Essay on Love and Brutus

Submitted By crunchycake
Words: 4092
Pages: 17

Pathos as a Weapon of Motivation in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar
In debates, politicians often use three main means of persuasion that were divided by Aristotle into ethical appeal (ethos), logical appeal (logos), and emotional appeal (pathos). William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar demonstrates the use of these rhetorical appeals, and in particular the power of pathos -- the orator’s emotional connection to his audience -- through the characters Brutus and Mark Antony. Both of these characters use all three appeals to motivate the common people of Rome to either join the side of the conspirators of Caesar’s death, or the side of avenging Caesar. While Brutus and Mark Antony both treat soldiers, slaves, and underlings with respect suggesting they were each genuinely interested in the overall welfare of Rome, Antony connects with the masses on a far more emotional level and is therefore better able to understand and motivate the common people. Throughout the play, both Brutus and Antony display kindness that endears the common people to them. The only character loyal to Brutus up to the time of his death was his servant, Lucius. While one can argue that it was Lucius’ job to serve Brutus, Brutus’ kind and understanding nature towards Lucius paved a stronger bond than just servant and master. When Brutus wants Lucius to play him a song on his instrument the night before the battle against Cassius and Antony, Lucius shows he is tired but will do it by saying “It is my duty, sir” (4.3. 302). Brutus replies by telling Lucius that he should “not urge thy duty past thy might/ I know young bloods look for a time of rest” (4.3.303-4). Clearly Brutus sees Lucius as a human being worthy of his consideration, even though he is a servant and Brutus has no obligation to be kind to him. Antony displays the same benevolence in the final battle when a soldier who claimed to be Brutus is brought to Antony to be killed. Antony notes that his deed was a good one because he was being loyal to Brutus, and spared the soldier saying “I had rather have/ Such men my friends than enemies” (5.4.29-30). Antony could have easily had this soldier killed, which is what his men expected would happen, but Antony saw the soldier as more than a nameless warrior. Antony saw this soldier’s good will as that of a noble man’s and spared his life. Brutus and Antony had a similar approach in their respective interactions with the masses of Rome, but their ways of motivating them to join their side differed. Brutus believed he could motivate with ethos and logos, assuming his good word and logical arguments would convince, while Antony knew that he could manipulate the people in an emotional manner and come out as the superior motivational orator even before the speeches were given. Brutus believed his reasoning for the murder would motivate the common people to accept it as the right action. When arguing with Brutus about his agreeing to speak first at Caesar’s funeral, Cassius says about Antony “Know you how much the people may be moved/ By that which he will utter?” (3.1.258-59) Even Cassius knows that Antony is capable of connecting with the masses at an emotional level and that they will be easily motivated to join his side against Brutus’ rational words, particularly as he would be speaking last. Brutus tries to assure Cassius that although he will speak at the pulpit first, he will “show the reason of our Caesar’s death” (3.1.262). Brutus did have compassion towards the masses but mistakenly believed they were going to be swayed by simple reasoning; he believed they would be motivated to support the conspirators because his word and explanation would be enough. Brutus believed the common people would just trust him. Meanwhile, Antony intended to motivate the plebeians to turn against the conspirators in his speech at the funeral by means of emotional sway. Antony knew that he needed the common people on his side, which would require him fomenting…