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Compare Brutus and Antonys speeches in Act III Scene 2 of Julius Caesar. Analyse the dramatic effects created by Shakespeares use of language

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Introduction

Compare Brutus and Antony's speeches in Act III Scene 2 of Julius Caesar. Analyse the dramatic effects created by Shakespeare's use of language. Like most of Shakespeare's tragedies, Julius Caesar is loosely based around true events during the Roman era. Julius Caesar is based upon a Roman emperor who ruled the empire until his death. Caesar was born around 100 B.C. and died in 44 B.C. Although the play is named Julius Caesar, the main characters of the play are Brutus and Mark Antony. Before Brutus began his speech, the third citizen says: "The noble Brutus is ascended: silence!" This reaction from the third citizen reflects the fact that Brutus is a significant figure and reflects also their eagerness to listen to Brutus' statement for Caesar's murder. Brutus begins by addressing the crowds as "Romans, countrymen and lovers!" This helps him appear very courteous. In line 18, Shakespeare uses a chiastic structure "believe me for mine honour and have respect to mine honour, that you may believe" to swing the audience's support towards Brutus. Using a chiasm (repeating words in a different way) ...read more.

Middle

Brutus is trying to say that killing Caesar was the best solution as his existing legacy will remain intact, whereas if was still alive, he would have troubled Rome's opulence and would have lost all the respect that he had achieved over the years. He ends the second part of his speech by saying: "I depart, that, as I slew my best lover for the good of Rome, I have the same dagger for myself, when it shall please my country to need my death." This statement was made by Brutus to reassure the citizens of his fate should he be found guilty. Brutus says this to maintain his meekness. To this response the citizens applaud Brutus. Shakespeare has achieved his objective of creating a dramatic effect within the audience Antony begins his speech by greeting the crowd in much friendlier manner: "Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears." The phrase, 'lend me your ears' is used as a request and not a demand which shows that Antony realises that the crowd are not very keen to hear his cause because of Brutus' earlier speech. ...read more.

Conclusion

Antony also uses emotive language to help the crowd believe that Caesar was not an ambitious man for example in line 156 Antony mentions how Caesar had wept with the poor. This would have grabbed the audience's attention as one would not expect an ambitious person to have wept with the poor, let alone go anywhere near them. It might even have convinced them that Caesar was not ambitious after all. Antony finishes his speech sounding very overwhelmed with grief. This may have been to gather the audience's support and also gain their sympathy. Antony decided to take with him the will sealed by Caesar. The crowd are desperate to find out what the will holds. Antony refused to do this based upon moral grounds. However he hints that Caesar's riches would have benefited the empire and its citizens since they were the heirs. This is arguably what changes and helps the crowd reach their conclusion. Brutus' speech is very direct in its addressing and relies on repetition and punchy lines to gain the audiences' support. Comparatively Antony's approach is astute and sophisticated. I believe Shakespeare has written a very engaging scene by constantly swinging the audience's support between Brutus and Antony. Christy Varghese 11 T Shakespeare Coursework (Julius Caesar) 1 ...read more.

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This is a sophisticated response, which shows a good knowledge of the text as well as rhetorical devices. It would have been useful to make closer comparisons between the two speakers and indicate the importance of the crowd's reactions to them. ****

Marked by teacher Karen Reader 18/04/2012

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