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Antony

Pandering, Contempt and the Masses

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Many of Shakespeare’s plays deal with political intrigue at court between political leaders. However, in Julius Caesar and Coriolanus, more than in other plays, the themes address the relationships between political leaders and the masses. Since both plays are set in historic Rome and not in Shakespeare’s England, they can deal with the themes of democracy and the wisdom of the populace to govern themselves through a republican form of representation.
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Political Rhetoric and the Masses

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Brutus’s tour de force of interwoven rhetorical devices in Julius Caesar (3.2.14) sways the crowd away from their anger at the assassins to cheering them. This speech, however, is outdone by Mark Antony’s masterpiece of manipulation (3.2.82), which whiplashes the crowd back to outrage and riot. But, in fact, Brutus had failed in his speech even before Mark Antony opened his mouth.
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Video: Friends, Romans, Countrymen

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Marlon Brando as Mark Antony in the 1953 film of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar directed by Joseph Mankiewicz.


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Video: Thou bleeding piece of earth

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Marlon Brando as Mark Antony in the 1953 film of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar directed by Joseph Mankiewicz.


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Let Rome in Tiber melt

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Antony
Let Rome in Tiber melt and the wide arch
Of the ranged empire fall. Here is my space.
Kingdoms are clay. Our dungy earth alike
Feeds beast as man. The nobleness of life
Is to do thus; when such a mutual pair
And such a twain can do ‘t, in which I bind,
On pain of punishment,
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Source:
Act 1
Scene 1
Line 38

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Well, what worst?

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Antony
Well, what worst?
Messenger
The nature of bad news infects the teller.
Antony
When it concerns the fool or coward. On.
Things that are past are done, with me. ‘Tis thus:
Who tells me true, though in his tale lie death,
I hear him as he flattered.
Messenger
Labienus—
This is stiff news—hath with his Parthian force
Extended Asia: from Euphrates
His conquering banner shook,
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Source:
Act 1
Scene 2
Line 101

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Fulvia thy wife is dead

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Third Messenger
Fulvia thy wife is dead.
Antony
Where died she?
Third Messenger
In Sicyon.
Her length of sickness, with what else more serious
Importeth thee to know, this bears.
He hands Antony the letter.
Antony
Forbear me.
Third Messenger exits.
There’s a great spirit gone!
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Source:
Act 1
Scene 2
Line 131

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What’s your pleasure, sir?

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Enobarbus
What’s your pleasure, sir?
Antony
I must with haste from hence.
Enobarbus
Why then we kill all our women. We see
how mortal an unkindness is to them. If they suffer
our departure, death’s the word.
Antony
I must be gone.
Enobarbus
Under a compelling occasion,
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Source:
Act 1
Scene 2
Line 146

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Why, sir, give the gods a thankful sacrifice

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Enobarbus
Why, sir, give the gods a thankful sacrifice.
When it pleaseth their deities to take the wife of a
man from him, it shows to man the tailors of the
Earth; comforting therein, that when old robes are
worn out, there are members to make new. If there
were no more women but Fulvia, then had you
indeed a cut,
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Source:
Act 1
Scene 2
Line 192

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Let me have men about me that are fat

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Caesar
Let me have men about me that are fat,
Sleek-headed men and such as sleep a-nights.
Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look,
He thinks too much; such men are dangerous.
Mark Antony
Fear him not, Caesar, he’s not dangerous,
He is a noble Roman, and well given.
Julius Caesar
Would he were fatter!
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Source:
Act 1
Scene 2
Line 202

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Now, my dearest queen

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Antony
Now, my dearest queen—
Cleopatra
Pray you stand farther from me.
Antony
What’s the matter?
Cleopatra
I know by that same eye there’s some good news.
What, says the married woman you may go?
Would she had never given you leave to come.
Let her not say ’tis I that keep you here.
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Source:
Act 1
Scene 3
Line 21

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Hear me, queen

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Antony
Hear me, queen:
The strong necessity of time commands
Our services awhile, but my full heart
Remains in use with you. Our Italy
Shines o’er with civil swords; Sextus Pompeius
Makes his approaches to the port of Rome;
Equality of two domestic powers
Breed scrupulous faction; the hated grown to strength
Are newly grown to love;
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Source:
Act 1
Scene 3
Line 52

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Noble friends, That which combined us was most great

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Lepidus, to Caesar and Antony
Noble friends,
That which combined us was most great, and let not
A leaner action rend us. What’s amiss,
May it be gently heard. When we debate
Our trivial difference loud, we do commit
Murder in healing wounds. Then, noble partners,
The rather for I earnestly beseech,
Touch you the sourest points with sweetest terms,
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Source:
Act 2
Scene 2
Line 21

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You have broken The article of your oath

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Caesar
You have broken
The article of your oath, which you shall never
Have tongue to charge me with.
Lepidus
Soft, Caesar!
Antony
No, Lepidus, let him speak.
The honor is sacred which he talks on now,
Supposing that I lacked it.—But on, Caesar:
The article of my oath?
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Source:
Act 2
Scene 2
Line 98

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