people who slaughtered Caesar. After this, he indirectly implants thoughts of an uprising to the citizens, by saying that the conspirators “were traitors,” although they are “honorable men”. This shows Antony’s hypo critic side and nature, gaining the trust of the conspirators then eventually backstabbing them. Antony’s attitude towards the conspirators is nothing shy of a pretence friendship, disposing them like lighters out of fuel when not needed. This shows when he speaks badly of them at the forum and thus he is hypocritical.
So far, in this essay, Antony proves to be a cunning politician, manipulating the crowd to stage an uproar against the conspirators. He is an untrustworthy person, hiding behind a curtain of false values which he appears to have, but is actually extremely vengeful. Henceforth, I have proven that Antony is manipulative, hypocritical and a cunning speaker.