Julius Caesar Rhetorical Analysis Essay

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In William Shakespeare’s tragedy Julius Caesar, Mark Antony uses rhetorical devices such as paralipsis, rhetorical questions, and verbal irony in his speech to the plebeians in order to plot them against the conspirators. During his speech to the plebians, Antony uses paralipsis in order to kindle curiosity and interest in the audience. Antony mentions to the plebians that he had Caesar’s will with him but tells them, “Have patience, gentle friends, I must not read it; It is not meet you know how much Caesar loved you” (3.2.152-153). By drawing attention to Caesar’s will, something Antony desperately wants to show the plebeians, but then dismissing the idea of reading it, Antony uses a type of verbal irony called paralipsis. Antony is aware that the contents …show more content…

By refusing to read the will several times and admitting that what it contains will cause the people to have such a great love for Caesar that knowing he is now dead will be unbearable, Antony ignites curiosity in the people and furthermore, a subconscious feeling of respect and graciousness toward Caesar. Basically, Antony uses Caesar’s will to convince the people that Caesar was a selfless, kind-hearted man and those who killed him should be ashamed and punished for killing an innocent man. Through Antony’s use of paralipsis, he is able to plant a seed of admiration for Caesar and one of hate for the conspirators in the hearts of the plebeians. In his speech to the citizens, Antony also asks many rhetorical questions to cause his audience to pause and reflect on how they really feel, or how Antony wants them to feel, about certain people and events that have recently become important. In one instance. Antony is refuting Brutus’ argument that Caesar was too ambitious and that is why he needed to be assassinated. He brings up the time when Caesar denied the crown several times and asks the audience, “Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?”

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