Mark Antony And Brutus Speech Analysis Essay

Brutus vs Antony Essay

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Brutus vs Antony The most predominate and important aspect In the play Julius Caesar, by William Shakespeare are the speeches given to the Roman citizens by Brutus and Antony, the two main charaters, following the death of Caesar. Brutus and Antony both spoke to the crowd,using the same rhetorical devices to express their thoughts. Both speakers used the three classical appeals employed in the speeches: ethos, which is an appeal to credibility; pathos, which is an appeal to the emotion of the audience; and logos, which is an appeal to the content and arrangement of the argument itself. Even though both speeches have the same structure Antony’s speech is significantly more effective than Brutus’s.

Both speakers used an…show more content…

Brutus used repetition the most to influence the crowd. He states about Caesar’s “tears, love, and ambition.” Brutus also asked the audience rhetorical questions that they could not answer, and he would take their silence as if they were agreeing when in reality they were probably too scared to answer. Antony also used repetition to sway the crowd. He often pointed out that “Brutus was an honorable man” and he said it with more and more sarcasm each time. Antony also took advantage of the crowd and used reverse psychology on them. He used Caesar’s will as a tool to accomplish this. He told the crowd about Caesar’s will, telling them that they would think twice if they heard what was in the will, but he doesn’t read it to them. That made them beg for him to read it to them. Not only does this get them to do what he wants, it also give the crowd a false sense of authority over Antony. Also, he asks the crowd if he can come down and join them, saying they give him permission, again giving them that sense of authority. Antony, in addition to the will, used Caesar’s body as a prop in his speech. He created a sympathetic attitude towards Caesar. The other pathos appeal Antony used was the contrast that he showed between the beginning and end of his speech. He opened, saying he was only to “bury Caesar, not to praise him” yet towards the end he had accomplished his goal in making the crowd feel sorry for Caesar and wanting to

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Analysis of the Funeral Speeches of Brutus and Marc Antony from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar

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Analysis of the Funeral Speeches of Brutus and Marc Antony from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar


At the funeral of Julius Caesar two characters make speeches to the
plebeian mob, Brutus and Marc Antony. Shakespeare shows us the
personalities of the two orators and gives one an advantage over the
other. Marc Antony has an advantage over Brutus because he speaks
after Brutus and he has Caesar’s body. He also interrupts Brutus’
speech. He uses a range of rhetorical devices to manipulate the crowd.
Both characters make very powerful speeches that will eventually
determine who rules Rome.

Both characters begin their speeches with a list of three. This
rhetorical device creates a powerful and intense atmosphere:

“Romans, countrymen, and lovers” – Brutus

“Friends, Romans, countrymen” – Marc Antony

Brutus puts “Romans” and “countrymen” at the start of his list of
three. This shows us that Brutus’ number one priority is Rome and his
country, and not the people. It shows us that he is honourable and
patriotic. Whereas, Marc Antony starts his list of three with
“Friends”. This is bringing himself down to the plebeian level and he
makes the crowd feel as though he is their friend even though they are
separated by status and rank. This language technique is commonly know
as phatic language. It is very appealing for the plebeians to hear
this.

Not only does Marc Antony make the plebeians feel good about
themselves by pretending to be there friend, but he also complements
them:

“You are not wood, you are not stones, but men.”

This quotation is also foreshadowing what the senators said at the
beginning of the play. The senators insult the plebeians by saying
“You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things!” Marc
Antony later compliments the plebeians by saying that they are the
opposite of this. Marc Antony’s compliment is very powerful and it
makes the plebeians feel useful.

Brutus uses the imperative in his speech. This makes him feel superior
and in control of the crowd:

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“Be silent” “Have respect to mine honour”

Brutus is naturally superior to the crowd and gives orders to the
plebeians. The crowd will not like this and will probably retaliate
against Brutus later on. This is Shakespeare helping to foreshadow the
retaliation. However, Marc Antony appears to be humble in his speech.
He talks to the crowd emotionally and immediately lowers himself to
their level.

Brutus uses rhetorical questions as a persuasive technique. It creates
an intense atmosphere amongst the crowd:

“Had you rather Caesar were living, and die all slaves, than that
Caesar were dead, to live all freemen?”

This rhetorical question makes the crowd think about the question
Brutus asks them. It shows the crowd two different possibilities and
is persuading them to agree with the death of Caesar. Brutus is
rationalising with the crowd.

However, Brutus overestimates the intelligence of the plebeian mob. He
speaks to them in the wrong tone and uses language that makes him look
superior. His biggest error is that the crowd cannot follow his logic
they need emotive reasons. The mob might even be insulted by Brutus’
naturally condescending tone:

“Censure me in your wisdom” “that you may be the better judge”

The irony is that the plebeians have no wisdom to censure Brutus with,
but Brutus believes they do. Brutus also believes that the crowd will
make the best decisions on the death. But later on we find the crowd
making wrong decisions and basing them on the money given to them in
Caesar’s will.

We can see in Marc Antony’s speech that he has used symbolism, the
plebeians even say things that may be interpreted as symbolic:

“His eyes are as red as fire with weeping.” “hearth”

The colour red is often associated with anger, blood and love. This is
very symbolic. It shows us that Marc Antony is angry with Brutus
because he loved Julius Caesar. “Fire” is often associated with the
same things as the colour “red”. We think of rage, anger and power
when we hear the word fire. The “hearth” is also very symbolic. It can
be associated with things like love, patriotism and innocence. This
symbolism is helping Marc Antony connect with the crowd on a more
emotional level.

In Marc Antony’s speech he uses repetition to make a sarcastic
refrain:

“…and sure he is an honourable man…” “…than I will wrong honourable
men”

He uses the phrase “honourable man” or “honourable men” so many times
in his speech that it becomes sarcastic. The sarcastic catch phrase
helps Marc Antony turn the plebeian mob against Brutus and the
conspirers. It makes the mob wonder whether the conspirers really are
“honourable men”.

Antony’s use of a metonym gains him the public sympathy and gets him
emotionally closer to the crowd:

“My hearth is in the coffin with Caesar”

Marc Antony uses the metonym of the “heart” to show his emotions to
the mob. It is as if he is saying he has died along with Caesar. Here
he gains much sympathy from the mob.

In conclusion, the two funeral speeches of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar
are very persuasive. However, Marc Antony wins the crowds support by
speaking to them in the correct tone. He lowers himself to the
plebeian level and uses a range of rhetorical devices to support his
arguments against the conspirers. He has an advantage over Brutus
before he even speaks. He has the body of Caesar and speaks last.
Brutus however is very disadvantaged. His speech is interrupted by the
entering body of Caesar and he does not confront the mob in the
correct tone. So, even though both speeches are very powerful and
persuasive Julius Caesar ends up as a tragedy because the man that is
honourable and humble becomes the one the crowd turn against.



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