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By comparing and contrasting the dramatic presentation of Act 3 Scene 2 in the 1953 film version with Shakespeare's text, consider the different ways Brutus and Antony seek to control the crowd

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Introduction

By comparing and contrasting the dramatic presentation of Act 3 Scene 2 in the 1953 film version with Shakespeare's text, consider the different ways Brutus and Antony seek to control the crowd: Julius Caesar was written in 1599 by William Shakespeare (1564-1616). The play is both a history and tragedy. It was based on Sir Thomas North's translation of Plutarch's lives. Julius Caesar has the tell-tale features of a history and tragedy, such as it being very much based on one leader figure (Julius Caesar) and having rousing speeches, similar to Shakespeare's 'Henry V' (St. Crsipin's Day speech). It also includes a battle, although everything is 'restored' at the end, similar to 'Macbeth'. Brutus and Antony's speeches are a key element in Julius Caesar. They are rousing speeches, as mentioned earlier - and very well written. The techniques used by both characters are distinctly different; they employ a variety of tactics, which can be interpreted in various ways. Within this essay, I will be analysing the 1953 film version of the play, directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. Brutus and Antony are both seeking to control the citizens of Rome. Brutus needs the crowd to support him and believe he killed Julius Caesar for 'the good of Rome', otherwise there would be chaos and the citizens would revenge the conspirators. Antony wants the crowd to support him because he was a faithful friend of Caesar's and decides to avenge him by stirring the crowd into a mutiny against Brutus and the conspirators. In the confusion of the aftermath of Caesar's death, it is decided that Marcus Brutus will speak at his funeral; the main reason being his reputation as an honourable and noble senator. This was also the reason he was led to be a conspirator in the first place. He was needed in the murder plot from the beginning on account of his nobility. ...read more.

Middle

As Antony aims to build up the crowd's trust gradually, his first point is to make clear he comes to 'bury Caesar, not to praise him' (L.71). The word 'bury' makes it sound as though he wants nothing more than a dignified funeral for Caesar. He makes no implications that he wants to do anything else at this point. The first time Antony compliments Brutus as 'noble' (L.74) he sounds sincere, but he also manages to unsettle Brutus' firm accusations of Caesar being ambitious by saying 'if it were so' (L.76) The 'if' implies that Brutus could be wrong in calling Caesar ambitious. By repeating 'grievous', Antony strikes a balance between Caesar's crime of being ambitious, and the price with which he 'answered it' (L.77) i.e. death. Therefore he is neither for nor against what Brutus has said at this point; he is merely stating fact. Which will help to gain the crowd's trust. Marlon Brando uses the 'hand over heart' gesture in the film when he mentions Caesar was 'ambitious' so it seems he is showing that he doesn't agree with this claim at all. Antony flatters Brutus and the conspirators by calling them 'honourable' (L.79) By using repetition of 'all', he makes what he is saying sound earnest and genuine. Just the fact that he repeats it so many times makes it sound sarcastic, yet technically Brutus hasn't said anything against the conspirators. This is a clever tactic, as the repetition makes it clear that the conspirators were not honourable at all. Just this one word is enough to mock Brutus, although Antony claims he speaks not to 'disprove what Brutus spoke' (L.97) Obviously this is ironic, as this is exactly what he is doing! Unlike Brutus, who made outright claims against Caesar, Antony uses examples as evidence, which cannot be argued against, especially as they are things the crowd has witnessed, 'thrice presented him a kingly crown' (L.93) ...read more.

Conclusion

Whether or not there really were seventy-five drachmas for each person we don't know. Brutus didn't have anything to use, such as the body or the will. He could only talk about Caesar's death and his own reputation of being 'honourable'. I also noticed that Brutus didn't use any personal touches in his speech, so the crowd probably didn't have anything to relate to. Ironically, he called them his 'friends' but he didn't really speak with the crowd on a personal level, as Antony did. Neither did he insult or belittle Antony at all; he only encouraged the crowd to listen to him. He obviously didn't know what Antony was going to do - whereas Antony had the advantage of having the time to plan what he was going to say after he had heard Brutus. He knew just how to manipulate the crowd, one of his best tactics being the use of the word 'honourable'. In my opinion, Brutus is the hero of the play. He is certainly the tragic hero - his mistakes in the play definitely affected its course, such as it being his fault Antony was kept alive in the first place: 'let us be sacrificers, but not butchers' (2:1:166) It was also through his misjudgement that Antony got to speak at the funeral - Brutus trusted him too much: 'you shall not in your funeral speech blame us' (3:1:245) Ironic as this is exactly what he did. I think he is the hero because his mistakes lead to his downfall, though the words Antony says at the end of the play 'restore' everything at the end such as: 'this was the noblest Roman of them all' (5:5:68) Also, it is the fact that he genuinely thinks is doing the right thing to kill Caesar. The other conspirators were more interested in plotting the murder, but Brutus did manage to do something for the good of Rome. Ultimately, he was an honourable man; his only flaw his pride and tendency to be too trusting. ...read more.

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