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Julius Caesar By William Shakespeare Essay

2586 words - 11 pages

In the play Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, Mark Antony is depicted as a better leader than Brutus, due to his cunning use of rhetoric when addressing the plebeians after Caesar’s death. This essay will be divided into two sections to explore the ways in which Antony is depicted as better leader. The First section will contextualise the extracts used for analysis, and compare Brutus’s pedestrian speech with Mark Antony’s impressive oratory. This will be done by defining what rhetoric is, and how it is used by Antony to win over the plebeians in comparison with Brutus. The second section will use examples taken from Machiavelli’s The Prince, in order to establish that Mark Antony is depicted as a better leader.
Noble Brutus is swayed by Cassius in order to murder Julius Caesar who is about to be crowned king. Cassius makes Brutus believe that the people of Rome will be enslaved under the leadership of Caesar and Brutus is the one who should save the plebeians. Cassius forges letters to make it seem that the people of Rome are in outcry for Brutus to save them which he takes up as his duty. The conspirators, namely, Brutus, Cassius, Casca, Metellus and Decius meet up at Brutus’s residence in order to plot to kill Caesar for the good of Rome on account that he is being ambitious. They kill Caesar at the Capitol by inflicting 33 wounds in his body with Brutus inflicting the final blow. This creates much chaos in the capitol and Mark Antony, a noble friend of Caesar, knows that his life might be in danger. Antony sends his servant to soften the conspirators towards him. Antony enters after Brutus says that his actions of killing Caesar will be explained to him, and confirmed that he will not be harmed. Antony confesses that he indeed loved Caesar although he loves Brutus too, and asks the reasons for the murder of Caesar. Brutus explains that Caesar was ambitious and Antony accepts that reason. He then takes the hands of the conspirators which are smeared with Caesars blood, to show his loyalty towards their purpose. He asks Brutus if he could give Caesar a proper funeral. Although Cassius tells Brutus not to grant Antony permission to speak at the funeral, Brutus says that it would not be precarious, as he will address the plebeians first and state that he has granted Antony permission.
Now that the extracts have been contextualised, the definition of rhetorical will be explored as this is what Antony uses which portrays him as a superior leader. Rhetoric is the ability to persuade an audience using artful speeches or an enthralling writing style (Auger 262). It was a vital part of study during the Early Renaissance time in Europe, being included in the syllabus at universities which Shakespeare made use of (Auger 262). According to Auger, Brutus presents an inadequate speech to the plebeians in Act 3 of the play, while Antony’s speech is more alluring (262). The following sections will analyse the ways that Antony persuades the plebeians...

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