Comparative Analysis Of Brutus And Marc Antony Essay Sample

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Caesar, Actions, Shakespeare, Love, Ethics, Honor, Rome, Death

Pages: 2

Words: 550

Published: 2020/11/22

The characters of Brutus and Marc Antony in Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” are similar in that they have the interest of the Roman people at heart. Both characters differ in their actions, but they also respect Caesar as a warrior and a leader. Brutus tries to justify his actions as honorable as he revels in his honor. He attempts to justify the murder in his mind even before he commits the murder. He knows that he cannot prove Caesar’s tyrannical nature, but he believes that his reputation will influence the way the Romans see his murderous actions. Shakespeare presents patriotism through these characters even as he shows the impact that patriotism has on the actions of individuals. Brutus’ weakness stems from his love for Rome, while Antony finds strength in his love for Rome.
The roles of Brutus and Antony reflect a “close examination of their rhetorical techniques, especially in the successive funeral orations they give following Caesar's assassination,” (Wills, p. 186). Brutus, on the one hand, has one fault. He is overly proud of the honor he displays in his actions in every situation he faces. He joins the conspirators because he believes that he acts in the best interest of the Roman people. He has moral values that allow him to convince the other conspirators not to kill Marc Antony as such actions reflect the actions of heartless murderers. In fact, Brutus believes that the deaths of Antony and Caesar display the butchering of the characters and would lead the Romans to view them as murderers.
Antony, on the other hand has no scruples about murdering anyone who opposes his decisions. In many ways Antony is the contrasting character to Brutus. He displays a cunning nature that masks his real intentions. Antony loves Caesar and realizes that he must side with the conspirators in order exact revenge for Caesar’s death. Antony proves himself as a headstrong character as he opposes Octavius’s decisions on the battlefield. He makes his choices based on his personal convictions and shows no remorse for those who are weaker. Antony quickly criticizes Lepidus and calls him a valiant and tired soldier, because he believes in the strength of males.
While Brutus displays honor in his actions, his weakness lies in his strength. He speaks first at Caesar’s funeral and extends a hand of friendship to Antony to speak. He asserts himself as a strong leader as he speaks to Antony about his expectations at Caesar’s funeral. Brutus believes in his ability as a leader and says to Antony: “You shall not in your funeral speech blame us,” (JC, Act III, Scene I). But, Antony’s deception goes beyond Brutus simple and trusting mind. Arguably, Antony proves his deception as he turns the crowd against Brutus and wins the crowds approval for Caesar’s successors.
Shakespeare presents Brutus and Antony as noblemen whose loyalties shape their actions. Brutus’ love for Caesar is secondary to his love for Rome and there he has a serious choice to make. Antony on the other hand does not fact the challenge of choosing between this love for country and love for friend. Before Caesar dies, the readers see the good side of the two characters and believe in their honorable spirits. But the tragic death of Caesar reveals the true personalities of these men. Brutus’s inner conflict surfaces because he knows he has “no personal cause to spurn at,” (JC, Act II, Scene I) Caesar. Yet, he believes that Caesar “would be crown’d,” and this “might change his nature,” (JC, Act II, Scene I).
The reader sees the relationship between Brutus and Caesar manifest and the reader can easily discredit Brutus’ honor as a man. But, the reader hardly sees Antony’s relationship with Caesar in the play. Still, Shakespeare hints at this relationship in the way Antony when Caesar confide in Antony. One questions the actions of these characters readily as the love for Caesar should prevent the death of Caesar. Conversely, one sees that the influence of the conspirators had an impact on the actions of Brutus, but honor should prevail and Brutus’ good conscience should force him to dispel the ideas that the conspirators brought to his attention.
In concluding, Brutus shows honorable actions as he attempts to justify his murderous actions at every turn. Antony, on the other hand shows no remorse for his actions as he does not allow others to influence his decisions or actions. He knows he must avenge the death of his friend and he makes no exemption to his plans. Nonetheless, Brutus knows that his role in the conspiracy leaves the audience questioning his honor, therefore the readers sees Brutus’ conscience disturbing his daily actions.

Works Cited

Shakespeare, W. The Life and Death of Julius Caesar Viewed at Accessed February 21, 2015
Wills, Garry, Rome and Rhetoric: Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. Anthony Hecht Lectures in the
Humanities. Reviewed by Peter C. Meilaender, Houghton College
( New Haven; London:  Yale University Press, 2011.
pp. 186.  ISBN 9780300152180

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