A Comparison of the Speeches Made by Brutus and Antony Over the Body of Caesar
“Liberty! Freedom! Tyranny is dead!”
So claims Cinna as Caesar is fallen. Brutus his trusty friend killed
for Rome while Cassius his jealous counterpart killed over hate. The
conspirators brought his body to the market place to show the people.
Over the corpse, two speeches were made. In this essay I will compare
and contrast these two speeches.
Both of the speeches have similar have similar beginnings. Brutus
starts off with
“Romans, countrymen and lovers!”
He starts with “Romans”, because in his eyes he feels his country is
more important then his lovers, Caesar. He realises how much the crowd
feel pride in their country, so manipulates their weak spot, in the
hope that they will see his point of reason. This type of language is
formal and elaborate, and he speaks as though he is talking to the
senate. Antony, however, begins with
“Friends, Romans, countrymen”
By calling the crowd his friends, he is considering himself as though
he is on their level, rather than elevating himself like Brutus.
Through this, familiar and direct language, the crowd feels closer to
Antony, because they realise that it is like speaking to their friend,
rather than speaking to the senate, the way Brutus makes it. Antony
realises the crowd react more to a ‘friend’ rather than someone from
the senate, so continues to adhere himself to the crowd later, when he
steps down and wants them all to physically move closer, gather round.
The two speeches both end in with a pause. Brutus pauses, because he
has just asked a rhetorical question, and knows no one will answer
him. Antony pauses to gain the crowd’s sympathy in a display of
emotion for the death of Caesar, his ‘dear’ friend. Through this he
manages to manipulate them easily and sway them to his side, as he
realises that the crowd will see a poor, broken-hearted man, overcome
by his pain and anger for the loss of a dear friend, murdered
ruthlessly, and they will be deeply touched.
The styles of both speeches differ greatly. While Brutus’ is in prose,
Antony uses verse. This indicates that Brutus is primarily concerned
with the content of his speech, whereas Antony on the other hand
recognises the importance of sound and rhythm of the words in such a
speech, so he chooses his words very carefully.
It is worth saying that the crowd are like a flock of sheep, and can
easily be swayed. Proof of this is at the beginning of the play, when
at one moment they support Pompey, and the next Caesar. More recently
though, after Brutus’ speech, the first citizen claims
“This Caesar was a tyrant”
And immediately after Antony’s speech, the second proclaims
“Caesar has had great wrong”
This just demonstrates the quick swing of mood the crowd...