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Sharon Lee 10/13/10 P: G
Act III, Scene II Speech Analysis ³Nothing is so unbelievable that oratory cannot make it acceptable.´- Cicero, Paradora Stoicorum. The speeches that Brutus and Antony gave out after Brutus¶s death stirred the citizens immensely over a very short period of time. The power of speech made drastic influences. In the speeches of each speaker, they present humbleness, talk of Caesar¶s love for them, ask questions to the plebeians, and show respect to Caesar at the funeral.However, the way those things are expressed are very different and unique to each of the speakers. After Brutus and the conspirators assassinate Julius Caesar, the Brutus comes before the audience to explain the reason for their actions. The citizens wait to listen what Brutus has to say and determine if the incident was justifiable or not. Brutus starts his speech by ³Be patient till the last´ (line 13). This indicates how Brutus is ready to justify his and the conspirators¶ action and persuade them. It also proves how Brutus shows respect towards the people because he does not try to force them to listen to him nor talks to them rudely. He also calls the people ³Romans, countrymen, and lovers´ (line 14), that supports his act of lowliness. However, Brutus also says, ³Believe me for my honor, and have respect to mine honor that you may believe´ (lines 15~16). This confirms Brutus¶s confidence in the honor people have for him. On the other hand, Antony also starts out in a similar way: ³Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears´ (line 82).Ironically, they call the plebeians slightly differently. However, in the whole, they say the same thing except for the fact that Brutus says ³Romans´ first and Antony says ³Friends´ first. This could indicate that Brutus sought the plebeians as true Romans the most, and Antony tried to face them as friends. Brutus calmly tells the people how Julius Caesar loved him, and that Brutus loved Caesar too (lines 20~21). This shows how Brutus is not afraid to admit that fact because he had respect for Caesar, and, he had confidence in his action for it was justifiable in his eyes. He also questions the people in the concern that he might have offended anyone (lines 35~36). He also waits for feedbacks, showing respect in the plebeians¶ opinions. He also uses words such as ³Censure me in your wisdom´ (line 17), that the people are swayed by his humility further. Also, Brutus states: ³ not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved
Rome more´ (lines 23~24). He shows his great love for the people by saying this. In effect, the people love Brutus more as they listen to him. Nevertheless, Antony also shows humbleness many times during his speech. Interestingly, Antony¶s lowliness is shown when he mentions how the conspirators and Brutus especially, are ³noble´ (line 86) and ³honorable men´ (lines 91, 163) several times. Ironically, Antony¶s plan is not to portray the conspirators as honorable men, but as the opposite of that. Therefore, Antony gives the conspirators such honorable titles repeatedlyto show contrast in the title ³noble men (line 165)´ and their actions. The questions Antony asks are for the purpose to get feedbacks, but to stir up the plebeians¶ minds. Antony is sneaky in how he actually presents the question: Are they really noble men? Antony shows humbleness again when he lowers himself: ³ I am no orator, as Brutus is, But as you know me all, a plain blunt man...´ (lines 229~230). Nevertheless, Antony is in fact a very good orator for he lets the people know what he wants to say by not even mentioning his real intensions in a sly and cunningly. The people, however, do not realize the sneaky intentions, but are fooled and provoked emotionally by Antony¶s wordings. Both Brutus and Antony shows respect for Caesar in the funeral. Brutus shows this by letting Antony, Caesar¶s favorite friend and follower, speak at the funeral despite the risk (lines 63~64).By doing so, Brutus also shows Antony respect and positive attitude of acceptance. However, Antony does not think the conspirators¶ action was justifiable, and uses his respect for Caesar to show how they are unjustified for murdering such a great honorable man as Caesar. First, Antony questions the plebeians if they thought Caesar was really ambitious when Caesar actually refused the crown thrice (lines 99~106). Then, he describes how Caesar loved Rome so much and if he read Caesar¶s will to the plebeians, it would make them mad (lines 153~158). Also, Antony mentions Caesar¶s past heroic deeds like the victory over Nevii (line 185). He says this for he knows that the people had once all praised and loved Caesar for his victory and accomplishments. This supports Antony because the glorious things Caesar did still remains in the citizens¶ mind, which turns them emotionally especially right after Caesar¶s death. Antony also brings upthe great love Caesar had for Brutus that Antony portrays Brutus as ³Caesar¶s angel´ (line 193). Lastly, Antony reads them Caesar¶s will that contained facts that Caesar would give seventy-five drachmas to every Roman citizen (line 256); not only that, but also Caesar¶s arbors and new-planted orchards (line 262). Since these praises are not for Antony but for Caesar, it provokes the people more for it is not
Caesar who blabbers his own nobility, but it is Antony who does it in the respect and honor for Caesar. Brutus and Antony loved Caesar. Nevertheless, they seek Caesar¶s power in different aspects. They both give very good speeches thatpresent humbleness, talk of Caesar¶s love for them, ask questions to the plebeians, and show respect to Caesar at the funeral. However, the unique characteristics of each of them work differently with the plebeians. Brutus¶s stoicism works to question the people logically, but the following Antony¶s emotional confession overpowers it. The crowd that makes the final decision is eventually swayed by the overwhelming sentiment at the end.
References McManus, Barbara F. "Julius Caesar: Historical Background." vroma.rhodes.edu. vroma. N.p., 2009. Web. 18 Oct. 2010. Packer James. King's visualization lab. n.d. King's Visualization Lab, n.d. Electronic. October 17th, 2010. Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Julius Caesar. Eds. Barbara A. Mowat and Paul Westine. New York: Simyon Schuster Paperbacks, 1992. Print. Sir Thomas Browne. University of Chicago, n.d. Web. 17 Oct. 2010.