The Use Of Rhetoric In Julius Caesar

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In the words of author Ray Comfort, “Rhetoric, which is the use of language to inform or persuade, is very important in shaping public opinion. We are very easily fooled by language and how it is used by others.” It is only human nature to be influenced by others that we idolized, which is why man has developed a means to exploit natural tendencies and supercede those influenced by the masters of rhetoric. Throughout all of history, it can be seen that it is much more beneficial to be articulate and persuasive than to have the desirable political standpoint when it comes to swaying an audience or party. Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar demonstrates that rhetorical knowledge is more important that policies or beliefs in gaining political power.
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He begins by using logos to counter Brutus in a sarcastic manner. He presents instances in which Caesar was not ambitious, but since Brutus says he was, and Brutus is respectable, it must have been true (III.ii.93-108). Antony’s logic causes the audience to question everything that they had previously been told by Brutus, and he begins to portray Caesar as humble and loving. Antony, realizing that the people have been easily persuaded, begins to use pathos to get an emotional reaction and turn the hearts of the people. He tells them that he doesn’t want to make them angry, which sets up a raging response to hearing the will of Caesar (III.ii.135-156). Though he has continued to refer to Brutus and the other conspirators as honorable men, the people are now angry with them and call them evil murderers (III.ii.163-168). At this point, Antony has resorted to only emotionally charged arguments to pull the people into his view and feel betrayed as Caesar did. He tells the audience to be ready to cry, and proceeds to fabricate valiant stories of Caesar with strong imagery to anger and sadden the commoners, despite a lack of any logical reasoning behind what he is saying (III.ii.181-207). He closes by humbling himself, stating that he has no power to sway their thoughts and that only Brutus has such power (III.ii.228-235). After Antony is done, the people run through the streets and burn the houses of the conspirators, and now trust Antony as opposed to their previous allegiance to Brutus. Once again, the person that they have come to respect and believe has shown no political authority, but through rhetoric, Antony has painted himself as trustworthy and become
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