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Analyse the rhetoric used by Brutus and Antony in their speeches (III, II). Consider the effect of their rhetoric on the mob and how it affects their own characters.

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Introduction

Analyse the rhetoric used by Brutus and Antony in their speeches (III, II). Consider the effect of their rhetoric on the mob and how it affects their own characters. Julius Caesar has just been assassinated by a group of conspirators led by Brutus. Cassius wants to kill Mark Antony too "Let Antony and Caesar fall together."(II, I, 161). Brutus is politically na�ve, unlike Cassius and Antony, so he turns down Cassius's advice, "Our course will seem too bloody."(II, I, 162). He ignores Cassius's advice not to let Antony speak. Brutus wants to persuade the crowd that Caesar had to die because his ambition would make him a tyrant and he would have brought suffering to them all. Antony has a harder task; he has to persuade the mob first, that he is on their side, then to persuade them of the conspirator's injustice, gaining their political support. They both use the power of rhetoric and oratory to achieve this. The mob can be easily manipulated by skilful oratory and mass hysteria. Stirring emotion, altering opinion, and inducing action in the process. Rhetoric is defined as the whole art of using language so as to persuade others. Brutus speaks to the people in prose rather than in verse, presumably trying to make his speech seem plain, and to keep himself on the same level as the crowd. ...read more.

Middle

Antony says that he has come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. Which is a lie, but it gains the crowds interest. He repeats again and again that Brutus and the conspirators are honourable men, (which makes clumsy sentences, unlike Brutus's beautifully patterned speech.) "Brutus says he was ambitious, And Brutus is an honourable man." (III, II, 95). Each time Antony declares how 'honourable' a man Brutus is, the phrase gets an increasingly sarcastic tone, until, by the end of the speech, its meaning has been completely inverted. The speech draws much of its power from repetition. Each time Antony reminds them of Brutus' claim that Caesar was 'ambitious'; the claim loses force and credibility. He challenges Brutus's idea of ambition by reminding the crowd of the wealth that Caesar brought to Rome, Caesar's sympathy for the poor, and his refusal to take the throne when offered it, details seeming to disprove any charges of ambition. "I thrice presented him a kingly crown, Which he did thrice refuse: was this ambition?"(III, II, 98) Which is an excellent example, because the crowd were there, and saw it with their own eyes. Pausing to weep openly before the mob, he makes them feel pity for him and for his case. It also allows them to talk between themselves. "My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar, And I must pause till it come back to me."(III, II, 108). ...read more.

Conclusion

(III, II, 243). Antony predicts and utilizes the people's sense of injustice at being stripped of so generous a ruler. The people completely forget their former sympathy for Brutus and rise up against the conspirators, leaving Antony to marvel at the force of what he has done. Brutus and the conspirators are no longer noble, "They were traitors."(III, II, 155). Antony has become noble, "most noble Antony" (III, II, 167). Caesar has regained the respect he lost through Brutus, "Oh noble Caesar." (III, II, 200). Antony proves strong in all of the ways that Brutus proves weak. His impulsive, improvisatory nature serves him perfectly, first to persuade the conspirators that he is on their side, gaining their trust, and then to persuade the mob of the conspirators' injustice, gaining the masses' political support. Not too scrupulous to stoop to deceit and duplicity, as Brutus claims to be, Antony proves himself a great politician, using gestures and skilled rhetoric to his advantage. He responds to subtle cues among both his nemeses and his allies to know exactly how he must conduct himself at each particular moment in order to gain the most advantage. A good speech must not be too short and full of rhetoric devices. The speaker must be passionate, and fill the audience with emotion. This is what Antony does. Brutus' speech is too short and is left for the audience to decide. They must be told, for the more people there are, the more stupid they become. Keeley Webb ...read more.

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