"Julius Caesar" Brutus and Mark Antony Speech Comparison Essay
597 WordsMay 24th, 20133 Pages
English 10 Pre-AP 1st
28 February 2013
Speech Analysis The speeches given by both Brutus and Mark Antony in William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Julius Caesar are very persuasive to the audience that they are given to, but rhetorical devices were used in different ways in order for each to have an effect on the people of Rome. In Brutus’s speech, he uses devices such as rhetorical question and antithesis to convince the Romans that he and the conpirators did a good deed by killing Caesar. In Mark Antony’s speech, he sways them to believe that Caesar did not deserve to die, and that the conpirators were the real enemies by using rhetorical devices like rhetorical question and apostrophe. Both speeches were very…show more content…
Brutus said that they had to kill Caesar because he was ambitious. Mark Antony used questions like “You all did see on the Lupercal, that I presented him thrice a kingly crown, which he did thrice refuse: Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?” and “When the poor have wept, Caesar hath cried: Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?” to imply that Caesar was not ambitious at all. Mark Antony also uses apostrophe, or the turn from an audience to a specific person that is either absent or present, real or imaginary. It is used in the line “O judgement! Thou art fled to brutish beasts, and men have lost their reason” to emphesize that the Romans were foolish to listen to Brutus’s reasoning as to why the conspirators killed Caesar. The reaction to Mark Antony’s speech was more than that of Brutus’s. The citizen’s began to rally together to take down the conpirators, and vowed to kill every last one of them. In The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, rhetorical devices are commonly used to persuade the audience. During the speeches many devices were effectively used to convince the Romans to choose the side of the argument being presented. Mark Antony’s speech ended up being more effective than Brutus’s due to his use of pathos throughout to help his point be made that Caesar did not deserve to
The basic difference between the funeral speeches of Brutus and Antony is that Brutus, characteristically, appeals to reason and logic, while Antony, characteristically, appeals to emotions. Brutus is an introverted, solitary philosopher, and his speech to the citizens is totally in character. He explains his reasons for killing Caesar. He is also a trained orator and delivers a sort of model of classic rhetoric. This is particularly obvious in the balanced sentences he uses in his opening remarks.
Hear me for my cause,
and be silent, that you may hear. Believe me for mine
honor, and have respect to mine honor, that you may
believe. Censure me in your wisdom, and awake your
senses, that you may the better judge.
Brutus is a rational man and believes that other men can be persuaded by reason. He is anxious to justify himself. His speech is full of the word "I." He never once mentions Cassius or any of the other conspirators. His major character trait is that he is a thinker. He expects other men to be thinkers too, because we all tend to judge others by ourselves.
Antony, on the other hand, is an extrovert and a hedonist. Throughout Shakespeare's Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra, Antony is characterized as a man who loves pleasures of the senses. This, of course, includes lots of wine drinking, and drinking liquor is antithetical to thinking. Whereas Brutus loves to think, it would seem that Antony is an escapist who doesn't like to think at all. His main character trait is that he is guided by his feelings. He expects other men to be guided by their emotions too--and in this he shows a much better understanding of people than Brutus. Antony appeals to the citizens' feelings right from the beginning. He does this easily, because he really does have strong feelings about the death of his friend Julius Caesar. He loved Caesar, he hates the conspirators, he wants revenge--and he also wants to save his own life and to achieve a position of power in the new order which will have to take form after the elimination of Julius Caesar. Here is only one example of the emotionalism in Antony's speech:
You all did love him once, not without cause;
What cause withholds you then to mourn for him?
O judgement, thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And men have lost their reason. Bear with me;
My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar,
And I must pause till it come back to me.
Antony is not giving a formal speech. Here he actually breaks down and weeps. Pretty soon he has this whole mob of rough, tough men crying with him.
O, now you weep, and I perceive you feel
The dint of pity. These are gracious drops.
Kind souls, what weep you when you but behold
Our Caesar's vesture wounded? Look you here,
Here is himself, marr'd, as you see, with traitors.
According to Plutarch, on whom Shakespeare relied heavily for the incidents in his play, it was when Antony displayed Caesar's shredded and bloody cloak that the citizens were moved to mutiny. This is just one more example of the way in which Antony wisely appeals to emotions rather than logic. When the mob tears the unfortunate Cinna the poet to pieces just because he has the same name as one of the conspirators, the mob is demonstrating their irrationality.
Brutus' speech seems cold, stiff, formal, schooled, and rehearsed. No doubt Brutus planned it ahead of time because he knew what was going to happen. Antony couldn't have rehearsed his own speech because the assassination took him completely by surprise. Antony's speech is extemporaneous and highly charged with emotion. These two men's speeches reveal their characters. Brutus is bookish and doesn't really like or understand other people, especially the common people. Antony is athletic and fun-loving, and he understands other people because he spends much of his time consorting with them. The citizens respect Brutus but they identify with Antony as one of their own. Brutus made a terrible mistake when he agreed to allow Antony to address the Roman citizens at Caesar's funeral.