In Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, Mark Antony is a friend and was the right hand man of Julius Caesar. When time came for the death of Caesar, Antony swore allegiance to Brutus and the conspirators, but in truth had deceived them. Brutus had given Antony the right to speak at the funeral of Caesar, but Gaius Cassius had warned against this and Cassius was right to. At the funeral Antony would be the undoing of the conspirators in his funeral oration.
After Brutus had given a reasonable speech convincing the people Caesar had to die for he was an ambitious man, but being naïve he left to many holes in his explanation. This speech temporarily would give protection to him and the conspirators. Antony then enters with the body of Caesar and Brutus leaves the Forum. Antony then begins to give his well-constructed speech, which is a work of rhetorical irony itself. Progressively throughout the ...view middle of the document...
As Antony said, “Did this Caesar seem ambitious?” (Act III, Scene 2, line 93). The dignity of the conspirators represented in the word honorable had gone with each use and these men were now hated for back stabbing such a truly honorable man. The “honorable” Brutus was “Caesar’s angel” and “For when the noble Caesar saw him stab, Ingratitude, more strong than traitors’ arms, Quite vanquished him” (Act III, Scene 2, line 183-188). These men were now painted as crooked by the noble Mark Antony.
Antony shows his skills as a great flexible politician and rhetoric when deceiving the conspirators and giving this speech, but best is how he painted himself a heartbroken man. “My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar,” (Act III, Scene 2, line 108). The emotion set into the people and his charisma helped set in motion his revenge. Antony shows his charisma when he descends into the crowd and becoming one without losing his rhetorical influence on the citizens. “Shall I descend? And will you give me leave?” (Act III, Scene 2, line 162). Antony used syntax to make a clear point that he is a noble and plain, while the wrong men and wrong deeds have been done by the conspirators, “To wrong the dead, to wrong myself and you, Than I will wrong such honorable men” (Act III, Scene 2, line 128-129). Though Antony does not speak wrong of the men, he speaks the truth.
Persuasion is but a craft of manipulation that Antony had used throughout the speech. Antony’s duplicity gave way to his ironic speech in which his use of repetition, syntax, tone, and diction stuck the hearts of the Roman citizens. Antony brought questions to the honor of the conspirators and about Caesar’s ambitions. His masterpiece inspired mutiny and created “Mob Rule”. Antony became the protagonist when he did mark his enemies in Caesar’s blood and his hand for vengeance; it was then that Brutus was no longer the protagonist. The most powerful authority shown in Julius Caesar is through words alone and this had been demonstrated by Antony.