Rhetorical Analysis Of Mark Antony In Julius Caesar By William Shakespeare

965 words - 4 pages

“Julius Caesar” by William Shakespeare is the story of the assassination of Julius Caesar. Two speeches were made after his death, one being by Mark Antony. He uses many rhetorical devices in this speech to counter the previous speech and persuade the crowd that the conspirators who killed Caesar were wrong. Rhetoric is the art of persuasion and these many devices strengthen this by making points and highlighting flaws. Antony uses many rhetorical devices, all of which are used to persuade the crowd that the conspirators are wrong and Caesar did not need to be killed.
Asyndeton is a rhetorical device which eliminates conjunctions in a list. Antony uses this to convey the idea that the list he is making is not complete. It adds drama and rhythm. He opens his speech with “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears” (III.ii.72). Anthony is addressing the crowd as these titles. They are all friendly therefore he is trying to appeal to the crowd. He eliminates the conjunctions because there are many more friendly terms he can address them as. He wants his speech to be personal and is bringing together the social gap between the plebeians [also known as peasants] and him, a person who is higher up in the Roman society. This makes the plebeians believe that he is not talking down to them, but he is talking to them as a friend. The use of asyndeton in this instance makes Antony’s speech more personable and more appealing to the crowd.
Antony uses tautology in his speech in addition to many other rhetorical devices. Tautology is the repetition of an idea in two, nearly synonymous, words or phrases. “The evil that men do lives after them/The good is oft interred with their bones” (III.ii.74-75) is an example of this device. Antony is saying that people and their good die, but the evil they have done will live on. Caesar was a good person, that is what Antony is try to preserve. These two statements both say that. Antony uses tautology to reiterate his point, and to strengthen his argument.
Antony also uses irony, a rhetorical device that relies on the discrepancy between what is said and what is meant, in his speech. “Here, under leave of Brutus, and the rest/(For Brutus is an honorable man,/So are they all honorable men” (III.ii.80-82) is an example of this irony. Antony is not intending to call Brutus and the conspirators honorable. Instead he is stating this to follow the guidelines given to him by Brutus, by not blaming the conspirators (III.i.245). Antony continues to say Brutus is an honorable man all throughout his speech for this reason. Irony hides a point that he is trying to get across, and lets the crowd know that he thinks Brutus was wrong, without saying anything bad about the conspirators.
Antony wisely places rhetorical questions in his speech. These questions are not used to question the crowd as much as make a point. “Did this in...

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