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Compare and contrast the speeches of Mark Antony and Brutus. Which is the most effective and why?

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Introduction

GCSE English coursework Compare and contrast the speeches of Mark Antony and Brutus. Which is the most effective and why? The play 'Julius Caesar' reaches a peak of tension at the point of the two speeches, and so it would seem whichever speech was enjoyed more by the crowd would make the speaker the more popular. This was in fact the case in the play. Mark Antony used better techniques of speech than Brutus and he prevailed in the end. After the conspirators have killed Caesar, Brutus agrees to let Antony perform a speech, which Brutus thought would be a eulogy. Antony's speech would be after Brutus' and Brutus hoped that the crowd would understand his reasons, though this was secondary to his hope of a better Rome. We know that Brutus is respected by the audience, and is someone who the audience will give their time to. He was an established and well-loved member of the Roman society. The crowd say "We will be satisfied; let us be satisfied," which I understand as the crowd saying tell us your reasons, you will tell us. Another citizen goes on to say "I will hear Brutus speak" which gives an example of the tolerance by the crowd towards Brutus, despite the fact he has killed their ruler, they still are willing to go along with him, provided they agree with his reasoning. The final quotation of tolerance towards Brutus is "The noble Brutus is ascended. Silence!" ...read more.

Middle

He says he will "Let slip the dogs of war". Antony can now begin to pick apart Brutus' speech point by point, since he is speaking second. Antonys first point is to say that Caesar was not in fact ambitious as Brutus said he was. He says, "When the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept; ambition should be made of sterner stuff; yet Brutus says he was ambitious, and Brutus is an honourable man. You all did see that on the Lupercal I thrice presented him a kingly crown, which he did thrice refuse. Was this ambition?" We see here the use of rhetoric when Antony asks the crowd if this was ambition, when it clearly was not. We also see the beginnings of the repetition of "honourable man". Antony is clearly being sarcastic with his repetitions and mocking Brutus and Cassius. So Antony has started to achieve his main objective of stirring up the crowd against Brutus from almost the beginning of his speech. Antony goes on to say "...men have lost their reason. Bear with me; my heart is in the coffin there with Caesar, and I must pause till it come back to me" to which he gets the response "Methinks there is much reason in his sayings". This is a sign showing that the crowd have started to take Antony seriously and consider his views, which could be partly due to the fact that Antony is playing for the sympathy of the crowd. ...read more.

Conclusion

He tells them to come down to Caesars body, so he can highlight where all of the stab wounds entered Caesar, and so that he can name the conspirators individually, letting the crowd know exactly who did what to Caesar. Antony now goes on to telling an anecdote, this is very evocative and reminds the crowd that Caesar once was an innocent man like everyone else. He also starts to use evocative language, for example he says "envious Casca" and "well-beloved Brutus". He says "and all of us fell down" when describing Caesars death, as if he thinks that the whole of Rome could fall as a result of the loss of Caesar. Antony continues on to fix Brutus as the primary leader of the conspiracy. He leaves the crowd with no option but to seek revenge on Brutus and the rest of the conspirators. He has created a mob and they are his mob. They go away to bury Caesar and to seek out the conspirators. So we have seen the different techniques used by the two opposing parties, and we can deduct that the more effective was by far Antony's. Partly because he could pick apart Brutus' speech and negate Brutus' views from an early stage, but mostly because he knew what would incite the crowd and make them feel hatred towards Brutus. Brutus' biggest mistake was trusting that Antony was "a limb of Caesar" and not thinking that Antony could seek revenge with his new mob. ...read more.

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