Ethos And Figurative Language In Shakespeare's Julius Caesar

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Following Caesar's death, a funeral is held at which both Brutus and Mark Antony speak. Each attempts to sway the crowd towards their own cause, and both are successful to some degree. However, Antony’s use of rhetorical strategies, figurative language, and tonal shifts allows him to incite enough outrage at the conspirators that Cassius and Brutus are forced to flee the city. The largest component in Antony’s ability to turn the people of Rome against the conspirators is his use of ethos, logos, and pathos. Antony first uses ethos when he establishes credibility and relatability to the crowd by referring to them as his “friends” and “countrymen.” This portrays Antony as someone who has experienced the same things as those in the crowd and …show more content…

Had Antony condemned the conspirators and defended Caesar's actions, the Roman people would never have believed in his credibility and would not put weight in anything he said. The decision to subtly chip away at the crowd’s trust in Brutus and Cassius is a clever use of ethos on Antony’s part, as he is able to build up his reputation while bringing down that of the conspirators’. After showing the crowd that he can be trusted, Antony begins to use logos to deconstruct the hateful image of Caesar that the conspirators have put into the minds of the people of Rome. He tells the crowd how, “When the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept,” which appealed to the fact that the crowd was composed of primarily the lower class. From a logical standpoint, it did not seem to the Romans that a …show more content…

Brutus used ethos frequently throughout his speech, as the people of Rome believe he is honorable and trustworthy. As a result, Antony must diminish Brutus’s honor in the eyes of the crowd in order to make them turn on Brutus. Throughout the speech, Antony says, “Brutus is an honorable man,” each time after giving evidence that Caesar was a good, caring leader. However, the line became increasingly sarcastic each time he said it. As Antony continued to list Caesar’s good deeds, the crowd began to question whether Brutus truly was honorable or whether he had lied about Caesar to free himself of guilt. Later in the speech, Antony uses the repetition of the word “wrong” to make the crowd question whether Cassius and Brutus deserve to go unpunished. Antony says, “I will not do them wrong; I rather choose to wrong the dead, to wrong myself and you, than I will wrong such honourable men,” which implies that Caesar, himself, and the crowd would be the ones to suffer from lack of justice just because Cassius and Brutus are “honorable.” The repeated use of the word “wrong” gives it a sarcastic tone that highlights the insanity of that fact that the Roman citizens should have to suffer just because those who murdered Caesar are considered

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