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The Tragedy of By William Shakespeare Essential question: Can a man retain his honor while seeking revenge? Does Mark Antony prove honorable in his quest for revenge against Caesar’s assassins? Are his actions selfish or altruistic? Is he a man of his word? Is his rage justified? Is he fair to his adherents? Does he accept responsibility for his actions? By the end of the play, does he appear to be better or worse because of his decisions? Selfish or Altruistic? Mark Antony is Mark Antony fears the careful to save his own rule of Brutus and Cassius life in pledging his will be unjust, especially love and friendship to because they have already Cassius and the other proven that they are conspirators deceitful. Therefore, he immediately after the plans a deception of his murder of Caesar. own to overthrow their power. In scene ii of Act (Act III, Scene i, lines III, Antony cleverly 218-222) convinces the mob to rebel. A Man of His Word He promises Brutus that he will speak from the pulpit only that which is “as becomes a friend,” leading Brutus to believe that he will cause no trouble against the conspirators. (Act III, scene i, lines 227-230) He prophesies over Caesar’s corpse that there will be civil strife and havoc, and the murder of Cinna the poet proves him to be right. (Act III, scene iii) He promises to avenge Caesar’s death, and by the end of the play all the main conspirators are dead. Justifiable Rage? The man he most admired had just been brutally murdered. (Act III, scene i) He knew Cassius acted out of jealousy. He knew Cassius had deceived Brutus into joining this insidious plot against his friend. Adherents Treated Fairly? Antony fails to acknowledge Lepidus’ worth in the triumvirate. (Act IV, scene ii) Antony knowingly takes advantage of the plebeians’ gullible nature. (Act IV, scene ii) Does Mark Antony accept responsibility for his own actions, or is he like Pilot, trying to wash the blood from his hands? He accepts responsibility in that he too fights boldly in the struggle against tyranny. Does Antony appear better or worse by the end of the play? By the end of the play, things are looking up for Antony. He wins the battle;yet he recognizes the good in Brutus, say- ing, “He, only in a general honest thought and common good to all….” (Act V) The verdict is in… Though Antony obviously disrespects Lepidus, he still proves to be honorable in all other deeds. He makes good on all his promises in avenging the death of his friend and restoring order Rome.
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