Rhetorical Analysis of Antony’s Speech
In Julius Caesar, Mark Antony is given the opportunity to speak at Caesar’s funeral by the conspirators the murdered him. Through his words, Antony seeks to cause dissent and let mischief reign over his audience, the plebeians of Rome. Antony uses rhetorical questioning to provoke the crowd into a fit of rage over Brutus’ words. Antony disguises his true intents in his speech, putting him at a moral high ground over Brutus. He finally uses ambiguous meanings in his words to hide his feelings about both Caesar and Brutus. In lines 1-4, Antony introduces himself to the crowd. “Friends, Romans, Countrymen”, is what he addresses the plebeians as, using pathos here to tie himself closer to the commoners hearts. Antony then begins a series of lies or misleading to the crowd by saying “I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.”, in all truths, Antony is there solely to praise Caesar and denounce those who killed him. Immediately after telling the crowd that he wishes not to praise Caesar, Antony suggests that some good died with Caesar by reminding the crowd that “The evil that men do lives after them, (and) the good is oft interred with their bones”. From lines 5-8, Antony begins his dissection of Brutus’ logic and reasoning behind the assassination of Julius Caesar. “The noble Brutus hath told you Caesar was ambitious”, says Antony. The repeating use of the word ambition and the questioning of whether Caesar truly had the ambition the conspirators labeled him with becomes a key point in Antony’s speech, which he uses to rouse the crowd around him. Antony continues to question Brutus’ logic here with “If it were so, it was a grievous fault, and grievously hath Caesar answered it.”. By bringing up the question of If, Antony has placed doubt of the honorable Brutus’ words in the crowds minds. From lines 9-18, Antony uses the idea of Brutus being an honorable man to great irony, as his inflection proves that he thinks otherwise....
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