Compare Brutus and Antonys speeches in Act III Scene 2 of Julius Caesar. Analyse the dramatic effects created by Shakespeares use of language

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Christy Varghese

11 T Shakespeare Coursework (Julius Caesar)

Compare Brutus and Antony’s speeches in Act III Scene 2 of Julius Caesar. Analyse the dramatic effects created by Shakespeare’s use of language.

Like most of Shakespeare’s tragedies, Julius Caesar is loosely based around true events during the Roman era. Julius Caesar is based upon a Roman emperor who ruled the empire until his death. Caesar was born around 100 B.C. and died in 44 B.C. Although the play is named Julius Caesar, the main characters of the play are Brutus and Mark Antony.

Before Brutus began his speech, the third citizen says: “The noble Brutus is ascended: silence!” This reaction from the third citizen reflects the fact that Brutus is a significant figure and reflects also their eagerness to listen to Brutus’ statement for Caesar’s murder.

Brutus begins by addressing the crowds as “Romans, countrymen and lovers!” This helps him appear very courteous. In line 18, Shakespeare uses a chiastic structure “believe me for mine honour and have respect to mine honour, that you may believe” to swing the audience’s support towards Brutus. Using a chiasm (repeating words in a different way) makes Brutus’ words more emphatic.

From line 22 onwards Brutus is explaining his reasons for killing Caesar. Brutus uses memorable sentences such as: “Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more.” Here Brutus is stating that he did indeed care about Caesar. However, he was prepared to sacrifice Caesar’s life for the benefit of Roman citizens.

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Brutus maintains a consistent pattern where he presents Caesar’s action and then his own reaction: “As Caesar loved me, I weep for him; as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was valiant, I honour him: but as he was ambitious, I slew him”.  Brutus reiterates the same message but swapped around, presenting his reaction to Caesar’s action. “There is tears for his love; joy for his fortune; honour for his valour; and death for his ambition”.  Brutus says these things to further reinforce his claim of loving Caesar thus achieving more emphasis.

He then ends the first ...

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This is a sophisticated response, which shows a good knowledge of the text as well as rhetorical devices. It would have been useful to make closer comparisons between the two speakers and indicate the importance of the crowd's reactions to them. ****