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Comare and contrast the ways Brutus and Mark Antony use rhetoric to persuade the fickle plebeians of Rome

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Introduction

´╗┐Ben Lander Compare the ways in which Brutus and Mark Antony make use of rhetoric to persuade the fickle masses Brutus and Mark Antony exemplify the use of in their manipulation of the fickle masses in Julius Caesar. After comparing and contrasting the way in which each speech causes the people of Rome to react, we can see that Mark Antony achieves the desired effect through his rhetoric, whereas Brutus is not able to manipulate the people. This is due to a number of factors, such as the fact that Brutus is noble man influenced by a malcontent in Cassius, leaving him out of touch with the people, whereas Antony, a physical specimen of masculinity and a great ally of Caesar, possesses the emotion to turn the people. Although Mark Antony?s use of rhetoric is more effective than that of Brutus, both men are able to influence the fickle masses. ...read more.

Middle

Rhetorical questioning is another device used my Antony and Brutus as an attempt to sway the fickle masses. Both men do this so that the plebeians will become unsure of their allegiance; to the conspirators or Caesar and Antony? Brutus asks, ?had you rather Caesar was living, and die all slaves, than to live all free men?? This is rhetorical as he is making the assumption for the crowd that if Caesar still ruled the people would become his slaves. Antony uses rhetorical device to de-validate the point being made in Brutus?s argument. He states ?For I did present him the kingly crown thrice, for which he did thrice refuse? He uses rhetorical device when he asks to the crowd ?was this ambition?? Firstly there is an obvious answer to the question, as an ambitious man would take any power offered. ...read more.

Conclusion

Brutus, however, once again appeals to the nationalistic side of the people. He states that he ?slew my best lover for the sake of Rome.? As an attempt to gain hero?s status from the crowd, proving that he would sacrifice anything in order to save his country. While Mark Antony?s use of pathos creates more emotion amongst the fickle masses, both men create enough pathos so as to endear themselves to the people. Shakespeare makes many connections between performance and politics in Julius Caesar. As all plebeians were uneducated, their political opinions had much to do with the emotion that they felt when being spoken to by the more educated people of Rome. Thus, both men were required to use the techniques described above as an attempt to connect with the fickle masses on a personal level, making these uses of rhetoric as much about performance and putting on a show than political strategy, as is still the case in some countries around the globe in these modern times. ...read more.

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