1 December 2017
Antony: The Secret Prince
Machiavelli’s The Prince is a ‘handbook’ for finding the right prince and maintaining power. In his book he states that in order to keep power you need to follow a few basic rules: you need to use power harshly over a short period of time, You need both cunning and strength to survive in the political wilderness, You owe your allegiance to the people, not to the civil servants, special interest groups, lobbyists or your friends, and Change with the times. One character that follows all these rules is Antony from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. In the novel, we have learned that Brutus and Cassius along with other conspirators, have banded up and murdered Caesar for being too ‘ambitious’. Cassius throws a funeral to answer the questions of the people and explain to make sure there is not an uprising. He sends Brutus and Antony to give the speeches and leaves. Here is where Antony rises; his impulsive, improvisatory nature serves him perfectly, first to persuade the conspirators that he is on their side, thus gaining their leniency, and then to persuade the plebeians of the conspirators’ injustice, thus gaining the masses’ political support.
In Act III scene ii of Julius Caesar Brutus and Antony take the stage in front of the people of Rome and explain what happened in their own points of view. Brutus went first and gave his reasoning stating, “Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved/ Rome more.” The people seem satisfied with his speech and begin to praise him. Brutus then welcomes Antony to give his speech and leaves the area. Giving Antony full control without any remarks of the accusers as to why they murdered Caesar. Mark Antony takes the stage and appeals to the mob by stating he is not here to praise Caesar, just to bury him. As he’s talking to the people he says, “an honorable man”(III.ii.88) when talking about Brutus about eight times. Doing this proved that Antony took both sides of the argument and plans to play the audience to his advantage. This is an example of Machiavelli’s rule ‘You need both cunning and strength to survive in the political wilderness.’, showing us a small glimpse of what Mark Antony is really capable of.
During the funeral, Antony pulls out Caesar's will. He begins by telling the people by saying Caesar has left all his wealth to them, making the mob sad and confused. Looking at the body, Antony points out the wounds that Brutus and Cassius inflicted, reminding the crowd how Caesar loved Brutus, and yet Brutus stabbed him viciously. He tells how Caesar died and blood ran down the steps of the Senate. Then he uncovers the body for all to see. The plebeians weep...