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Julius Caesar Essay: Mark Antony As The Genius Of Julius Caesar

1300 words - 5 pages

Mark Antony as the Genius of Julius Caesar

Mark Antony - the guy is a genius.  He gives the most powerful and emotional speech ever conjured up by a human mind.  He gets this powerful emotion from the pain of the loss of his friend, Julius Caesar.  In Shakespeare's play about the ill-fated Roman ruler, a band of conspirators plot to kill Julius Caesar.  They succeed in doing so, and Caesar's best friend Antony is infuriated.  However, he manages to keep his cool, until he is allowed to speak at Caesar's funeral.  Brutus, the leader of the conspiracy, attempts to win the popularity and support of the crowd, and he does so with a speech full of glittering generalities.  His speech sounded good, but really meant nothing.  The people favor Brutus until Antony takes the stand and delivers the cold hard facts, turning the mob of people into an angry stampede.  The persuasive techniques that were used by Antony helped him to gain the crowd's support.  If he did not use these techniques, Antony would simply be carried off the stage and thrown into the mob.  The techniques that he used (to make his speech persuade the mob to help him) were: the fact that he acknowledged the opposing argument, his slowly rising emotional expression, and the use of a simple refrain that gets more and more sarcastic each time around.

            Antony must acknowledge the opposing argument, because it helps him to show the crowd that he does not have a selfish or one-tracked mind.  "The noble Brutus hath told you Caesar was ambitious.  If it were so, it would be a grievous fault." (Act III, Scene ii, 79-81)  Although the crowd knows it, Antony says that Brutus said that Caesar was ambitious.  Why?  Antony restates what Brutus said to make a very powerful comeback.  He uses "Brutus's voice" to have an argument with himself.  It increases the effectiveness of a speech to use this method of "debating with himself."  "...and grieviously hath Caesar answered it.  Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest (for Brutus is an honorable man, so they are all, all honorable men."  (Act III, Scene ii, 82-85)  Antony is simply paying his respects to Brutus, to show (to the crowd) that he is truly a noble and honorable man.  That helps the crowd to sense Antony's honesty.  It also creates the illusion that Antony is on Brutus's side, because his tone sounds as if Caesar's death was for the better.  "I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke, but here I am to speak what I do know." (Act III, Scene ii, 102-103)  Here Antony goes again, respecting what Brutus said before he took his stand.  He tells the crowd that he does not mean to steal the support, but to deliver the cold, hard facts.  Those words sound honest and unselfish, and that wins the undivided attention of the crowd.  Acknowledging the opposing argument is a persuasive technique that lays a foundation for a speaker to build on, and Antony took advantage of this crowd-winning method.

            A slowly rising...

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