A Rhetorical Analysis of Julius Caesar

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Smith 1
Abby Smith
Mrs. Crank
Phoenix II Pre-AP/IB/GT 2
24 February 2013
The killing of Julius Caesar was not so much an act of simple brutality as it was a significant turning point in history. The play Julius Caesar, written by William Shakespeare depicts various members of Roman society conspiring to and eventually killing Julius Caesar; subsequently causing chaos to spread in Rome. During their orations, Brutus and Antony employ various strategies in order to receive the crowd’s support in their respective causes. In Brutus and Antony’s speeches both men share the strategy of swaying the crowd. In the middle of his speech, Brutus tries to quell the crowd’s anger because “as [Caesar] was valiant [he] honour him”, and because Caesar was “ambitious”, Brutus “slew” him. While speaking to the Roman citizens, Brutus places equal grammatical constructions near each other, and logically appeals to the crowd by showing a cause and effect for the killing of Julius Caesar. Although his efforts are seemingly effective, it is does not have the lasting impact of Antony’s appeals due to the fact that the roman people are not rational, because their emotions are running high. Antony states that Caesar “hath brought many captives” to Rome, “wept” when the poor cried, and “thrice presented him” a crown which he refused. Antony’s explicit details provide examples of Caesar’s good deeds, which logically appeals to the crowd, and renders Anthony’s sympathy toward Caesar justified. Although Antony also applies logical rhetoric to his oration, his strategy is more effective than Brutus’s because Brutus provided hypothetical details of Caesar’s misdoings, while Antony shares his specific memories of Caesar’s kindness and humility. Therefore, Antony’s strategy suggested Brutus and his fellow conspirators committed an unjust crime toward Caesar, and established a stronger impact on the crowd’s attitude. In addition, Brutus and Antony both share the strategy of using their...
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