’s Speech Essay, Research Paper
Mark Antony’s Speech
In William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Antony confronts a crowd that is against him and on the side of the conspirators who just killed Caesar. In order to turn the crowd to his side; Antony uses rhetorical questions, appeals, and irony in his speech to the people. Without breaking his word not to wrong the conspirators, Antony indirectly persuades the crowd that the conspirators were wrong in killing Caesar and that Caesar’s death should be avenged.
The use of rhetorical questions in Antony’s speech causes the crowd to question whether or not what the conspirators claimed to be true. For example, when Antony asked the crowd, “I thrice presented him a kingly crown, which he did thrice refuse. Was this ambition?” (I: 24-25). This reminds the crowd that Brutus said that Caesar was ambitious. In effect, they wonder if Brutus was actually right or not. He also asked, “You loved him once, not without cause; what cause withholds you then to mourn for him?” (I: 30-31). This question reminds the crowd of how their lives were before Caesar was killed. Then, the crowd questions Brutus tricked them. Antony goes on to ask, “And being men, hearing the will of Caesar, it will inflame you, it will make you mad. ‘Tis good you know not that you are his heirs; for if you should, O, what will come of it?” (II: 26-27). This makes the crowd interested in what Caesar left them in his will. The way Antony speaks of it makes the crowd look bad for ever being on the side of the conspirators. Rhetorical questions are utilized in the speech and help the unjustifiable excuses of the conspirators become clear.
The rhetorical appeals, logos, pathos, and ethos, used in Antony’s speech, turn the crowd to the side of Caesar. An example of logos is “He hath brought many captives home to Rome.” (I: 16). By saying this, Antony proves that Caesar did many things for his country and not all for himself. This refutes Brutus’ idea that Caesar was ambitious. Antony also uses pathos such as, “If you have tears, prepare to shed them now.” (III: 1). In saying this, Antony gets to the emotional side of the crowd. He is trying to make the crowd feel sorry for wanting Caesar dead, and he is successful in doing so. “The stones of Rome to rise and mutiny.” (IV: 21), shows how Antony puts ethos to use. Antony is trying to tell the crowd to get even with Brutus and the rest of the conspirators, which to them seems fair. Antony knows it is not right to do such a thing but the crowd does not. These appeals help make Antony’s speech more affective and help to move the crowd towards Antony’s side.
Irony is a noteworthy application that Antony uses in his speech. For example, “Good friends, sweet friends, let me not stir you up to such sudden flood of mutiny.” (IV: 1-2). Antony’s soul purpose is to make the crowd angry. Antony knows that by saying this it will upset the crowd even more, which in fact is exactly what he is trying to do because the conspirators were wrong and he wants them suffer along side of Caesar. “And being men, hearing the will of Caesar, it will inflame you. It will make you mad.” (II: 24-25). This is also ironic because Antony does want to make them mad. He wants to make the crowd anxious to hear the will. “I come not, friends, to steal away your hearts.” (IV: 7). Antony did want to steal their hearts and uses this to make the crowd more at ease. He wanted to change
their minds about the conspirators. Antony uses irony in his speech and it helps the crowd understand and see his viewpoints.
Through this use of rhetorical questions, appeals, and irony, Antony does turn the crowd against the conspirators. This shows the effectiveness of the way he used these devices. In persuading the crowd to be on Caesar’s side, Antony displays the power of these rhetorical devices. I love you Ms. Getzlaff.