Julius Caesar Essay: Marc Antony’s Power of Persuasion
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Marc Antony's Power of Persuasion in Julius Caesar
In William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, although Marc Antony is allowed to make a speech at Caesar's funeral, he must not speak ill of either the conspirators or Caesar. Antony was infuriated with Caesar's assassination, and wants to seek revenge on his killers as well as gain power for himself in Rome's government. He must persuade the crowd that has gathered that Caesar's murder was unjust, and turn them against Brutus and Cassius. He tries to stir his listeners' anger, rousing them into action and yet say nothing bad about his enemies. Marc Antony uses several persuasive devices in his speech, which allows him to successfully convince the citizens of Rome to turn…show more content…
Because Antony cannot speak negatively about the conspirators, he uses verbal irony and repetition in his speech to say one thing, but make the audience believe the opposite. The tone of voice he uses in his speech is one indication that he does not mean what he says. When Antony calls Brutus and Cassius "honorable men," he uses a sarcastic tone to show that they were actually not very honorable. Again and again he repeats the phrase "honorable men," and each time the irony is more powerful. Antony connects the audience's new belief that Cassius and Brutus were not honorable to his message that they should not mutiny. He says, "O masters, if I were disposed to stir/Your hearts and minds to mutiny and rage,/I should do Brutus wrong and Cassius wrong,/Who (you all know) are honorable men" (III.ii.133-136). The crowd thinks that the conspirators were not honorable, therefore they believe that mutiny would be acceptable. To gain the full effect, Antony repeats that the crowd should not mutiny five times, so they lose the main point of his message, and only remember from the indignation in his voice that mutiny is a possible solution.
Antony appeals to his audience's emotions: horror, sadness and anger, to persuade them to his view. Antony enters with Caesar's body and shows his lamentation over his death, which reminds the plebeians what a horrible deed Brutus committed.
“Julius Caesar” Brutus and Mark Antony Speech ComparisonGet Your
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The speeches given by both Brutus and Mark Antony in William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Julius Caesar are very persuasive to the audience that they are given to, but rhetorical devices were used in different ways in order for each to have an effect on the people of Rome. In Brutus’s speech, he uses devices such as rhetorical question and antithesis to convince the Romans that he and the conpirators did a good deed by killing Caesar.
In Mark Antony’s speech, he sways them to believe that Caesar did not deserve to die, and that the conpirators were the real enemies by using rhetorical devices like rhetorical question and apostrophe. Both speeches were very effective in getting the point across by using all three forms of persuasive appeals: Ethos, Pathos and Logos. Brutus’s speech during Caesar’s funeral was one that would temporarily protect himself and the conspirators from the wrath of the Romans after he murdered their beloved leader.
He used rhetorical questions often throughout his speech asking questions like “Had you rather Caesar living and all die slaves, than that Caesar were dead, to live all free men? ” He also uses the rhetorical device antithesis, which is the oppostition of ideas in a balanced construction. This device is used in the line that says “Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more. ” This was effective because the use of this line makes it seem as if Brutus was so noble that he would sacrifice something he loved dearly for the sake of Rome.
Brutus’s speech was very effective in persuading the audience, because by the end every man that heard it was saying “Live! Live Brutus! ” and saying that Brutus shall become a better Caesar. Although Brutus’s speech was very influential, the speech Mark Antony gave had a quite bigger impact. Mark Antony’s speech followed Brutus’s, so Mark Antony had to seem like he was helping out Brutus’s point. He started with what seemed to be agreeing with Brutus but turned into a speech against the conpirators.
Mark Antony used rhetorical questions multiple times, just as Brutus had; but his rhetorical questions were disproving the reason for the death of Caesar. Brutus said that they had to kill Caesar because he was ambitious. Mark Antony used questions like “You all did see on the Lupercal, that I presented him thrice a kingly crown, which he did thrice refuse: Did this in Caesar seem ambitious? ” and “When the poor have wept, Caesar hath cried: Did this in Caesar seem ambitious? to imply that Caesar was not ambitious at all.
Mark Antony also uses apostrophe, or the turn from an audience to a specific person that is either absent or present, real or imaginary. It is used in the line “O judgement! Thou art fled to brutish beasts, and men have lost their reason” to emphesize that the Romans were foolish to listen to Brutus’s reasoning as to why the conspirators killed Caesar. The reaction to Mark Antony’s speech was more than that of Brutus’s.
The citizen’s began to rally together to take down the conpirators, and vowed to kill every last one of them. In The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, rhetorical devices are commonly used to persuade the audience. During the speeches many devices were effectively used to convince the Romans to choose the side of the argument being presented. Mark Antony’s speech ended up being more effective than Brutus’s due to his use of pathos throughout to help his point be made that Caesar did not deserve to die.
Author: Brandon Johnson
“Julius Caesar” Brutus and Mark Antony Speech Comparison
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