Julius Caesar - How does Shakespeare use the events, themes and language present in act 3 scene 2 to make Mark Antony(TM)s speech so effective?
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"Julius Caesar" by William Shakespeare Shakespeare Assignment Literature - Joe Hall Explore the techniques used by Brutus and Mark Antony to win over the crowd in Act 3 Scene 2. How does Shakespeare use the events, themes and language present in the scene to make Mark Antony's speech so effective? In 1599, William Shakespeare, a world famous playwright and poet wrote an excellent tragedy based on the conspiracy of the assassination of Julius Caesar. This tragedy is regarded as one of Shakespeare's greatest plays. The play is also roughly based on a true story as Julius Caesar was assassinated because of power. The scene begins with the Plebeian crowd demanding to hear Brutus' funeral speech as they are desperate to hear what he has to say for himself. Brutus' first words are "Friends, Countrymen and Lovers" this is an example of tripling which emphasizes the meaning. He uses this to make a connection with the crowd and it shows that he is stooping down to their level. Brutus becomes very honourable to the crowd by saying "Believe me for mine honour" this makes the plebeian crowd feel flattered and important; Brutus is playing the crowd to sway them towards his side as it is essential for any leader to be loved.
this quote also shows the stupidity of the crowd as Brutus assassinated Caesar because of the leadership. Anthony begins his speech very similar to Brutus' by saying "Friends, Romans, Countrymen" this also mocks Brutus as Anthony believes this was a way to win them over and that he does not mean it. Anthony then clarifies "I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him." this explains that he is aiming to keep the peace and not show his emotion. Anthony continues to use irony as he says "The noble Brutus hath told you Caesar was ambitious;" this phrase explains that Anthony thinks Brutus is contradicting himself and he makes the crowd think Brutus' only reason to kill Caesar was his honour. He repeats this several times to emphasize the irony and sarcasm towards Brutus. This technique is repetition, it shows that Anthony has very good persuasive skills. Anthony's emotions start to show when he says "He was my friend, faithful and just to me," this also contradicts what he earlier said about trying not to show his emotion. This shocks the audience as it feels like he couldn't help to show these feelings.
Antony then assures the plebeians that he is not trying to aggravate things and that it is his fault, this ensures that the crowd believe he is merciful. The last word in Antony's speech is "mutiny" this word means to overthrow the leader, Anthony uses it as a demand, despite saying he is not trying to cause bother. It shows that Antony secretly wanted the plebeians infuriated after all. To sum up the two speeches, Brutus used tripling, flattering, rhetorical questions and many more. He uses flattery in his speech "Romans Countrymen and Lovers." This makes the crowd feel important and deeply cared for. He also adds rhetorical questions in the text saying "Than that Caesar were dead, to live all freemen?" this manipulates the crowd to think that Caesar would have kept the plebeians slaves. Whereas, Antony uses a lot more persuasive techniques like emotive language, verbal irony, anecdotes, rhetorical questions, tripling and repetition. Although Brutus' speech was very successful as it had a variation of techniques, I personally believe Antony's speech was more effective as he delivered it a lot clearer with more skill and technique than Brutus. Antony based his speech on the pity which the crowd still had for Caesar, and he emphasized this to sway the minds of the plebeian crowd.
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