Essay, Research Paper: Mark Antony's Speech

Shakespeare

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Mark Antony's Speech In William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, Antony confronts a
crowd that is against him and on the side of the conspirators who just killed
Caesar. In order to turn the crowd to his side; Antony uses rhetorical
questions, appeals, and irony in his speech to the people. Without breaking his
word not to wrong the conspirators, Antony indirectly persuades the crowd that
the conspirators were wrong in killing Caesar and that Caesar's death should be
avenged. The use of rhetorical questions in Antony's speech causes the crowd to
question whether or not what the conspirators claimed to be true. For example,
when Antony asked the crowd, "I thrice presented him a kingly crown, which
he did thrice refuse. Was this ambition?" (I: 24-25). This reminds the
crowd that Brutus said that Caesar was ambitious. In effect, they wonder if
Brutus was actually right or not. He also asked, "You loved him once, not
without cause; what cause withholds you then to mourn for him?" (I: 30-31).
This question reminds the crowd of how their lives were before Caesar was
killed. Then, the crowd questions Brutus tricked them. Antony goes on to ask,
"And being men, hearing the will of Caesar, it will inflame you, it will
make you mad. 'Tis good you know not that you are his heirs; for if you should,
O, what will come of it?" (II: 26-27). This makes the crowd interested in
what Caesar left them in his will. The way Antony speaks of it makes the crowd
look bad for ever being on the side of the conspirators. Rhetorical questions
are utilized in the speech and help the unjustifiable excuses of the
conspirators become clear. The rhetorical appeals, logos, pathos, and ethos,
used in Antony's speech, turn the crowd to the side of Caesar. An example of
logos is "He hath brought many captives home to Rome." (I: 16). By
saying this, Antony proves that Caesar did many things for his country and not
all for himself. This refutes Brutus' idea that Caesar was ambitious. Antony
also uses pathos such as, "If you have tears, prepare to shed them
now." (III: 1). In saying this, Antony gets to the emotional side of the
crowd. He is trying to make the crowd feel sorry for wanting Caesar dead, and he
is successful in doing so. "The stones of Rome to rise and mutiny."
(IV: 21), shows how Antony puts ethos to use. Antony is trying to tell the crowd
to get even with Brutus and the rest of the conspirators, which to them seems
fair. Antony knows it is not right to do such a thing but the crowd does not.
These appeals help make Antony's speech more affective and help to move the
crowd towards Antony's side. Irony is a noteworthy application that Antony uses
in his speech. For example, "Good friends, sweet friends, let me not stir
you up to such sudden flood of mutiny." (IV: 1-2). Antony's soul purpose is
to make the crowd angry. Antony knows that by saying this it will upset the
crowd even more, which in fact is exactly what he is trying to do because the
conspirators were wrong and he wants them suffer along side of Caesar. "And
being men, hearing the will of Caesar, it will inflame you. It will make you
mad." (II: 24-25). This is also ironic because Antony does want to make
them mad. He wants to make the crowd anxious to hear the will. "I come not,
friends, to steal away your hearts." (IV: 7). Antony did want to steal
their hearts and uses this to make the crowd more at ease. He wanted to change
their minds about the conspirators. Antony uses irony in his speech and it helps
the crowd understand and see his viewpoints. Through this use of rhetorical
questions, appeals, and irony, Antony does turn the crowd against the
conspirators. This shows the effectiveness of the way he used these devices. In
persuading the crowd to be on Caesar's side, Antony displays the power of these
rhetorical devices. I love you Ms. Getzlaff.
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