Essay on Marc Antony’s Funeral Oration
1470 Words6 Pages
In William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Mark Antony pleads with his “Friends, Romans (and) countrymen” to lend him their ears in an effort to exonerate Caesar from false charges laid against him. The three main conspirators in Caesar’s murder, Brutus, Casca and Cassius portrayed Caesar as an ambitious tyrant to the Roman people. After Caesar was unjustly killed by his friends and comrades, the crowd was persuaded to believe that his death was necessary for the good of the republic. However, Antony’s oration cleverly manipulates the crowd through the use of pathetic appeals, especially enargeia, into rebelling against the assassins and mourning the death of Caesar.
Caesar’s untimely and unnecessary death created a unique rhetorical…show more content…
Marc Antony was given permission to speak at the funeral of Caesar, under the condition that he would not undermine the conspirators. And so, Marc Antony never directly states that Brutus and the other conspirators lied about their murderous motives. Marc Antony was constrained by the inability to publicly show his contempt for the gruesome murder, and so he took a more subtle approach by gradually turning the crowds against the murderers.
Prior to Marc Antony’s oration the crowd had been convinced by Brutus that the death of Caesar was just and warranted. They were led to believe that Caesar was a tyrant and so when Marc Antony ascended to speak they were already hostile to his argument. Crowley and Hawhee state that
members of an audience may hold one of three attitudes toward an issue or a rhetor’s ethos: they may be hostile, indifferent, or accepting. Communication researchers have found that it is easier to move people who care about an issue than it is to influence those who are indifferent. That is, it is easier to bring about a change of mind in those who are accepting or hostile than in those who are indifferent. (212)
Before Marc Antony spoke the crowd called Caesar a tyrant and said “we are blest that Rome is rid of him” (3.2.73). The crowd had been easily swayed to believe the lies concerning Caesar’s ambition, and felt they were indebted to the murderers for freeing them from Caesar’s alleged tyrannical rule. However, after Antony’s
Antony’s skillful ways To be a good public speaker, a person needs a very specific set of skills to deliver a powerful speech. In the play, The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, by William Shakespeare, a group of men conspire to assassinate Julius Caesar. Throughout the play, they succeed in killing Caesar by stabbing him multiple times. The conspirators have to convince the people of Rome that Caesar is a bad man and he had to be killed for the sake of Rome. Another man by the name of Marc Antony, who was a loyal friend of Caesar, comes and turns the tide over to his favor.
He does this by delivering a powerful speech to the people of Rome at Caesar’s funeral. Marc Antony is a skilled orator because he excels at using rhetorical devices such as:ethos, pathos, and logos. One of the many ways that Mark Antony is an excellent speaker is how he uses the rhetorical device ethos. He persuades the crowd by giving them compliments such as, “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears. ” This shows that Mark Antony is getting into the crowd’s heart with his status as a trustworthy man.
Furthermore, Antony is familiar with the crowd, and he knows how to get into their heads. He also persuades them using an ethical argument by saying, “Come I to speak in Caesar’s funeral. He was my friend, faithful and just to me. ” Mark Antony is telling the plebeians that he was close to Caesar and that he knew him very well – that they should believe his word. Mark Antony’s speech was success at persuading the crowd because he used his own characteristics to his advantage (III, ii, 73-86).
Mark Antony was also able to announce an admirable speech because he exposed his apathy towards Caesar using the rhetorical device pathos. He touched the plebeians hearts by saying, “O judgment, 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. ” At this point in his speech, Antony is showing his anger towards the conspirators making the crowd filled with rage. He also shows his sorrow by pausing in the middle of his speech,showing the crowd that he is mournful towards his noble friend Caesar.
He also moved the crowd by speaking about Caesar, “ When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept. ” By stating this he is letting the Romans know that Caesar understood their pain and compassion. Anthony’s remarkable speech was successful because of the way he delivered his emotions (III, ii,92-108). Using logic, Antony was able to affect the crowd over to his side. For example, in his speech , he tells the Romans, “ You all did see that on the Lupercal I thrice presented him a kingly crown, which he did thrice refuse.
Was this ambition? ” By using his debate skills, he is maneuvering the audience into believing that Caesar was not ambitious by stating that he did not want to take the crown every time he presented it to him. Another way to prove that Antony’s arguments were reasonable was when he questions the crowd, “You all did love him once, not without cause;What cause withholds you then to mourn for him ? ” This reminds the crowd of how their lives were before Caesar was killed, making them realize how the conspirators manipulated them.
Antony was able to successfully persuade the crowd by using the rhetorical device logos. Anthony’s speech was magnificent because it contained rhetorical devices. By using ethos he was able to make the crowd consider him truthful. He also conveyed the crowd to rebel and feel sympathy by using pathos. Finally, he was able to completely turn the crowd over by reasoning with them. In the end, Mark Antony was able to convince a large group of people because he contained debate skills like no other.