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How Effective Are Brutus And Antony In Gaining The Support Of The Roman Citizens After Caesar's Assassination?

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Introduction

How Effective Are Brutus And Antony In Gaining The Support Of The Roman Citizens After Caesar's Assassination? Marcus Brutus is Caesar's best and most loyal friend. He joins the conspiracy to assassinate Caesar, after, Cassius, convinces him that the people of Rome do not like Caesar. Brutus' love for Rome is greater than his love for his friend; this therefore results in his turning against Caesar. Brutus is an idealist, and believes that other men have the same high principles as himself. He is the last one to stab Caesar. Caesar loved him dearly, but Brutus killed him not only physically but mentally: "Et tu, Brute? then fall Caesar" If his good friend Brutus, wanted to kill him then life was not worth living for Caesar. Both Brutus and Antony are good friends of Caesar, but unlike Brutus, Antony puts his friendship first. When he sees the dead Caesar on the ground, he asks for the conspirators to take his life also: "nor no instrument of half that worth as those your swords, made rich." Antony loved Caesar with all his heart. Brutus then takes control and gives his reasons for the assassination. That the Republicans, are appalled that Caesar has become so powerful. Brutus is very concerned for the good of Rome. Shakespeare's audience would have been very interested in this theme as they reflected on the successor of their very forceful ruler, Queen Elizabeth I. ...read more.

Middle

There is a dramatic effect when Antony enters carrying Caesar's body. With this Brutus is quick to tell the crowd. Antony had nothing to do with murder: "here comes the body, Mourned by Mark Antony; who, through had no hand in his death, Shall receive benefit" Also Brutus adds Antony will benefit from Caesar's death and offers his own life of Romans request this, all of which is very persuasive. After this the citizens cry: "Live, Brutus! Live! Live!" This shows the crowd are easily won over. With this Brutus requests the crowd pay their respects to Caesar by listening to Mark Antony which turns out to be a serious mistake! As Brutus stood away from the crowd Antony stands amongst them. He speaks in blank verse appealing to emotion, rather than reason, which contrasts to Brutus' speech. Antony opens on a more informal note than Brutus: "Friends, Romans, Countrymen." From the outset, he has a greater affinity with the crowd. With Brutus repetition is used for reinforcement of the word honourable. Antony does not want to offend the crowd as they all like Brutus and so he praises him. True Romans had to have good reasons for their actions, so they would be respected. Brutus is very idealistic and must follow what he believes is a noble cause, yet his honourable decisions and actions bring disaster for himself and others. ...read more.

Conclusion

Brutus tried to give reasons in his speech; Antony uses more influential methods! When he eventually reads the will, the citizens are told they each have seventy five Drachmas and Caesar's' gardens to sit and walk through. With this, the citizens become angry and leave to go and burn Brutus' house down! This also highlights their lack of intelligence and fickle nature. Antony and Brutus are both opposed to what they regard as tyranny, each believing in the good of Rome and each resenting the abuse of power. Each is keen to gain support of the crowd, following Caesar's death, and each employs different techniques, as we have seen. There is a clear parallel with modern day politics! In Shakespeare's dramatic version of events, we witness the extent to which Brutus, the lofty, noble idealist, believes reasons will satisfy a crowd; he clearly underestimates the power and eloquence of shrewd Antony's funeral oration. Antony's exploitation of public emotion inevitably makes him the more successful of the two in gaining control. Just as Antony would have been aware of the impact of Caesar's bloody wounds on the Roman citizens, so Shakespeare would have been aware of the dramatic impact on Elizabethan who relished blood sports. While the play in general reflects past historical events, Shakespeare's purpose as a dramatist in these scenes is to make a modern day audience identify with, and be entertained by, the actions and speeches of public figures embroiled in political debate. ...read more.

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