• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Closely analyse the funeral speeches of Brutus and Marc Antony from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar and then answer the following question: Why does Marc Antony prove to be the more proficient orator?

Extracts from this document...


Closely analyse the funeral speeches of Brutus and Marc Antony from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar and then answer the following question: Why does Marc Antony prove to be the more proficient orator? 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. ...read more.


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. ...read more.


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. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Julius Caesar section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Julius Caesar essays

  1. Julius Caesar funeral speeches

    Because the plebians don't understand why a person would turn down the crown if they wanted to be king, they believe that Caesar never wanted to be king. So when Antony asks this question, it questions them whether he really was as good as they thought?

  2. A Comparative Study of the Two Funeral Speeches from Act II, Scene II of ...

    Again, the fickle Romans change their thoughts on Brutus. Mark Antonys speech is written in verse, showing more thought and planning then Brutus' speech. He starts out by addressing the crowd as "friends", like Brutus' speech, because he wants to come to them as a friend rather than a ruler trying to gain power.

  1. Comparison of the Speeches made by Brutus and Antony in the Marketplace

    Bear with me, My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar, And I must pause till it come back to me." This would have been acted out on stage by a tearful Antony, who would be trying to continue his speech and not start crying out loud.

  2. Brutus and Antony's speeches.

    Brutus is quite intelligent so he understand what the crowd wants to hear also he knows that the way he says thing will also make an effect on the crowd. So he decides to talk in prose instead of blank verse, the plebeians talk in prose so he thinks he will relate to them more.

  1. Compare the speeches of Mark Antony and Brutus in 'Julius Caesar'.

    The first rhetorical question woke up the crowds sense of freedom so cleverly Brutus asks another freedom related question 'Who is here so base, that would be a bondman?' Not only has this made the crowd think about freedom but it has also planted the seed of what if Caesar


    So as to cause more perturbation in the Plebeians hearts, the bayonet that Julius Caesar was killed by is laid by the corpse pointing vertically downwards. As for the music, an hautboy (oboe) is heard playing swiftly in the background- but not disrupting the funeral speeches.

  1. How does Shakespeare present ideas about order, rules, and authority in Julius Caesar? In ...

    This is done using the metaphor of Caesar as a bird, the plebeians as feathers: 'These growing feathers, pluck'd from Caesar's wing, Will make him fly an ordinary pitch Who else would soar above the view of men, And keep us all in servile fearfulness.'

  2. The exact date of the publication of 'Julius Caesar' is not absolutely certain. However, ...

    Consequently, civil war broke out among the Romans - just what Brutus had been trying to avoid by murdering Caesar. In order that the act should not be considered one of butchery, but one of sacrifice, not only is Antony not killed, he is even allowed to make a

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work