Mark Antony's Use of Rhetorical Appeals

Topics: Roman Republic, Julius Caesar, Mark Antony Pages: 3 (1022 words) Published: December 15, 2013
The Corruptor
The paralyzing powers of speech often engulfs the human mind and corrupts it to the will of the speaker. Omnipresent in society, rhetorical appeals, the appealing powers of speech, are made to project the speaker’s thoughts and ideas of a subject matter. From ordinary conversations to commercial advertisements to public addresses, appeals are present to influence an audience’s mindset. The appeal of Logos creates compelling evidence for the audience to develop conclusions in the speaker’s favor while the appeal of Pathos relies on morals, values, and emotions to create a response from the audience. Combined with the appeal of Ethos to establish credibility in the speaker, the appeals are potentially powerful enough to cause everlasting impacts on society and revise history itself. Throughout history, great orators such as Hitler, Martin Luther King, and other political leaders have used the power of speech to transform people’s thoughts and ideas. This practice has dated back to ancient times to Mark Antony at the funeral of his friend and mentor, Julius Caesar. In William Shakespeare’s Tragedy of Julius Caesar, Mark Antony establishes himself to his audience, the plebeians, with Ethos then uses Pathos to pull on the audience’s heartstrings and sway the plebeians’ beliefs with Logos in an attempt to make the audience doubt Brutus’s justification of killing Caesar because he was ambitious. Initially, Antony uses Ethos to establish himself as a trusted and loyal figure to gain respect and trust of the plebeians. To gain the citizens’ attention, Antony begins Caesar’s funeral speech by reassuring them that he only “[came] to bury Caesar, not [to praise] him” (3.2.83). By only intending to bury Caesar, Antony convinces the audience to listen to his words because they are spoken with bitterness toward Caesar. With Antony in agreement with their newly instilled anger, the plebeians begin to trust Antony’s words even though his bitterness was not...
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