Brutus vs. Antony
In Shakespeare’s, Julius Caesar, Cassius states that he wishes Brutus could see himself as others see him, so then Brutus would realize how honored and respected he is. Cassius wants Caesar out of any power that he holds so he talks Brutus into killing Caesar. At first Brutus is hesitant towards the idea but after Cassius persuades him, Brutus decides to kill Caesar along with the other conspirators. The men agree that they need to get Caesar out of his home to kill him. They decide to lure him to the Senate. Caesar’s wife begs him not to go but Caesar does not listen to her. When Caesar arrives to the Senate, he talks to the conspirators as they are all bowing at his feet. Then, one by one, they stab Caesar. When Antony sees Caesar dead, he asks why they did it. Brutus replies that he will explain their purpose at his funeral. Antony asks to be allowed to speak over the body as well and Brutus grants him permission. Little does Brutus know that Antony’s speech will turn around and bit Brutus in the butt. At the funeral, Brutus and Antony give their speeches but Antony’s speech is better than Brutus’ speech only because he uses sarcasm. Brutus’ speech is more formal and directed towards the Roman people. In the introduction of his speech, he starts with “Romans, countrymen, and lovers, bear me for my cause, and be silent that you may hear.” (3.2.14) One of Brutus’ main purpose is to convince his listeners that Caesar’s murder is justified. Brutus gives a reasoned prose speech that convinces the crowd Caesar had to die. Then, for reasons that remain questionable even taking innocence into account, Brutus not only yields to Antony but leaves the Senate altogether. Throughout the text he describes Caesar as an “ambitious” man. Calling Caesar ambitious makes it seem that Brutus is only thinking about himself. “As Caesar loved me, I weep for him; as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was valiant, I honour him: but, as he was ambitious, I slew him.” (3.2.21) Antony’s speech is more personal and sarcastic. He starts his speech off with “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears.” (3.2.82) Antony makes an agreement with Brutus before his speech to not blame the conspirators for killing Caesar. However, he manages to turn the mob against the conspirators. Antony’ goal is to persuade the people of Rome to follow him and Caesar, instead of Brutus. Brutus is a respectable man and is himself honorable, but most importantly he has mastered the art of persuasive speaking. Antony states in his speech that "[Brutus] Hath told you Caesar was ambitious" (3.2.86), and then Antony responds with "I thrice presented him [Caesar] a kingly crown which he did thrice refuse." (3.2.111) By doing that, Antony carefully contradicts Brutus' statement that Caesar was ambitious and starts turning the crowd against the conspirators. Throughout his speech Antony calls the conspirators honorable men. He then says, "You all did love him once, not without cause. What cause withholds you then to mourn for him?" (3.2.108) This questions Brutus’ speech from when he betrayed Caesar. This starts to turn the crowd against the conspirators. Antony teases the crowd with Caesar’s will. The Roman people beg for him to read it, but he refuses. Antony tells the crowd to “have patience” and expresses his feeling that he will “wrong the honourable men whose daggers have stabbed Caesar" (3.2.164) if he is to read the will. The crowd is now inflamed with Caesar’s death and turns completely against the conspirators. Antony reveals to the crowd, Caesar's will, in which "To every Roman citizen he gives, to every several man seventy-five drachmas" (3.2.257) as well as land. He then asks the crowd, "Here was a Caesar, when comes such another?" (3.2.269) This questions the conspirators ability to lead. Finally, Antony releases the crowd and utters, "Now let it work. Mischief, thou art afoot. Take thou what course thou wilt." (3.2.249) After this the crowd riots and searches for the conspirators in an attempt to kill them. Even though in his speech Antony never directly calls the conspirators traitors, he is able to call them "honourable" in a sarcastic manner that the crowd is able to understand. He starts out by citing that Caesar had thrice refused the crown, which disproves the conspirators' main cause for killing Caesar. He reminds them of Caesar's kindness and love for all. Next, he teases them with the will until they demand he read it, and he reveals Caesar's 'gift' to the citizens. Finally, Mark Antony leaves them with the question, was there ever a greater one than Caesar, which angers the crowd. Antony uses the "Ceremonial" mode of persuasion in order to convince his audience that Caesar is worthy of honor and praise. Antony must use "pathos" in order to appeal to the emotion of the audience. He must understand the disposition of the audience in order to successfully persuade his audience that Caesar truly was not an ambitious man. This is why Antony’s speech is better and more persuasive then Brutus’ because of how he uses sarcasm in his speech. .