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Explain how as a director, you would present the speeches of Brutus and Anthony (Act III Scene II), so as to engage and influence the audience.

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Introduction

Explain how as a director, you would present the speeches of Brutus and Anthony (Act III Scene II), so as to engage and influence the audience This scene is one of the highlights of the play "Julius Caesar" by Shakespeare. It follows the climax of Caesar's death, and a great amount of tension builds up as the audience waits to find out if the conspirators, led by Brutus, succeed in their cause, or if they are punished for their crime. The main threat to the conspirators after Caesar's death is Anthony, a very loyal friend of Caesar's. Previously in the play, we have not heard much about Anthony, and this scene introduces Anthony's character. As a director, I must emphasise his actions to show his personality clearly to the audience. The story of Julius Caesar is very well known, so to keep the audience interested in the play can be quite hard to achieve. Although the storyline cannot be changed, there are other aspects of the play which are open to interpretation, such as the personalities of the characters. Before discussing the presentation of the speeches, I must analyse the characters' personalities. When considering Brutus, I first thought that having taken part in the conspiracy and killed Caesar, he would be nervous and frightened of how the citizens and Caesar's friends might react, and would plan carefully on how to keep himself safe. His fear might also have diminished his belief in his actions. ...read more.

Middle

die, but the crowd in the play is a gathering of rough peasants, so for them to remain silent would not seem realistic. Therefore, there should exclamations of shock, but would soon settle as they realise the reason behind the conspiracy. Brutus then repeats his previous statements to reinforce his argument and to give the crowd time to think. This time, however, he should say the words, "honour, for his valour; and death for his ambition." in a much more strict, harsh way, because having explained it to the crowd, he can now be much more critical of Caesar. To completely turn the crowd in his favour, Brutus follows his statements with a series of rhetorical questions, "Who is here so rude that would not be a Roman? ...Who is here so vile that will not love his country?" He should ask these questions confidently, with passion, and should not give the citizens much time to think about them, so the citizens will go with the easy option of agreeing with Brutus again. Having gained the crowd's support, Brutus even vows to give his life, "I have the same dagger for myself, when it shall please my country to need my death." The purpose of Brutus' speech was to make the Roman citizens realise Caesar's faults, that Caesar was incapable of becoming a good leader. By doing this, Brutus clears himself and the other conspirators of the crime. But Brutus stressed on his defence too much, and made himself seem too "honourable", so the crowd's reaction to his speech was, "Let him be Caesar." ...read more.

Conclusion

The hardest part of persuading people is how to state your intentions while convincing people that it is definitely the right thing to do. Brutus achieved this by stating that if Caesar was left in power, then the citizens would be turned into slaves. The rest of his speech was based on this assumption-he cleverly made the people believe in his cause without giving a clear reason apart from stating that Caesar was ambitious. If the people took time to think about Brutus' argument, they would have realised how weak it actually was. Since Brutus' argument was weak, Anthony could exploit that and cleverly used emotions to gain the citizens' support. Shakespeare portrays the Roman citizens very much like the ordinary population of the Elizabethan society. Distinct characters of human nature are clearly shown by them. They have a sense of pity for the weak, but would still follow the strong and successful because they are selfish and want to succeed. They have a fickle nature because they do not give much thought to problems, and would agree with anyone who is slightly reasonable, regardless of their actual intentions. Modern politicians are very good at exploiting this weakness in human nature, and can manipulate people easily. Great leaders, such as Hitler and Churchill, are famous for their speeches. Great rhetoricians could be given almost any subject and could persuade the people to agree with them. Even more important then rhetoric skills, a good speaker should understand human nature, and should know what the audience is thinking so he/she can adjust the balance of his/her speech to guide to audience to his/her intentions. ...read more.

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