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Julius Caesar- Mark Antony speech - Analysis

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Introduction

1. Choose one speech you have studied in depth this semester. a. Explain what is being argued in the speech, paying detailed attention to the ways in which the argument is made, and the language used. b. What effect does this speech have upon the development of the play as a whole? Julius Caesar- Mark Antony speech Mark Antony's funeral oration over the body of Julius Caesar in act three, scene two is the most important speech in the play and effects the development of the play as a whole in many ways. Firstly this speech falls in the play where we have seen Antony's distraught reaction to the murder of Caesar and his letter vowing allegiance to Brutus in return for being able to live. Act three, scene one prepares us for Antony's rhetoric as here he states that 'Brutus is noble, wise, valiant and honest' which fits in with him repeatedly stating 'Brutus is an honourable man'. It becomes evident in this scene that Antony has an ulterior motive for forming this allegiance and asking to do the funeral oration when he is 'swayed from the point by looking down on Caesar' and then states that 'friends am I with you all, and love you all' but still wants to know 'why and wherein Caesar was dangerous'. Thus we the audience are aware that Antony is not being honest with the conspirators especially when he speaks in a soliloquy of the anarchy he will create when he states 'blood and destruction shall be so in use...that mothers shall but smile when they behold/ Their infants quartered with the hands of war'. This shows the extent of the anarchy he will unleash on Rome. Furthermore Antony's funeral oration is important as it follows Brutus's speech in the play, where he has turned public opinion around to favour him, as he has been able to persuade and convince the crowds, through his rhetoric and oratory that Caesar 'had' to die and demonstrates his power to use words effectively. ...read more.

Middle

Therefore Antony achieves the reaction he sets out to by cleverly manipulating the audience into thinking that he does not want them to be angered when he does and so is able to bring them to his side. And so he is able to provoke emotion when they want Caesar's will to be read out and is able to evoke a mutinous response to the conspirators. Furthermore it is significant that he is able to have the last words as if Brutus had had the last words perhaps the outcome of the play would have been different. In addition it may be argued that it is not Antony's oratorical skill that wins over public opinion but rather that he is able to have the last word and because these feelings existed already amongst the crowds, Antony just brought them to surface. However his use of language and patterning demonstrates his ability as an orator. Also this speech is the most important as it effects the development of the play as a whole in many ways. This speech effects the development of the play as a whole in that it reveals many of the major themes. Firstly it reveals the themes of deceit and betrayal, mentioned earlier. It reveals the theme of loyalty, as it is out of his loyalty for Caesar, that Antony wants to exact revenge on the conspirators. This theme is evident in the whole play as it is out of Brutus's love and loyalty for Rome that he murders Caesar as he states he killed Caesar because 'not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more'. It also reveals the theme of persuasion as Antony tries to persuade the crowds to his side throughout the speech. This relates to the play as a whole as there are many instances and parallels where characters try to persuade. For example, when Calpurnia tries to persuade Caesar not to go to the Senate and fails. ...read more.

Conclusion

I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke, But here I am to speak what I do know. You all did love him once, not without cause: What cause withholds you then to mourn for him? O judgement! thou art fled to brutish beasts, And men have lost their reason. Bear with me; My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar, And I must pause till it come back to me. First Cit. Methinks there is much reason in his sayings. Second Cit. If thou consider rightly of the matter, Caesar has had great wrong. Third Cit. Has he, masters I fear there will a worse come in his place. Fourth Cit. Mark`d ye his words? He would not take the crown; Therefore, `t is certain, he was not ambitious. First Cit. If it be found so, some will dear abide it. Second Cit. Poor soul! his eyes are red as fire with weeping. Third Cit. There`s not a nobler man in Rome than Antony. Fourth Cit. Now mark him; he begins again to speak. Ant. But yesterday the word of Caesar might Have stood against the world; now lies he there, And none so poor to do him reverence. O masters! if I were disposed to stir Your hearts and minds to mutiny and rage, I should do Brutus wrong, and Cassius wrong, Who, you all know, are honourable men. I will not do them wrong; I rather choose To wrong the dead, to wrong myself, and you, Than I will wrong such honourable men. But here`s a parchment with the seal of Caesar; I found it in his closet, `t is his will. Let but the commons hear this testament, Which, pardon me, I do not mean to read, And they would go and kiss dead Caesar`s wounds, And dip their napkins in his sacred blood, Yes, beg a hair of him for memory, And, dying, mention it within their wills, Bequesthing it as a rich legacy Unto their issue. Fourth Cit. We`ll hear the will: read it, Mark Antony. Citizens. The will, the will! we will hear Caesar`s will. ...read more.

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