Comparing Brutus' and Mark Antony's Funeral Speeches in Julius Caeser by William Shakespeare
Julius Caeser is a well known play written by William Shakespeare. It
is based on the life and after life of the great roman leader, Caeser.
One of the most important and memorable scenes in the play is when
Brutus and Mark Antony give their speeches at Caeser's funeral. In
this essay I will be comparing to two, noting the key speech writing
elements, and finally concluding which I think is most effective.
The first speech we hear is that of Brutus. In his speech he aims to
justify his reasons for killing Caeser, and also hopefully gain the
backing of his fellow Romans.
In Antony's speech he is trying to prove that the conspirators are
wrong to have killed Caeser, but he has the harder job because he is
speaking by permission of Brutus, therefore has to discretely drop
hints that this is the case.
A speech writing element that both Brutus and Antony use is emotive
language. The difference is that Antony genuinely feels emotion for
Caeser's death, whereas Brutus is merely pretending. Brutus refers to
himself as 'a dear friend of Caeser's'. This makes Brutus seem
honourable, because he killed a good friend of his 'for the good of
Rome'. Since Antony is actually upset about Caeser's death, I find his
emotive language to be more effective. He says 'my heart is in the
coffin there with Caeser.' This demonstrates just how much of a friend
Caeser was to Antony.
In both speeches we see elements of hyperbole. This exaggeration of
language shocks the listener. Brutus says 'had you rather Caeser was
living and die all slaves?' Of course this would never be the case,
but it was effective in this speech, because the audience were naïve
enough to believe it. Antony also uses hyperbole. He said 'when the
poor hath cried, Caeser hath wept.' Again Caeser wouldn't literally
have cried, although he may have been upset. This exaggeration helps
to create the image that Caeser wasn't so bad after all.
Rhetorical questions are a very influential persuasive device, and can
be pinpointed in both speeches. Brutus uses them to see if the
listeners are proud to be Romans, 'who here is so vile that will not
love his country?' This gives the audience something to contemplate
on, and they all say 'non Brutus non.' Brutus gets his desired answer.
Antony uses rhetorical devices also. He says 'did in this Caeser seem
ambitious?' He is asking the crowd whether they think that refusing
the crowd is ambition. Both of these questions are effective because
they involve the audience in their speeches, by asking them an
In both speeches, the writers use 'threes', this is where they string
three words together, thus making them memorable. Brutus uses
'friends, countrymen and lovers' when he refers to...