English 10 Honors
October 22, 2013 A War with Words: The Speeches of Marc Antony and Brutus Since man developed the gift of speech, he has cultivated it and groomed his silver tongue to be a weapon to smite his enemies. This ability to use words as weapons is one Marc
Antony uses to turn the tides against Brutus. In William Shakespeare’s
Julius Caesar, two of the most famous and profound speeches of all time were crafted by Marcus Brutus and Marcus
Antonius on the day of Julius Caesar’s death. Marc Antony and Brutus are both dear friends of
Caesar, but they stand on opposite sides of this impromptu funeral match. William Shakespeare took what information he could from Plutarch’s earlier writing and used it to bring about his own masterpieces that represented these Romans’ stance. These speeches are born out of need, one for self preservation and one for revenge. Antony, in his desire for revenge, emerges victorious in the delivery of his speech. While Brutus’ speech occupies the same place of honor and is as memorable, Antony manages to remain as much a winner with his modern day audience as his audience all those years ago.
Marc Antony effectively uses ethos, pathos, and logos through his use of rhetorical questions, parallelism, and repetition to sway the crowd in ways that Brutus could not.
Marc Antony’s speech is superior to Brutus’ speech in his use of ethos by using a ruse to pretend to be impartial. His impartiality, though false, is useful in swaying the crowd in his favor more so than Brutus’ claims to honor. They achieve this through their use of the parallelism and repetition. These devices are present in Brutus’ speech as seen when he admonishes, “Believe
me/ for mine honor, and have respect to mine honor” (Act III, ii, 1415). This quote reveals
Brutus’ ethical appeal, demonstrating his aristocratic status in society and the intense respect that the citizens of Rome shared for him. He further utilizes ethos when he proclaims, “If there be any in the assembly, and dear friend of /Caesar’s, to him I say that Brutus’ love to Caesar /was no less than his” (Act III, ii, 1921). This quote reveals the special bond between these two respected Romans and just how difficult it must have been for him to plot his kinsman’s death.
Antony, however, instead of pleading that he should be trusted for his honor, uses the benefit of stating that he is an outside observer and is only presenting evidence so that the public is knowledgable. Antony also has the noteworthy benefit of using visual aides such as the body and will of the beloved Caesar. Those are a part of his use of ethos as the body is used to support his claims giving him a greater sense of credibility. He uses ethos in his famous quote,“Friends,
Romans, countrymen lend me your ears;/ I come to bury Caesar, not praise him.” (Act III, ii, 73
74). This demonstrates his knowledge of the people’s scepticism of politicians so he appeals to them using a third party stance. In addition to this, he sarcastically exploits repetition to refute
Bruts’ claim of honor among his fellow coconspirators, “ For Brutus is an honorable man,/ So are they all, all honorable men”( Act III, ii, 82 83). In addition to their approaches using ethos,
Antony speaks to the crowd using more logical statements and arguments, seen through the logos that is prevalent in his speech.
Another significant aspect that Antony’s speech contained that was absent in Brutus’ speech is the appeal to the audience’s already existing logic or reason. While Brutus relies on the peoples’ respect of his honor to win and his confidence in his own twisted, deluded logic,
Antony uses real facts and concrete arguments that undermine Brutus’ previous hold.With such
truths as his evidence, it is clear that it was Caesar who allowed Rome to live in comfort,
“(Caesar) hath brought many captives home to Rome/ Whose