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Julius Caesar.

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Introduction

Julius Caesar is a famous play written by the respected William Shakespeare in 1599. The drama is based on real events concerning the assassination of Julius Caesar, the Roman dictator, on March 44 BC. It is an epic tale about a Roman tragedy. My main aspect within this essay is to emphasise on how Antony manipulates the Roman plebeians by giving a speech after Caesar's death which is the core of the play. He is left with a daunting task due to the highly persuasive speech which Brutus delivers prior to him. Julius Caesar is about power, fear of dominance, betrayal and conspiracy. It portrays the time in which the Romans dominated the world. Caesar returns from the battle field ending a civil war between his forces against Pompey's forces who was the current emperor of Rome at that time. Julius Caesar was feared by many after his victory over Pompey. The demolition of Pompey meant that Caesar would be the new emperor. It was his arrogance which leads him to his death. He is warned by his wife and the soothsayer about the possibility of his assassination but due to his ignorance he fails to understand that he is a target for many. He ignores their advice not knowing what his destiny will be. His arrogance leads to the fear of his dominance and many are appalled by the fact that he has become the new emperor and refuse to accept this. This is due to the fact that they believe he will become a tyrant if he is to have power to such an extent. The initial people who reacted to this were Flavius and Marullus. They warned the fickle plebeians about Caesar's potential of becoming a tyrant. Subsequently they were instantly assassinated. This created many reasons for a conspiracy to kill Caesar. The conspirators who planned to kill Caesar were Marcus Brutus (Caesar's dear friend), Caius Cassius, Decius Brutus, Metellus, Cinna, Casca and finally Trebonius. ...read more.

Middle

(Act 3 scene 2) By going along with the crowd's mood and at first agreeing with them, helps him to gain their attention. Then he proves his point by justifying it in a way that the crowd can't disagree with him. Rhetorical questions are very effective in that way and he uses them immaculately. As he delivers his speech his intention is to persuade the crowd to turn against Brutus. In order to do that he indirectly attacks Brutus. He disproves Brutus rather than talking against him with the knowledge that the crowd knows how much Brutus loved Caesar. A fine example of this is: "You all did see that on the Lupercal I thrice presented him a kingly crown, which he did thrice refuse. Was this ambition? Yet Brutus says he was ambitious and Brutus is an honourable man." (Act 3 scene 2) From this quote we can see that Antony is proving Caesar's innocence and disproving Brutus which shows that he is indirectly attacking him yet at the same time persuading the crowd. He's techniques are clever because he is gradually turning the crowd against Brutus psychologically because he doesn't directly go against Brutus. He continuously uses repetition because he mentions several times that Brutus is an honourable man yet at the same time he is disproving him making the crowd think that if Brutus is such an honourable man then how could he kill Caesar his dearest friend and make such a great error. Antony builds up Brutus' reputation and at its peak he lowers it by disproving him. Antony continues talking convincingly knowing it is going to be a difficult task as the crowd were already brainwashed by Brutus. His approach with the citizens is very polite. "You are not wood, you are not stones, but men" (Act 3 scene 2) Unlike Metellus who approached the crowd very abruptly, this quote shows how polite Antony is with the crowd in order to gain their sympathy and attention. ...read more.

Conclusion

At this stage he had already gained the crowd's attention and this kind of statement would settle his position as a person demanding for revenge. The vital dramatic pauses which Antony uses during his speech had a great effect as it gave him time to read the mood of the crowd enabling him to continue his flurry of persuasive techniques according to the current mood of the crowd. He acts humbly like an average Roman plebeian to show he is on the same level as the people. A fine example of this is: "Will you give me the leave to speak?" (Act 3 scene 2) He mentions this to assure the crowd that he wants them to allow him to speak as he only wants to express his feelings even it though was Brutus who appointed him to speak. Yet in order to make the people eager to listen to him he asks for their permission. Antony is an expert at building up the tension during his speech as he holds the crowd back three times from leaving and vandalising the surroundings. He uses repetition when he uses the word 'honourable' several times to build up the irony that these men are praiseworthy and honourable yet they have committed such a horrific act. It is significant to analyse these techniques and obtain that contemporary politicians at present also use similar skills in order to attain the citizens' attention. Many use repetition like Antony did in order to emphasise on a negative or positive point to express their views about something with the hope of gaining the support of the citizens. Many politicians give speeches in similar fashion to Antony. Initially they express general points on which anyone would agree and as the speech flows successfully they gradually gain support and then fully express their views as the support increases. All the sublime techniques which Antony uses are a key to his success and after winning the civil war he has avenged Caesar's death and brought an end to this epic tale of drama. ...read more.

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