In Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Antony captures the minds of the commoners. Antony's funeral speech shows a good understanding of them. He uses different language like irony and manipulation and he uses many gestures like descending into the crowd and using dramatic pauses. He also uses props like Caesar's wounds and the will to sway the crowd. All of which drives them into turning against the conspirators, even Brutus.
The first way Antony shows a good understanding of the commoners is by using different language. He uses irony and manipulation to win all of them over. Throughout his speech Antony manipulates the commoners by calling them "honorable men", but the crowd feels a sense of sarcasm each time he calls them that. Then he says, "You all did love him once, not without cause; / What cause withholds you then to mourn for him?" (913). This rhetorical question goes against Brutus by questioning his speech in which he so greatly demonized and demeaned Caesar. Now the crowd is starting to turn against the conspirators and follow Antony. After watching Brutus’ speech, Antony knows he is dealing with a very hostile crowd. He uses irony and manipulation to get the commoners into rising against the conspirators in rage and mutiny and avenging Caesars death: “O masters! If I were disposed to stir / Your hearts and minds to mutiny and rage, / I should do Brutus wrong and Cassius wrong…” (914). When he says this, he lies. He makes the crowd think that he is noble for saying that he does not want to do Brutus and Cassius and all the other conspirators wrong. Antony is getting into the minds of the commoners by using the different language towards them.
When Antony is speaking, he uses many gestures to keep swaying the commoners. He makes a clever use of dramatic pauses which allows his words to sink in among the crowd. The crowd feels sorry for Antony when he pauses to cry in the middle of his speech. “My heart is in the