The Rhetorical Questions In Shakespeare's Julius Caesar

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William Shakespeare, in his tragedy Julius Caesar, uses the rhetorical devices of a rhetorical question, repetition of the word “ambitious,” and a direct reference in Antony 's speech to persuade the plebeians to rebel against the conspirators. Antony appeals to the pathos, ethos, and logos of the audience to get them to exile the conspirators. Shakespeare uses a rhetorical question in Antony’s speech to get the plebeians to notice the wrongdoings of the conspirators and excite them to revolt. Antony discusses the economic dominance and vigor that Caesar brought to Rome, and with sarcasm he states, “Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?” (3.2.99). The act of giving away money is a selfless act and someone who is ambitious will not be philanthropic.…show more content…
Antony is not looking for an answer, he is making the plebeians notice how they might have been wrong about the way they view Caesar. This is the point of his rhetorical question. This contributes to the pathos of the audience because the rhetorical question pulls on their conscience. Their conscience is questioning whether the murder of Caesar is justifiable, since he was not at all ambitious according to Antony. This allows for Antony to take advantage of the easily pliable minds in the audience and flip their introspections to vanquish the conspirators. Secondly, Shakespeare uses the repetition of the word ambitious in Antony’s speech to instigate the plebeians, and fill their minds with enough doubts to get them to rebel against the conspirators. Talking about how Caesar refused the crown three times at the Luperical, Antony proclaims, “Which he did thrice refuse; was this ambition. / Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;” (3.2.95-96). Bringing up the Luperical is a strong point. It is still fresh in the memories of many
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