Marc Antony Speech

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Mark antonys speech analysis
(dramatic convention- (dramatic irony, tragic irony, harangue) William Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar is famous for its speeches. One of which is the speech I am going to analyze. It is the one told by Mark Antony after Caesar’s death. This play was written by Shakespeare to warn the people of what could happen if the monarch is killed. Mark Antony’s is one of the most important, If not the most important, parts of the play. It is the turning point of the play, because it changes the outcome of the assassination. The reader thinks that the conspirators will get their way, but Antony’s skill in oration changes that. In this essay, I will show how Mark Antony uses rhetorical devices to persuade the people of Rome.

Irony, or emotional appeal is a device used, although it is not used a lot, it sets up the mood of the speech. “I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him”. This is ironic because Antony ends up praising Caesar because he says “He was my friend, faithful and just to me”. The previous line also has an effect on the emotions of the crowd as it makes them feel sorry for Antony, and Caesar. Another example of irony in this speech would be when Antony calls Brutus “Caesar’s Angel”. He continues by saying “O you gods, how dearly Caesar loved him!” This also makes the reader feel sorry for Caesar, revealing him as a trusting, and innocent man, but it also shows that Antony wants the people of Rome to believe that Brutus betrayed Caesar.

The most obvious rhetorical device used in this speech would be repetition. Antony states a good thing that Caesar has done and then backs it up with “…But Brutus said he was ambitious; / And Brutus is an honorable man”. The repetition of these two lines over and over while revealing something good Caesar had done for Rome and its people, makes the word “honorable” seem sarcastic, and gives it a negative meaning, while giving the word “ambitious” a positive meaning. Repeating “But Brutus said he was an honorable man” even though Antony has already proven that Caesar is not ambitious makes Brutus seem foolish for even thinking that Caesar was ambitious. Repetition of something also emphasizes it, and in this case the repetition emphasizes the words honorable and ambitious, and leads the crowd to believe what Antony says, but at the same time creates doubt about what Brutus had just said. All of Caesar’s previous acts that Antony talks about, “He hath brought many captives home to Rome/ Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill:”, makes Caesar seem like a generous man. Antony also uses Caesar’s will as a tool to sway the crowd. He tells the crowd that Caesar has put them in his will, again making Caesar seem generous, and making the crowd feel guilty for trusting Brutus, but also creating desire in the crowd; the desire for Antony to read the will. This makes Antony the crowds’ friend. Guilt is a powerful emotion, as it can make people do things they do not want to do. This speech is a perfect example of that. Another powerful rhetorical device used in this speech, would be the use of rhetorical questions. Antony uses these to involve the crowd, and get them thinking about what he had just said, even though he has just given them the answer. The rhetorical questions make the crowd believe Antony even more because they believe that he is right. When he asks a question like “Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?” while having said one of Caesar’s good deeds before, proving that Caesar was not ambitious. Antony also uses small anecdotes of the past to make the audience feel sorry for Caesar; another way of driving the audience to where he wants them. Antony is Devious, and knows how to get what he wants, so he very conveniently says that he has to pause: “My heart is in the coffin with Caesar/And I must pause till it come back to me”. This pause makes the crowd feel sorry for him, but also gives them a chance to contemplate what he had just...
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