- Term Papers and Free Essays

Julius Caesar - the Effects of Persuasion

Essay by   •  August 28, 2016  •  Term Paper  •  1,643 Words (7 Pages)  •  1,174 Views

Essay Preview: Julius Caesar - the Effects of Persuasion

Report this essay
Page 1 of 7

Medha Prabhu

Mrs. Erwin

10 Honors English, Period 5

19 May 2016

The Effects of Persuasion

Unfortunate events and tragedies usually occur after an epic fight or some rebellion, but the words used to fire up the crowd usually drive the revolution. In William Shakespeare's tragedy Julius Caesar, Marcus Antonius (Antony) effectively uses logos to persuade the people of Rome to believe that the conspirators wrong his friend, Julius Caesar, and to convince them to avenge Caesar's death. Antony utilizes his mastery and enthralling rhetoric powers to infuriate the Roman people against Brutus and the other conspirators. During his funeral speech, Antony takes advantage of specific evidence, repetition of several phrases, and props to deliver his message to the Roman people without breaking his promise to Brutus directly. Antony draws the Roman people in through specific evidence.

Antony logically uses specific evidence to trap the people of Rome, to sway them to believe that Julius Caesar illustrates a noble character. At the beginning of Caesar's funeral, Brutus gives a speech regarding the reasons why Caesar's murder favors Rome. He argues that Caesar has too much ambition and that all the people of Rome would be slaves under his rule. All of the Roman citizens immediately agree with, as well as commend him for, his thoughts and ideas. Though the people seem to approve of Brutus' speech, Antony manages to alter the opinions of the Romans successfully. Antony says, "When the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept" (III.ii.98), to prove to them how Caesar shows neither ambitious nor tyrannical characteristics. He continuously describes different instances where Caesar shows no display of ambition to the crowd, to prove that the conspirators murder a noble person for no reason. By presenting the people with several specific pieces of evidence, Antony gains much support from the Romans, in proving that Brutus' reasoning and statements show falseness. Antony also says, "thrice presented him a kingly crown, / Which he did thrice refuse. Was this ambition?"(III.ii.102-103). Antony logically convinces the Romans that Caesar cries for the poor, and persuades them that no ambitious ruler would care for their people in the way that Caesar cares.

As a result, Antony obviously wins over the hearts of the people and impacts them more than Brutus. After Antony stops speaking for a moment, the citizens respond by saying, "Marked ye his words? He would not take the /crown; / Therefore ‘tis certain he was not ambitious" (III.ii.120-123). Another citizen says, "Poor soul! His eyes are red as fire with/ weeping" (III.ii.124-125). Most of the citizens believe Antony's statements because most of them remember Caesar rejecting the crown three times and crying for the poor. All the Romans begin to take his side and slowly become angered by the conspirators' immoral actions towards Caesar. Antony logically uses specific evidence to persuade the people of Rome that Brutus and the other conspirators commit a huge mistake by killing Caesar.

In addition to specific evidence, Antony also wisely utilizes repetition of several phrases and words throughout his funeral speech. When a person repeats a phrase or words, the audience listening usually remembers the words and phrases. Not only do they remember it, but they also think about the phrase or words. In Antony's speech, he continues giving evidence on how Caesar does not embody ambitious qualities to deny Brutus' statements and reasoning. After Antony provides specific events where Caesar displays no ambition, he says to the people of Rome, "But Brutus says he was ambitious" (III.ii.93). If he does not state that directly, he asks them, "Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?" (III.ii.97).The citizens begin to question themselves whether Caesar displays any ambition whatsoever. By continually asking them this question, the Romans start to realize that Caesar does not show ambitious characteristics, but in fact, a noble one who helps Rome for the better. Antony uses repetition so that the people understand that the conspirators betray Caesar and that they need to avenge his death. After he contradicts Brutus' statements, he says that Brutus shows honorable traits. For instance, Antony speaks of Caesar crying for the poor and says afterward, "Ambition should be made of sterner stuff. / Yet Brutus says he was ambitious; / And Brutus is an honorable man" (III.ii.99-100). He again uses the phrase when he tells the Romans about Caesar's refusal of the crown, "I thrice presented him a kingly crown, / Which he did thrice refuse. Was this ambition? / Yet Brutus says he was ambitious; / And Brutus is an honorable man" (III.ii.102-103). He repeats the same phrase over and over again when he disproves Brutus' claims of Caesar's ambition. Due to the constant repetition of this phrase, the people think about Brutus and the other conspirators and whether they kill Caesar unjustly.

In effect, Antony successfully convinces the plebeians that Brutus and the other conspirators resemble the complete opposite of honorable. One of the Romans yells, "They were traitors. Honorable men!"(III.ii.166)", which shows that Brutus and the other conspirators represent evil and deceit. Through the use of repetition, the plebeians determine the true qualities of the conspirators and become enraged. A different plebian exclaims, "They were villains, murderers!" (III.ii.168). At this moment, all the Romans switch over to Antony's side, due to the specific evidence given to them and the repeated phrases and words that indirectly show the corrupt and despicable characteristics of Brutus and the other conspirators.

Moreover, Antony shows the crowd Caesar's mantle, especially Caesar's will to infuriate the crowd and cause chaos. Antony first asks permission from the Roman people to descend from the podium to show them the mantle. The people of Rome allow him to and create a circle around Caesar's dead body. Antony also tells them to brace themselves to cry over Caesar's corpse. When Antony shows the Romans the body, the stinking smell and the gruesome, disgusting sight overwhelms the people. He also logically describes the events leading up to Caesar's death as if present there. He links all the conspirators to the holes in the mantle and describes the ache and pain of each stab to make it very personal. Antony says, "Look, in this place ran Cassius' dagger through. / See what a rent the envious Casca made. / Through this the well-beloved Brutus stabbed; / And as he plucked his cursed steel away, /....This was the most unkindest cut of all" (3.2.188-197). He still keeps his promise to Brutus by not saying words against them; however, by relating the conspirators to such a horrible event, it is absurd for the people not to think of the conspirators as terrible.



Download as:   txt (10.1 Kb)   pdf (94.8 Kb)   docx (9.3 Kb)  
Continue for 6 more pages »
Only available on
Citation Generator

(2016, 08). Julius Caesar - the Effects of Persuasion. Retrieved 08, 2016, from

"Julius Caesar - the Effects of Persuasion" 08 2016. 2016. 08 2016 <>.

"Julius Caesar - the Effects of Persuasion.", 08 2016. Web. 08 2016. <>.

"Julius Caesar - the Effects of Persuasion." 08, 2016. Accessed 08, 2016.