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Autor: anton 31 December 2010
Words: 870 | Pages: 4
Mark Antony's Speech
Throughout Shakespeare's masterpiece, Brutus makes many decisions that lead to his own downfall. He refuses to make an oath among the conspirators, he declines the other conspirators when they propose to add Cicero to their secretive group, he also refuses to kill Antony because they would then be portrayed as â€œbutchersâ€, but the biggest and most grave mistake he makes is when he makes the decision to overrule Cassius's opinion and allow Mark Antony to speak at the late Caesar's funeral. Although Brutus devises strict rules that Antony must follow, Brutus's plan is overthrown when Antony uses devices within his skills as a speaker to win the crowd over and turn them against the conspirators.
Brutus stated to Mark Antony prior to his speech, "You shall not in your funeral speech blame us,"(III, ii, 245). Mark Antony does not fail to adhere to those conditions. To win his audience over to his side, he slyly uses rhetorical questions in reference to his late friend. For example, when Brutus previously stated that Caesar was too ambitious, Antony asked the crowd, "I thrice presented him a kingly crown,/ which he did thrice refuse: was this ambition?" (III, ii, 98-99). This helps to convince the crowd that Brutus was wrong when he had spoken earlier about Caesar being ambitious and for that being their reasoning for his murder.
Obliging to Brutus's requests, Antony not only never spoke ill of the conspirators or called them out as butchers. He even went to such lengths as to â€œcomplimentâ€ the conspirators, referring to them four times as â€œhonourable menâ€. Although Mark Antony was not technically telling the crowd that they were wrong to commit the assasination of Caesar, in the context and since he was determined to seek revenge for the murder of his dear friend, it is clear that the words â€œhonourable menâ€ were spoken with an obvious hint of sarcasm. The fickle crowd was easily overturned by Antonyâ€™s sarcastic humor, and it enraged them deeply to have had their leader taken away.
In addition to enraging the fickle community with his ironic references to the "honourable" conspirators, Mark Antony also manages to further vex the crowd by telling them that he shouldn't reveal Caesar's will to them, and then allowing them to get to a point when they are utterly begging him to read it aloud. He then reveals that they are all Caesar's heirs and that he has left in his will seventy-five drachmas to every Roman citizen. At this point they are already on Mark Antony's side, ranting and hooting on about the conspirators saying, "They were villains, murderers: the will! read/ the will." (III, ii, 157-158). Reading the will to let the crowd believe that Caesar was never going to become a tyrant and was only trying to ensure the care and well-being for all Roman citizens.
Lastly, Mark Antony, in his final attempts to ensure that the fickle crowd was completely won over, used the wounds upon Caesar's own dead body to rile up the crowd and make them as thirsty for revenge as he himself was. He addresses** Caesar's mantle, comparing from the first time he saw Caesar wear it, and then he brings them back to the present state of the mantle, drenched in blood from Caesar's stab wounds. To emphasize the trust that was betrayed between all conspirators, especially Brutus, and Caesar, Antony points out the wounds where each of them potentially stabbed Julius Caesar. To ensure that the crowd lost all respect for the once beloved Brutus, Antony placed a certain emphasis on the wound inflicted with the dagger of Brutus by saying, "For Brutus, as you know, was Caesar's angel: / Judge, O you gods how dearly Caesar loved him! / This was the most unkindest cut of all;". By placing emphasis on the betrayal that took place between Brutus and Caesar, showing the crowd the wounds upon Caesar's dead body proved to be potentially the most useful device in overthrowing Brutus's previous speech to which the crowd had replied by shouting, "Caesar's better parts/ Shall be crown'd in Brutus."(II, ii, 53-54)
In conclusion, by using all these devices within his speech to enrage the crowd and to provoke their desire to seek revenge against the murders of their fallen leader. Brutus had underestimated Mark Antony by thinking that he could not speak so eloquently as to bring the crowds to their feet and send them on a hunt for the conspirators and Brutus himself. Mark Antony stayed within the restrictions of the stringent rules laid down by Brutus, but managed to twist his words enough to get his audience to understand his true feelings. Had Antony not made such an incredibly moving speech as he did, the whole course of the story may have been changed and perhaps Caesar's death would never have been avenged.
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