Antony's funeral oration shows the power of persuasive speaking as he turns a hostile audience into true believers for his own purposes. Antony employs several persuasive techniques in his speech, including emotional appeal. After first claiming that his intention is not to praise Caesar, he says, "He was my friend, faithful and just to me." Antony's love for Caesar is an emotion with which the audience can identify. From that point forward, Antony's speech points out...
Antony's funeral oration shows the power of persuasive speaking as he turns a hostile audience into true believers for his own purposes. Antony employs several persuasive techniques in his speech, including emotional appeal. After first claiming that his intention is not to praise Caesar, he says, "He was my friend, faithful and just to me." Antony's love for Caesar is an emotion with which the audience can identify. From that point forward, Antony's speech points out many of Caesar's acts that had benefited them as Roman citizens. He reminds them of their former love for Caesar. He tempts them by mentioning Caesar's will, hinting that Caesar had been generous to them.
Antony then employs another persuasive technique, anecdote. As Antony stands beside Caesar's body, he recalls the first time he saw Caesar put on the mantle that now covers him, ripped and shredded by the assassins' daggers. In this anecdote, Antony mentions it was the day that Caesar had defeated one of Rome's fiercest enemies. Using Caesar's body as a dramatic prop, Antony points out the tears in Caesar's cloak, relives the assassination from Caesar's point of view, and finally pulls away the cloak to reveal Caesar's mutilated corpse. Playing upon the crowd's new pity for Caesar, Antony then directs them to mutiny.
Throughout this speech, Antony very effectively uses rhetorical questions, repetition, and verbal irony to sway his audience. His insistence that "Brutus is an honorable man" takes on a tone of powerful sarcasm when juxtaposed against Caesar's good deeds and Brutus' betrayal of him. Antony returns again and again to this increasingly sarcastic observation. Antony's masterful use of the rhetorical question can be seen in this passage from his speech:
You all did see that on the Lupercal
I thrice presented [Caesar] a kingly crown,
Which he did thrice refuse. Was this ambition?
The answer to Antony's question within this context clearly is understood, driving home his contention that Caesar was slain for no good reason. As a speaker, Antony demonstrates he is a master of persuasive techniques, including emotional appeal, anecdotes, repetition, verbal irony, and rhetorical questions. He also employs figurative language to greatest effect: Brutus, he points out with irony, was "Caesar's angel."
Julius Caesar Essay: Marc Antony’s Power of Persuasion
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Marc Antony's Power of Persuasion in Julius Caesar
In William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, although Marc Antony is allowed to make a speech at Caesar's funeral, he must not speak ill of either the conspirators or Caesar. Antony was infuriated with Caesar's assassination, and wants to seek revenge on his killers as well as gain power for himself in Rome's government. He must persuade the crowd that has gathered that Caesar's murder was unjust, and turn them against Brutus and Cassius. He tries to stir his listeners' anger, rousing them into action and yet say nothing bad about his enemies. Marc Antony uses several persuasive devices in his speech, which allows him to successfully convince the citizens of Rome to turn…show more content…
Because Antony cannot speak negatively about the conspirators, he uses verbal irony and repetition in his speech to say one thing, but make the audience believe the opposite. The tone of voice he uses in his speech is one indication that he does not mean what he says. When Antony calls Brutus and Cassius "honorable men," he uses a sarcastic tone to show that they were actually not very honorable. Again and again he repeats the phrase "honorable men," and each time the irony is more powerful. Antony connects the audience's new belief that Cassius and Brutus were not honorable to his message that they should not mutiny. He says, "O masters, if I were disposed to stir/Your hearts and minds to mutiny and rage,/I should do Brutus wrong and Cassius wrong,/Who (you all know) are honorable men" (III.ii.133-136). The crowd thinks that the conspirators were not honorable, therefore they believe that mutiny would be acceptable. To gain the full effect, Antony repeats that the crowd should not mutiny five times, so they lose the main point of his message, and only remember from the indignation in his voice that mutiny is a possible solution.
Antony appeals to his audience's emotions: horror, sadness and anger, to persuade them to his view. Antony enters with Caesar's body and shows his lamentation over his death, which reminds the plebeians what a horrible deed Brutus committed.