Antony and Brutus's Speech

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In what follows, I will explicate the classic speeches of Shakespeare’s Brutus and Mark Antony (Julius Caesar) in an attempt to demonstrate both the sophistic and argumentative reasoning styles of persuasion. Firstly, the speech by Brutus is quick, rather simplified and to the point. Brutus suggests that Caesar became ‘ambitious’ and therefore, had to be killed. Although his oratory is much-less wordy than that of Antony, he does offer a reasoned argument, as when he asks, “Have you rather Caesar were living and die all slaves, than that Caesar were dead, to live all free men?” (3. 2).  Knowing the context of his argument—that of the possibility that the Senate could declare Caesar king thus effectively putting an end to the Roman Republic—offers weight to Brutus’ defense of Caesar’s murder.  Another example of Brutus’ use of  reason are the steps of logic he displays when he says (effectively) if you love Rome, then I have not offended you (by murdering Caesar) because I did it out of love for Rome..His argument here utilizes both pathos and logos. In still a further statement of reason (and again infused with pathos) Brutus assures the crowd that he has the dagger ready to kill himself—if the good of Rome should call for it. Brutus uses the expenditure of his own life (thereby comparing the lesser-value of individual life to the greater value of Rome in general) Also, his audience can assume that Brutus does place some value on his own life—therefore there may be little (or no question) that he did, indeed, love Caesar—and—consequently–did have strong reasons for murdering him. Brutus argues that personal life (although individually valuable) should/must be sacrificed (if need be) for the good of Rome. Again, it is the ‘bigger picture’ of a safe, successful Roman Republic that is important to Brutus—and it is to that end that the small, personal nuances of the individual–its passions, its loves—its very existence—are to be surrendered. Brutus wins his...
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