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Explain how Mark Antony was able to persuade the plebeians of Rome that the killing of Caesar was a diabolical act.

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Introduction

Explain how Mark Antony was able to persuade the plebeians of Rome that the killing of Caesar was a diabolical act. William Shakespeare wrote the political thriller Julius Caesar in 1599. Other famous speakers such as Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King and Hitler have copied the technique Mark Antony and Brutus spoke to the plebeians in the play. The speeches were successful by using various types of persuasion for example patterns of three, repetition, rhetorical questions and irony. Brutus appealed to the heads of the plebeians while Antony spoke to their hearts and emotions. The speech of Brutus begins with a pattern of three. "Romans, Countrymen and lovers" which is a good persuasive introduction as it involves all plebeians. Brutus then explains why he killed Caesar and uses a rhetorical question "Had you rather Caesar were living and die all slaves than that Caesar were dead and live all free men?" A rhetorical question does not need an answer, yet it makes the plebeians think that what Brutus did was for the good of Rome. Brutus then uses rhythmic patterning to describe achievements of Caesar and the consequences of these achievements, when he says "joy for his fortune, honour for his valour and death for his ambition". To continue the speech he uses a number of rhetorical questions, one example is "Who is here is so base that would not be a bondman?" The reason why he does this is because he wants to involve the plebeians but he does not want an answer to his question; this is a good use of persuasion because it makes the plebeians think. ...read more.

Middle

Antony then says, "Let the commons hear this testament" informing the plebeians that they cannot hear the will; this is a good use of persuasion because it keeps the plebeians in anticipation. The plebeians have now been convinced by the mentioning of the will and insist that Antony should read it. "We'll hear the will, read it Mark Antony." Throughout the speech Mark Antony uses pauses to gives the plebeians time to absorb the important points he has made. Again, this shows us that he has thought deeply on how to win over the plebeians. The speech continues with Antony saying that he cannot read it, "I must not read it" which is ironic as later on he does. This is a good technique to use as it makes the plebeians listen intently and builds up suspense. "Hearing the will of Caesar, it will inflame you, it will make you mad." The use of 'will' three times is a clever pun that keeps reminding the plebeians about the will. While the use of 'you', directs the argument to them. "O what would come of it?" Antony is wondering what the plebeians reactions would be if they knew. The plebeians respond, "Read the will. We'll hear it Antony." Repetition is used here which they hope will persuade Antony. The reply from Antony continued to use the 'will' pun and also uses the rhetorical questions "Will you be patient? Will you stay a while?" This is because they had a substantial effect on the plebeians' emotions. ...read more.

Conclusion

The plebeians are now on there way to bury Caesar "We'll burn his body in a holy place" which shows they now believe that Caesar was noble instead of ambitious. "With the brands fire the traitors' houses" the plebeians are going to burn the houses of the conspirators for them murdering Caesar. Mark Antony may have won the plebeians hearts however even he knew that he had no told the whole truth whereas Brutus did. At the end of the play of Julius Caesar Brutus kills himself with his sword, Antony then exclaims, "This was the noblest Roman of them all" Overall the two speeches use a number of techniques of persuasion and stylistic devices. Brutus made an enormous mistake at the closing stages of his speech as he allowed Mark Antony to speak, even though Cassius had warned him. Mark Antony was able to persuade the plebeians that the killing of Caesar was a diabolical act because he used various techniques of persuasion to carefully persuade the plebeians to be against the conspirators. Antony spoke in poetry that appeals to the hearts of the plebeians, giving him the advantage from Brutus because he spoke in prose to the heads of the plebeians. Irony was the main technique Antony used because he knew the plebeians were fickle, yet as the talking of Brutus had just convinced them, Antony used irony to insure that he would not be killed in the beginning of his speech. Mark Antony used the will to support his judgment allowing him to have the clear advantage over Brutus because even though Brutus spoke the truth he had nothing to sustain his argument. Katie Tinklin 1 Spellchecker used ...read more.

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