Julius Caesar Rhetoric

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Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare is a relatively historically accurate portrayal of Julius Caesar’s death and the aftermath. Written around 1599, Julius Caesar is based on true Roman History, although to some extent, it is apparent that Shakespeare added some details for literary flavor. Julius Caesar is considered to be a tragedy, one that receives much praise for its effective, enjoyable writing, going down in history as a world renowned classic. The characters Cassius, Brutus, and Antony can be described as having a “silver tongue” in the play. The overall theme of Julius Caesar is debatable, but what seems to be most evident is the idea that ordinary people are easily swayed by effective rhetoric; thus, they can be changed into a dangerous…show more content…
Brutus was able to calm the crowd by using his speech-giving skills. He does this in a variety of ways, the most effective being his usage of rhetorical questions: “Had you rather Caesar were living and die all slaves, than that Caesar were dead, to live all freemen?” (JC. 3.2.24-26). This question is deceiving, as the situation is not as simple as he presents it in this piece of the speech. This is referred to as the straw man fallacy, as Brutus misrepresents an argument to make it easier to attack. Brutus knows of his misrepresentation, but phrases his sentences in such a way that he can convince the plebeians into directing hate towards their beloved Caesar. Brutus also makes the insinuation that any who disagree with him are not true…show more content…
He, too, is able to use clever wording to sway the opinions of the plebeians. All throughout his speech, he repeats the phrase “Brutus is an honorable man.” (JC.3.2.96). He does this because he is unable to accuse Brutus of being dishonorable per Brutus’s wish. Antony also uses metaphors throughout his speech to sway the opinions of the plebeians: “My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar” (JC. 3.2.116). This is to show the plebeians Antony, too, feels sorrow for Caesar’s death. This call to their emotions is another tool Antony uses to sway the plebeians. Another thing Anthony did to sway the plebeians was to level himself with them by calling them friends: “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears.” (JC. 3.2.82). Also, by using the term “lend”, it gives the impression that they are equals, and humbles the plebeians. Antony’s familiarity with the crowd is definitely something that contributed to the crowd turning against Brutus. In conclusion, Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare can be analyzed to the extent of each word. It is important to analyze literature and find the bigger pictures. All of the pieces of evidence provided point to the one prominent theme of the play, which is that clever rhetoric and wording can easily sway anybody into something dangerous. Next time you listen to a public speaker, watch out for “silver
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