Julius Caesar Rhetorical Analysis Essay

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Mark Twain, an American writer, once said that “actions speaks louder than words but not nearly as often.” This certainly holds true in William Shakespeare’s play, The Tragedy of Julius Caesar. In this play, after conspirators led by Brutus succeeds in killing Julius Caesar, the dictator of Rome, Mark Antony, Caesar's friend, is given a chance to speak at his funeral. Although through verbal words instead of actions, Antony is able to manipulate the plebeians to seek revenge and revolt against the conspirators. If we examine Mark Antony’s funeral oration, we can see that he persuades the crowd to his side by applying the three rhetorical devices, ethos, pathos, and logos. The first device Antony uses in his oration is Ethos, the appeal to ethics or credibility. For example, in the beginning of the speech, Antony prove his credentials by stating that Caesar “was my friend, faithful and just to …show more content…

For instance, in the middle of the speech, Antony chokes up and tells the crowd that his “heart is in the coffin...with Caesar,/ and... [he] must pause till it come back ”(III, ii, 108-109). By purposely choking up during his speech, Antony obtains the plebeians’ sympathy and makes them feel guilty for betraying Caesar so quickly. The usage of pathos to sway the crowd is clear as Antony appeals to emotions such as guilt and sympathy. In another instance, Antony holds Caesar’s will but refuses to read it. However, later on, Antony intentionally tells the mob that “hearing the will of Caesar...will inflame you/…” and that it is good that “you know not that you are his heirs/…” (III, ii, 145-148). By purposely saying the context of the will, Antony is able to manipulate the crowd to riot against the conspirators and seek revenge for Caesar by appealing to the emotional feeling of anger. By appealing to feelings such as guilt, sympathy, and anger, Antony uses pathos to manipulate the crowd to his

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