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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: English
  • Document length: 3458 words

With close reference to the text explain how Mark Antony manipulates the crowd after the death of Caesar

Extracts from this essay...

Introduction

With close reference to the text explain how Mark Antony manipulates the crowd after the death of Caesar 'Julius Caesar' the Roman tragedy was written by the famous English playwright William Shakespeare in the year of 1599. The play is based on factual events, such as the assassination of Julius Caesar, the Roman dictator. Although 'Julius Caesar' is set in Rome over 2000 years ago it explores themes such as ambition, greed, superstition, revenge, assassination and the universal theme of politics most of which are relevant to the present day and Shakespeare's own time, the Elizabethan era. Julius Caesar was assassinated; the link to the Elizabethan era for this would be that several plots to kill Queen Elizabeth I were carried out. The link to our own time in this instance is the assassination of JFK president of the United States of America. In all three scenarios the conspiracies were set against extremely powerful people who were in leading roles during their lives. It is because of these links that the play 'Julius Caesar' appealed to the people in Shakespeare's time. Shakespeare's Globe theatre kept the audience engaged and produced plays that were relevant to them. The people of the Elizabethan era were superstitious people, subsequently Shakespeare wrote his plays' with elements of superstition in them e.g. ghosts & spirits. In his play 'Tempest' he has numerous spirits. In 'Macbeth' Macbeth kills the king and then later dies a horrible death himself. We know that the people of the Elizabethan era believed in the divine order which means that they believed kings or queens were appointed by god and therefore only god could remove them from the seat of power. Consequently if anyone tries to remove them they will die horrible deaths. Shakespeare wrote for three audiences: the plebeians in the play, the Elizabethan audience and the contemporary audience. However the Elizabethan audience was the main audience partly because there were a lot more of them than the other audiences and partly because Shakespeare's globe theatre relied mostly on their reactions to make the plays seem more realistic and exciting.

Middle

In addition Antony involves the plebeians when he says that when the poor have cried Caesar has wept, Antony says this to make Caesar appear not to be ambitious but also to make the plebeians feel pity for Caesar and dislike his killers. After each stage of using the word honourable Antony manipulates the crowd. Antony uses rhetorical questions which state Caesar was not ambitious after giving reason to believe Caesar was not ambitious. "Was this ambition?" Antony successfully manipulates the plebeians in to thinking Caesar has been wronged. "If thou consider rightly of the matter, Caesar has had great wrong." Antony uses sarcasm when he says 'honourable' because really he is saying they are dishonourable, because the word honourable does not fit in with murderers. Antony gives four reasons as evidence when showing the plebeians Caesar was not ambitious. Firstly he says that Caesar was his friend faithful and just to him. Secondly he mentions that Caesar has bought many captives home to Rome. Thirdly Antony says that when the poor have cried Caesar too has cried. Lastly he says that he presented Caesar with a kingly crown three times which Caesar turned down and refused. Antony uses these four reasons as evidence that Caesar was not ambitious because the things Caesar does in them do not match with the deeds an ambitious person would do but rather a kind, merciful and loving person. Antony deals with Caesars worst point his desire to become king by simply saying, "I thrice presented him a kingly crown, which he did thrice refuse." Antony is saying if Caesar wanted to become king he would surely have accepted the crown I offered him, and I did not only offer him the crown once, I offered it to him three times which Caesar refused. After Antony says he offered the crown and Caesar turned it down he uses a rhetorical question.

Conclusion

The citizens move to cremate Caesar but in going they are up and running ready to mutiny "And with the brands of fire burn the traitors' houses." This highlights Antony's success in manipulating the crowd. While standing over Caesars' corpse Antony said, "Cry havoc and let's slip the dogs of war." This is just what Antony has achieved. One can say the plebeians are like sheep when one moves they all move. [CONCLUSION STARTS HERE] Antony was successful in manipulating the crowd because he appealed to emotion which is very powerful and can if applied correctly make people believe and follow you rather quickly. In addition, Antony uses a dramatic pause, dramatic device [Caesars corpse], delaying tactic when mentioning Caesars will to keep the plebeian's attention and he makes out that he is not an orator consequently giving his words credibility and makes them seem like they have come straight from his heart. Antony was successful because he uses a variety of language techniques ranging from repetition to the use of rhetorical questions. It helped Antony that Brutus appealed to the reason of the crowd which in contrast to emotion is weak. Furthermore it further helps Antony that Brutus decides to speak first so then Antony knew what he is up against and how best to counteract what Brutus had said. 'Julius Caesar' is relevant today for many reasons one of them is that like Antony many of the politicians these days manipulate people. Take Tony Blair and George Bush for example they used repetition when talking about weapons of mass destruction and saying they were going to "help the civilians of Iraq', while all the while just like Antony appealing to emotion to get their way. Antony is your typical politician, although the circumstances were different then and Antony had a different goal which was to make the plebeians riot the overall goal is exactly the same manipulating people in order to get their own way. ?? ?? ?? ?? Candidate Name: Shu'aib Idrees Centre Name: Al-Hijrah secondary school Candidate Number: 2641 Centre Number: 20004 Julius Caesar

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