Julius Caesar Essay: Brutus's And Antony's Speeches

1052 words - 4 pages

Brutus's and Antony's Speeches in Julius Caesar


William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar is a tragic story of the dog and the manger.  After Caesar is killed Mark Antony, a good friend of Caesar, plots to revenge his bloody death.  He knows there is strength in numbers, and through a speech at Caesar's funeral, Antony plans to win the crowd of Rome and turn them against Brutus and the other conspirators.  Cassius is one of the leading conspirators and is weary of Antony; Brutus is confident that there is nothing to fear, but he speaks before Antony at the funeral just to be safe.  These two speeches, vastly different in message but similar in delivery, move the emotions of the people.  Brutus's and Antony's speeches differ in length, have similar ways of keeping the crowd's attention, and differ in tone. 


            The first and most obvious difference in the two funeral orations is their lengths.  Brutus's speech is composed of 403 authoritative words; whereas Antony's speech makes an immense impact with 1097 words.  Brutus is over-confident and only says what he needs to in order to get his point across.  He does not expect anything more than a tear-filled eulogy from Antony, therefore shortening his explanation of Caesar's murder.  Brutus is also having some regrets about his murderous deed, and he does not want to sound as if he is defending himself or his motives, simply interpreting them.  Antony, on the other hand, has much more to say than Brutus anticipates.  His speech is split into six lengthy sections.  First, Antony counters what Brutus says by proving that Caesar was not ambitious.  The next two parts deal with Antony's finding of Caesar's will and Antony giving a little taste of what it contains.  Then, Antony sways the crowd's emotion from curiosity to pity when he tearfully reminisces about Caesar's past.  That pity is quickly turned to anger and spite for the very same Brutus that the mob cheered just a short time prior.  Just as the mob is ready to storm the houses of the conspirators, Antony brings them back to the will and tells them what Caesar has left for them, the people of Rome.


            Despite these drastic differences, the two orations are similar in a way essential to their effectiveness.  Brutus and Antony demand audience participation by asking questions and making comments they know will spark fire in the hearts of the Roman people.  After providing his explanation for the extermination of a dangerously ambitious tyrant, Brutus questions the people as to whether or not he has offended anyone or if anyone disagrees with his ideals.  He is such an authority figure, though, and he knows no one will stand up to him because the people find safety within the mass.  He dares...

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