Antony's Use of Rhetoric

Topics: Rhetoric, Roman Republic, Julius Caesar Pages: 3 (1058 words) Published: January 13, 2013
Antony's Use of Rhetoric
In "The Tragedy of Julius Caesar," William Shakespeare shows the power of rhetoric. Rhetoric is the ability to speak or write effectively. Shakespeare shows this power through Antony, Julius Caesar's best friend. Antony shows this at Caesar's funeral, at which Brutus, one of the conspirators who killed Caesar, allowed him to speak to the public under the condition that he not speak badly of the conspirators. Antony was a powerful speaker and was deeply gifted in the art of rhetoric. He was able to turn the public against the conspirators without breaking his promise to Brutus. Antony did this by using the techniques of ethos, pathos, and logos.

Ethos is the persuasive strategy that gives the speaker credibility. Antony used ethos to make the audience like him. He does this first when he says, "I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him." (Act III, Scene ii, Line 74) By saying this to start his speech, Antony told the audience that he was not about to try and make Brutus look bad, since the public like Brutus at this point due to his previous speech. He said that he is a friend to them, not an enemy. Antony also used ethos when he says, "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" (Act III, Scene ii, Line 121-127). When Antony said this, he again said that he had no intention of talking badly of Brutus, Cassius, and the other conspirators. This, again, made the audience like and respect him and what he had to say more. A third time Antony used ethos was when he said, "But, as you know me all, a plain blunt man…" (Act III, Scene ii, Line 219). Antony says this so the audience feels like he is one of them, so they felt more connected. Throughout his speech, Antony tried to separate the rich...
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