William Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” is a tragic story of the dog in the manger. After Caesar is killed Mark Antony, a good friend of Caesar, plots to revenge his bloody death. He knows there is strength in numbers, and through a speech at Caesar’s funeral, Antony plans to win the crowd of Rome and turn them against Brutus and the other conspirators. Cassius, one of the leading conspirators, is weary of Antony; Brutus is confident that Antony will stick to his word and there is nothing to fear, but he speaks before Antony at the funeral just to be safe.
These two speeches, vastly different in message but similar in delivery, moving the emotions of the people. Brutus’ and Antony’s speeches differ in length, but have similar ways of keeping the crowd’s attention. Brutus, being the first speaker at the funeral, uses many techniques to gain the favour of the crowd. He gives a speech full of glittering generalities. Brutus demonstrates a very balanced speech telling the crowd about his love for Caesar while trying to show that he was ambitious and it was a pro to Rome for him to die.
Shakespeare takes advantage of the Roman’s national pride when writing this speech, “Had you rather Caesar were living, and all die slaves, than that Caesar were dead, to live all freemen? ” he uses personal pride and dignity against the people in the crowd, knowing that no one would speak up against him. This differs from Antony’s speak in many ways. “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears” this famous passage, spoken by Mark Antony, starts the well worded, persuasive speech that he had planned to use as his revenge for Caesars death.
Antony is a wonderful example of Shakespeare’s ability to show the effects that an eloquent speaker can have on a crowd. The speech was as powerful as it was partially due to Antony’s skill as an orator, and partially because of the strong rhetorical strategies of appeals to logos and pathos, repetition, irony, style and tone. Antony begins his speech by using the idea from Brutus’ speech that Caesar was an ambitious man. This point Antony used to his full advantage knowing that Brutus had made his only mistake with this topic in his speech.
By not giving the crowd a true reason for Caesar ambition. Antony presents evidence of Caesar’s “ambition,” when he states, “he was my friend, faithful and just to me; but Brutus says he was ambitious; and Brutus is an honorable man. ” Anthony also declares, “He [Caesar] hath brought many captives home to Rome whose ransoms did the general coffers fill,” and then asks,” Did this in Caesar seem ambitious? ” This rhetoric question emphasizes Anthony’s point that Caesar was in fact not ambitious at all.