1 October, 2014
An Analysis of Antony's Soliloquy in Julius Caesar
Antony's soliloquy shows a prediction of a destructive civil war, which will be provoked by Caesar's assassination, by using dark imagery, defencelessness symbolism along with menial paradoxes and a superstitious oxymoron. This commentary will examine the use of these literary devices to support Antony's presumption of a civil conflict.
In Antony's soliloquy, dark images of violence and resurrection are used to foreshadow a civil war. Antony appeals to the shocking violence of way by comparing it to mothers being pleasured by their childrens' deaths during the civil war. He states that "mothers shall but smile when they behold/Their infants quartered with the hands of war." (267 - 68) By using this image of mothers rejoicing in their childrens' death, Antony establishes that morality is altered. In the event of war, Roman mothers deviate from typical maternal traditions and forcefully sacrifice their children to contribute to war and the betterment of Rome.
This alteration puts the Romans in a state of immorality which will lead them to irrational behaviour and a civil war. Antony also depicts a violent image of an extensive conflict that "Shall cumber all parts of Italy./Blood and destruction shall be so in use" (263 - 65) This image of a chaotic bloodbath reflects the immensely destructive nature of the civil war. Antony also uses resurrection imagery by visually describing the civil war's brutal nature beckoning corpses to reanimate and plead to be buried at the sight of the chaos. "That this foul deed shall smell above the earth/With carrion men groaning for burial." (274 - 75) The image of corpse recreating and begging for re - burial establishes that resurrected individuals will rather die than to live a second life...