William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar Essay

1436 words - 6 pages

Rhetorical strategies are perhaps one of the oldest corrective rules introduced on the human race. Rhetoric is the study of impressive writing or speaking as a means of communication or persuasion. In William Shakespeare's very famous play "The Tragedy of Julius Caesar," Marcus Brutus and Mark Antony give a speech at Julius Caesar's funeral. Both speakers introduce themselves to the crowd in their own unique way with the usage of the three different rhetorical strategies; logos, ethos, and pathos, therefore arousing in the Roman crowd greatly distinct emotions and reactions. Antony's speech proved to be the most effective. He was able to turn the easily swayed crowd against the "honorable" conspirators, and he was able to portray Caesar as a non-ambitious, caring and truly honorable Roman man. In order to accomplish all of his objectives, Antony used a strong combination of pathos, logos, and ethos rhetoric in his speech.
The rhetorical strategy Antony took hold of in order to changed the crowd’s emotions through persuasive argument was pathos. Pathos is a strategy that uses emotional appeal to the audience to persuade them into agreeing with the speaker. Antony uses a variety of devices like imagery, repetition and a number of rhetorical questions to express his emotions to the plebeians. Antony refers to the Romans as “friends, Romans, countrymen,” and he tell them he,”come[s] to bury Caesar, not to praise him" (3.2.80-84) while introducing himself to the crowd. Knowingly at that point, Brutus was to them an "honorable" man. Antony makes sure that he does not allow his emotions to take over and destroy his real intentions. He addresses the plebeians as "Friends" with the purpose of persuading them into believing that they were equal, and that he just wanted to say farewell to his passed, and dear friend, Caesar. Antony also uses pathos such as when he tells the crowd that, "If [they] have tears, prepare to shed them now." ( ). In saying this, Antony gets to the emotional side of the crowd. He is trying to make the crowd feel sorry for wanting Caesar dead, and is successful at doing so. Antony uses pathos in a number of different ways throughout his speech. Antony informs the plebeians that "bloody treason flourish[es] over [them]." (3.2.193) This connotation along with the tone in which it is told creates a feeling of sadness, and gave the audience a vision of the event. This growing emotion in the commoners (affected by Antony’s usage of pathos appeal) makes the respect and honorable view they had for Brutus and the conspirators slowly fade more into nothing more than the want for revenge. Therefore, Antony’s use of pathos proved effective.
The usage of the rhetorical strategy logos, was also a powerful turning point in Antony’s eulogy. Logos is an act of persuasion by the use of reasoning using deductive and inductive reasoning. As his speech develops, Antony begins to plant the seed of doubt and anger in the plebeians’...

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