• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

In 'The Tragedy of Julius Caesar' the orations by Brutus and Antony after Caesar's death are dramtically crucial. Discuss their dramatic significance.

Extracts from this document...


In Shakespeare's The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, a critical turning point occurs during the orations by Brutus and Antony after Caesar's death, that sends public outrage souring against Brutus and the other conspirators involved in Caesar's death. At first it seems Brutus has the obvious upper hand, and Antony shows great respect for him. Yet where Brutus' reasoned, logical prose fail to permanently convince the citizens the Caesar had to be killed, Antony, using colorful poetry and emotional appeal, persuades the plebeians that there was no cause for Caesar's death, and those responsible must be punished. Brutus is only able to convince the audience of his opinion temporarily, because of a few vital mistakes. Brutus speaks in prose, refusing to let emotion enter his speech and erroneously assuming that the citizens, like himself, will be stoical enough to trust reasoned logic over emotionally stimulating poetry. He uses simple, logically reasoned prose in an attempt to better connect with the less educated commoners. ...read more.


So Antony does not, yet still manages to turn the crowd against him. How? By using irony, most famously his use of the word "honorable." Antony says, "(For Brutus is an honorable man; So are they all, all honorable men)" (III.ii.91-92). At first there is no trace of irony, but each time this "honorable men" phrase is repeated (and he repeats it often, saying "honorable" eleven times) it becomes more ironic and satirical, meaning the opposite of its actual definition. This is only one of the many devices Antony uses to trap the crowd into agreeing with him. He emphasizes Caesar's will using apophasis and other paradoxical statements. "'Tis good you know not that you are his heirs" (III.ii.157) says Antony, of course only making the citizens want to hear the will more. When he finally reads the will, the crowd has already become excited, and when they hear of the good things Caesar will do for them (Antony reads only the few bits of the will that the citizens profited from), they are ready to kill anyone who might have had anything to do with Caesar's death. ...read more.


A group as irrational as this cannot follow the logical prose presented by Brutus, but Antony's emotionally filled poetry easily sways them. When Antony convinces the plebeians that the conspirators' killing of Caesar was unjust, unneeded, and inexcusable, Brutus is forced in many ways to give up his idealistic belief that he partook in this assassination for the people of Rome, for it is them that now wanted him dead. In his slow acceptance of this fact, Brutus must also have noticed how badly his stoical, emotionless speech failed to impress the Roman crowd. This failure, along with Antony's great ability in oration, especially in manipulating the audience, is able to convince the citizens of his hidden opinion, that the conspirators must be punished for the evil deed they committed by killing his friend Caesar. Or, of course, Antony may have succeeded in simply because he was the last one the crowd heard, so the one they ultimately agreed with, but then there wouldn't be a point for this essay, now would there? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Julius Caesar section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Julius Caesar essays

  1. Julius Caesar Essay

    Caesar, the man they wanted to be king has just been horrifically butchered before their eyes. By slaying Caesar in front of people could show that they felt they were doing nothing wrong or unjust. Brutus addressed the plebeians, "Romans, countrymen and lovers."

  2. What is Julius Caesar like?

    This raises the question, "Is Caesar an ambitious man?" This question will be answered later. In performance, on the other hand, Shakespeare can present the interpretation that he wants to put across by instructing the actor what sort of facial expression to put on and what tone of voice to use.

  1. Explore the ways in which leadership is presented in the play 'Julius caesar'

    Contrasting with Brutus, Antony on the other hand manages to win the crowd over by his powerful speech; this shows a good influential quality of a leader. Antony is similar to Cassius because they both have a persuasive nature. Antony illustrates this nature by winning the crowd over.

  2. William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar

    The conspirators fear that Caesar will not show up at the Capitol "for he is superstitious grown of late." Decius solved this problem by volunteering to ensure Caesar's arrival. Decius believes that he can convince Caesar with his stories and flattery.

  1. 'Julius Caesar'- Shakespeare

    Anatony's speeches are very different from Brutus' and are far more subtle than Brutus'. They were full of clever techniques to manipulate the audience. Brutus spoke to the crowds about honour, patriotism and history. Antony's speeches were more emotional and by being emotional it manages to be more powerful and have a greater impact on the crowd.

  2. By comparing and contrasting the dramatic presentation of Act 3 Scene 2 in the ...

    This sounds logical, so the first three points mask the fact that 'ambition...slew him' is not logical, i.e. Caesar's ambition alone was not a ground for his death. In the same way, Brutus lists Caesar's traits again to emphasise this, 'tears...love' 'honour...valour' 'death...ambition' (L.25-26)

  1. Tragedy lies not only in death but in the ways it could have been ...

    In the second act, several strange occurrences convince Calpurnia, Caesar's wife, that something is indeed wrong. For example,- a lioness gives birth to her young in a crowded street, and the dead rise from their graves.... Calpurnia feels sure that these astonishing but bizarre events are all warnings or omens of some kind.

  2. Julius Caesar.

    This built up tension between the plebeians as they were curious about the murder and why it occurred. Brutus calms the atmosphere immediately by delivering a powerful speech and concluding it with the mistakeby letting Antony speak which leads him to his death further in the play.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work