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

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Introduction

Sean Martin Compare the speeches of Mark Antony and Brutus in 'Julius Caesar' The play 'Julius Caesar' was first performed in 1599 at the Globe theatre in London. The Globe theatre was built earlier that year and 'Julius Caesar' was one of the first plays performed there. This gives us reason to believe that the play was written towards the end of 1598 and beginning of 1599. William Shakespeare wrote the play 'Julius Caesar' because 'Plutarchs Lives', William Shakespeare's source of history, allowed him to use his imagination and create a sell out play. In the history book of most of the facts are the same as William Shakespeare's however he had to change some of the events in order to make it into a play and not just a documentary. In order to make 'Julius Caesar' more effective he had to shorten the time span of the play, in reality the whole scenario took months but William Shakespeare shortened the play to just a matter of days. Another reason for William Shakespeare writing the play was his interest in political assassination and the miseries of rebellion and civil war. The Queen at the time's reign was almost up, and a subtle way of informing the public that they needed an heir was through his play. Brutus was born into a noble family and from an early age was a close friend to Julius Caesar. Brutus was not a selfish man and he wanted the best for Rome, he shows this by having to be persuaded to join along side with the conspirators. ...read more.

Middle

Immediately after his plea to the mob he starts his speech with irony 'I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him' What Mark Antony really meant was quite the opposite but he has the task of pacifying the crowd, so he needs them to believe him and 'The noble Brutus hath told you Caesar was ambitious; If it were so it was a grievous fault' That sentence contains irony Mark Antony claims that Brutus is noble, he means that not at all, he then uses Brutus' favourite accusation 'ambitious' and goes on to prove him wrong. The word 'If' is conditional, Brutus believes it is true whereas Mark Antony strongly believes otherwise. The crowd are swinging further and further towards Mark Antony's way of thinking by the line. In so many words without actually saying it Mark Antony is calling Brutus a liar. 'Grievous' suggests a serious wrong doing on Brutus' behalf. Next Mark Antony points out that Brutus has allowed him to speak, then automatically undermines Brutus with a very ironic, although the sarcasm is not so obvious to the commoners at first 'For Brutus is an honourable man, And so are they all honourable man.' This irony is not realised by the crowd, however with Mark Antony's repentance of honourable to be shown the will soon catch on. Mark Antony's aim was to take the crowds opinion of the conspirators and turn it around into his favour, so that he could turn them against the conspirators, to do this he needs to show his views on why Julius Caesar was not ambitious. ...read more.

Conclusion

An intelligent speaker like Mark Antony is undoubtedly going to turn the tables around, now not only are the mob on Mark Antony's side but they are for the murder of all traitors, particularly the conspirators. After the crowd has descended upon Rome Mark Antony's manipulative side is let loose, his true colours are shown, 'Now let it work. Mischief, thou art afoot, Take thou what course thou wilt.' He is victorious in every sense and he relishes the moment. The superior of the two speeches is definitely Mark Antony's for several reasons, firstly and most obviously it is longer, he also uses more props, Mark Antony uses three whereas Brutus only uses one. Mark Antony is a more emotive speaker, he is more involved in his speech and communicates to the crowd on a level at which they can appreciate, whereas Brutus shows his power. Brutus delivers a simple speech and he also stands in the same area throughout. Mark Antony involves the audience by walking into them and surrounding them around Julius Caesar's body, this is a good persuasive technique amounting to audience participation. Brutus does not use irony, but the majority of Mark Antony's speech is spoken ironically, for example he repeats 'honourable' when he means the opposite. Brutus also uses repetition by repeating with the word 'ambitious' when talking about Julius Caesar. Both Mark Antony and Brutus use rhetorical questions as a persuasive technique, this gives the audience time to think and also so do the pauses that they both use. Mark Antony's speech is full of anti-climaxes, one line he is filling them with enthusiasm and the next he is appeasing them, this is an effective way of building their emotions. ...read more.

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