In what ways does the language and imagery of Antony’s speech demonstrate his manipulation of the crowd?
In Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Mark Antony’s speech at Caesar’s funeral, despite all his protestations to the contrary, is fuelled by one purpose: vengeance to those who murdered his beloved Caesar. He uses combinations of verbal irony, repetitive diction, and heavy emphasis on emotions to sway his audience. He does so without guilt or remorse towards the people to whom the crowd will direct their wrath. Not only does he think of nothing but revenge, he convinces the crowd that he wants no harm to come to Caesar’s murderers. Antony starts by saying ‘If you have tears, prepare to shed them now.’ By beginning in a calm manner, it shows that he thinks this is a very sad moment, instead of making everyone angry. Also, the word ‘prepare’ is an effectively used word, as it is like an instruction for them that they must feel sorry. Antony then shows his personal bond to Caesar when he says, ‘Twas on a summer’s evening, in his tent, that day he overcame the Nervii.’ This shows that Antony and the people have similar memories of Caesar’s success, looking back at his triumph. This is mainly shown in the word, ‘that’. By saying this, he also shows that this was just one of the triumphs Caesar had, and he had a lot more to offer. Moreover, he explains that he was a nice person and yet a success. The line, ‘Oh what a fall,’ means it affected us all, which influences the point that there are a lot of consequences. Antony then talks about the conspirators actions. ‘This was the most unkindest cut of all,’ he says. He says this, because Brutus and Caesar were such good friends, it was the most unkindest cut because Brutus betrayed Caesar. There is a triple emphasis used here from the words ‘most’, ‘unkindest’, and ‘all’. By using these words, Antony shows a great deal of how much Brutus deceived Caesar. When Antony first talks to the crowd, it is obvious how much he is...
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