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Essay On Julius Caesar: Who Is Better, Antony Or Brutus? - With A Free Essay Review
What makes a better man? One might consider being noble, being honorable or even being an excellent politician quality of a man above the rest. In the play Julius Caesar, Marc Antony is a better man than Brutus; this is because he is a better general, a more intelligent politician and a more loyal man.
First of all, Marc Antony is a better general. He won the battle at Philippi and defeated the conspirators in act five scene five. During the battle Marc Antony managed to stay calm and collected. Furthermore, he works well while in a triumvir, this means he is open minded and works well with others. These examples prove that in a difficult situation Marc Antony will concur most anything and lead his men to victory.
Secondly, Marc Antony is a more intelligent politician. This is because he knows ways to persuade the audience that he is correct. We see this most when he convinced the plebeians that the murder of Julius Caesar was corrupt and that the conspirators were wrong for their actions, seen in act three scene three. In the play Julius Caesar, Marc Antony always knows the right thing to say, this is shown when he commands the men to treat the servant of Brutus with respect, showing the audience of the play and the other characters that he is a loyal man. This is why Marc Antony is more intelligent politician then Brutus.
The last trait that proves that Marc Antony is a better man than Brutus is that he is a more loyal man. Marc Antony always helped and supported his good friend Julius Caesar even when everyone turned on him; he stayed loyal to Caesar even though the bad qualities outweighed the good. Marc Antony’s loyalty to Julius Caesar lasted until the very end up of the play when he won the war of Philippi against the conspirators, avenging Caesar. Marc Antony was also a loyal man to Lepidus even after Octavius showed a disliking towards him. This proves that Marc Antony was a more loyal man then Brutus.
In the play Julius Caesar Marc Antony is a better man than Brutus because he is a better general, a more intelligent politician and a more loyal man. This is shown through the actions he makes during the play, and also the actions he did not take during the play. Along the play we see the character of Marc Antony prospering and by the end of the play we see that he has become a great man, some might argue a better man then Brutus.
The great thing about this essay is that it actually makes an argument; too many essays do not. The essay as it stands right now, however, should be considered like a quick pencil sketch that an artist makes in preparation for a grand oil painting. So what do you need to do to complete the picture?
1. Quote and analyse relevant passages from the text
2. Actually compare Antony's words and actions with those of Brutus
3. Anticipate and deflect possible objections: acknowledge the negative aspects of Antony; acknowledge the positive aspects of Brutus.
Doing those four things would be a great place to start. I think the basic thing you should keep in mind is that Shakespeare's characters tend to be very complicated beings. Their motivations are complex, their words and action ambiguous. So if you find yourself writing an essay about a Shakespeare play that doesn't include a lot of hemming and hawing, then you’re probably missing something. For instance, Antony's speech to the mob in the course of his funeral speech is rhetorically brilliant, but also obviously crude, manipulative, one-sided, dishonest, and condescending. He seems at once an unpleasant if massively persuasive figure, but as you will have seen from his earlier soliloquy, he is genuinely moved by Caesar's death, convinced by Caesar's greatness, and resolute in his determination to avenge Caesar. His speech is brilliant and disgusting and inspiring all at the same time. Whether it is justified under the circumstances is of course a different matter and your answer to that may depend a little on whether you think that, in the play, the conspirators are ultimately traitors or freedom fighters, and whether you think Caesar is a traitor bent on the destruction of the Republic or a hero.
Now you have decided that Antony is a better man than Brutus because he is, for instance, more loyal. That's a reasonable judgement only as a specific judgment of their relative loyalty to Caesar. Antony is obviously more loyal to Caesar than is Brutus, even though Brutus and Caesar had been great friends. But Brutus is not disloyal in general; he is disloyal specifically to Caesar, and that disloyalty is of course rooted in what he considers a higher loyalty. He sacrifices one duty (loyalty to Caesar) for another (loyalty to Rome). The judgement of who is the better man, then, cannot be decided on the basis of who is more loyal to Caesar, but perhaps it can be decided on the basis of who embodies the highest loyalty. But again one's decision about that might depend much on one's decision about Caesar. Unfortunately, Caesar, a man who suffers from the falling sickness and calls himself as constant as the northern star, is himself a very ambiguous figure, a man of heroic, nearly godlike stature and, at the same time, apparently very much human, frail, uncertain; a man who has fought great victories in the name of Rome, but who also represents the single greatest threat to Rome as a republic. The situation is complicated further by the fact that most of what he hear about Caesar is reported by men with complex motivations for saying what they say. The soliloquies of Brutus, as he convinces himself to join the conspiracy, and Antony, just after the death of Caesar (the brilliant "O pardon me thou bleeding piece of earth" soliloquy), might be the best places to go to get slightly more reliable views of Caesar.
Remember also that Caesar was Brutus’s friend. The act of killing Caesar was, for him, a sacrifice, in that he offers up his friend in the way one might sacrifice one’s favorite lamb, or the way Abraham intended to sacrifice his son. Before the assassination, Brutus says, “Let us be sacrificers, but not butchers, Caius.” But Shakespeare will not let the audience rest content with such a view of things. Brutus, for instance, wants the conspirators to wash their hands in the blood of the slain Caesar as though the assassination were a sacred act that sanctified Caesar’s blood. But if you don’t buy the sacred elements, you just end up with men with blood on their hands, men who Antony, once he is alone, refers to specifically as “butchers.” The image of the blood-drenched conspirators becomes the central image for understanding the conflict between idealism and reality, between religious sacrifice and brutal murder. Is the killing of Caesar a sacred event or just butchery? If you find the answer to that question coming to you too quickly, consider how the question might have appeared to Shakespeare or his contemporaries, to those who bothered to think through the implications of the intended "sacrifice" of Isaac in Hebrew scripture, perhaps to the Romans who were well used to the concept of sacrifice. Shakespeare, in my view, is a proto-enlightenment poet, and so he emphasizes that blood is just blood, not something sacred. But that doesn't mean that Brutus was wrong to kill Caesar necessarily; and it doesn't mean necessarily that his willingness to sacrifice his friend is a mark of baseness rather than greatness.
Okay, I’ve been rambling on too much here, but the point I most want to stress is that the play is complex, its characters are complex, and your essay needs to acknowledge that complexity. The place to start though, again, is by quoting and analysing specific passages. Perhaps the most important speech to look at, since you’re talking about who is the better man, is Antony's final words, the penultimate speech of the play:
This was the noblest Roman of them all.
All the conspirators save only he
Did that they did in envy of great Caesar.
He only in a general honest thought
And common good to all, made one of them.
His life was gentle, and the elements
So mixed in him that Nature might stand up
And say to all the world, “This was a man.”
I don't want to tell you what to think about these lines, but perhaps I won't lead you astray by pointing out that "all,” in the first line, is possibly ambiguous, although its first meaning is obviously, as the next line points out, "all the conspirators." I think it is reasonable also to point out that a speech like this is intended to communicate something not only about Brutus, or even just about what Antony thinks of Brutus, but something about Antony himself; and the fact that even Antony thinks so highly of Brutus (now that he's dead!) doesn't necessarily defeat your claim that Antony was the "better man." You might wonder though whether the last four words, which seem to mean something absolute and profound (though what exactly they mean is hard to tell), leave room for the business of comparing who's the better "man."