Marc Antony's Use Of Rhetorical Strategies In Julius Caesar

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The Tragedy of Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare gives a creative and artful interpretation of the political affairs surrounding the assassination of the famed Roman leader Julius Caesar. While many historic accounts surrounding this story vary in opinion as to Brutus’s true motives to lead the conspiracy, this particular play views Brutus as a tragic hero who did what he saw fit for the greater good of Rome. After Caesar is killed, both Brutus and Marc Antony, Caesar’s right hand man, give speeches about Caesar’s legacy and the purpose of his assassination. Brutus says that their cause was just, while Marc Antony tries to stir the Romans’ anger against the conspirators. Marc Antony’s speech was much more effective in spreading the notion …show more content…
Significantly, Marc Antony and Brutus make use of the rhetorical strategy pathos, which appeals to the audience’s emotion and seeks to evoke emotional response, in order to gain support. Brutus asks, “Who here is so base that would be a bondsman?... / Who is here so rude that would not be a Roman? If / any, speak for him have I offended. Who here is so / vile that will not love his country” (JC. 3.2.)? Significantly, Brutus means that whoever disagrees with him or is angry about the assassination is not a true Roman citizen. He asks if those in opposition are the same as those who would rather be slaves, or who hate the republic of Rome. This incites fear into the Romans, who do not want to be seen as traitors to their country and in turn agree with Brutus. Marc Antony takes a different approach to his strategy in order to make the people obsessed with hearing Caesar’s will. Marc Antony orates, “Let but the commons hear this testament-- / Which, pardon me, I do not mean to read-- / And they would go and kiss dead Caesar’s wounds / And dip their napkins in his sacred blood…” (JC. 3.2.). To emphasize, Marc Antony implies that Caesar is so generous in his will, that the people would mourn so greatly at his passing and seek justice for his murder. In response, the Romans beg to hear the will of Caesar, which reveals that he has left all his private property to …show more content…
Importantly, both Marc Antony and Brutus make use of the rhetorical strategy logos, which appeals to the reason of the audience and speaks to evoke a rational response. Brutus asks, “Had you rather Caesar were living and / die all slaves, than that Caesar were dead, to live / all free men” (JC. 3.2.)? In other words, Brutus is asking whether the people would rather have Caesar as tyrant over them or Caesar dead while remaining free. Logically, the people would agree that from Brutus’s standpoint, is is better that Caesar is dead. However, Marc Antony again counters Brutus’s claims of Caesar’s ambitious and recounts, “I thrice presented him a kingly crown, / Which he did thrice refuse: was this ambitious? / Yet Brutus says he was ambitious…” (JC. 3.2.). Significantly, the people now believe that logically, Caesar was not as ambitious as Brutus claims, seeing as he refused all the power of Rome three times. By now, most people in the crowd have made up their minds and are convinced that Caesar was simply a victim of a cruel conspiracy. Marc Antony’s strategy was more effective because his logical strategy was more specific than Brutus’s and recalled an event that every Roman remembers. With this in mind, it is no wonder that the Roman people turned against the conspirators and sought justice for the assassination of Julius

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