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Compare Shakespeare's presentation of the characters Brutus and Mark Antony. Julius Caesar was written in 1599, a time in which the monarchy was in power in Britain

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Introduction

Compare Shakespeare's presentation of the characters Brutus and Mark Antony. Julius Caesar was written in 1599, a time in which the monarchy was in power in Britain. Shakespeare would have to be very careful what to put in his plays; he had to stay in favour of the royalty. If for example, Brutus was portrayed as the overall hero for procuring the safety of Rome through the assassination of someone who was going to rule Rome as a monarchist, Shakespeare would have been in trouble. Therefore, he had to ensure that this assassination was seen as unnatural, something that unsettled the natural order of things. For this reason, he made the night before the assassinations one of strangeness and peculiarity: " Men, all in fire, walk up and down the streets. And yesterday the bird o night did sit Even at noon-day upon the market place, Hooting and shrieking when these prodigies Do so conjointly meet let not men say 'These are their reasons, they are natural' For I believe they are portentous things Unto the climate that they point upon." -Casca Shakespeare had also intended his portrayal of leadership to capture the audiences attention as England herself was having leadership issues at that period of time. Queen Elizabeth was old and she didn't have an heir. He links this in a way as the Julius Caesar depicted in the play also doesn't have an heir. His wife was shown as having conceivement problems. ...read more.

Middle

Again using the example of Act 3, Scene 1, Mark Antony appeals directly to Brutus for permission to speak at Caesar's funeral by directing Brutus' attention to providing reasons for Caesar's death, to which he knows full well that Brutus will be the one who answers. Mark Antony does this as he is able to see that out of them all, Brutus' naivet� and unconsciousness of underlying political meanings would be an trait to play on. He sees that Cassius would see through his ploy but Brutus wouldn't. Brutus wanted Caesar to have "all true rites and lawful ceremonies." Comparing the inner selves of the two men through looking at the ways they treat people, Brutus is kind and caring, while Antony, cruel and manipulative. Examples depicting this would be Brutus asking his servants and guards to rest in his personal quarters ("call Claudio ad some other of my men, I'll have them sleep on the cushions of my tent"), - Brutus and Antony purely and simply using Lepidus as someone to do his dirty work- ( [My horse] is a creature that I teach to fight, To wind, to stop, to run directly on, His corporal motion governed by my spirit; And in some taste is Lepidus but so.) -Mark Anthony A direct contrast of Brutus and Mark Antony can be made as Brutus refuses to kill Mark Antony along with Julius Caesar even as Cassius almost predicts the future by saying that Antony is a "shrewd contriver". ...read more.

Conclusion

We can be certain that Brutus did love Caesar; but as for Antony, it can be said that he did indeed like Caesar. We can't however, be sure about his intentions where Caesar was concerned when he was alive. If the presentations of the characters are taken at face value, Mark Antony can be seen as the 'villain' and Brutus, the 'tragic hero'. However, one of Shakespeare's themes is the relativity of goodness. Brutus assassinated Caesar allegedly for the 'good of Rome'. And Brutus himself did believe in this a 100%. But nevertheless, this was betrayal. Caesar fell at his stab with the words: "Et tu Brute?- Then fall Caesar!". Caesar said it perfectly. A friend whom he had trusted, completely and totally, was stabbing him. And this is perhaps, the most tragic thing of all. Mark Antony apparent stance is perfectly paraphrased by E.M Forster: "If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country." But, this view seems rather selfish. To be loyal to one friend, causing the downfall of the entire country seems to be almost securing your own future by compensating it with others. And yet, admiration can't be not shown as Mark's Antony unwavering loyalty to Caesar is portrayed. Then again, admiration can't not be shown as Brutus places nation before self. Both stances require equal amounts of courage. Courage to betray your friend, and courage again, to betray your country. ...read more.

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