Essay on On the Use of Language by Mark Antony in Julius Ceaser

Submitted By Stephanie-Whang
Words: 732
Pages: 3

English ¾ Honors
October 13, 2014
Words by Marc Antony Are Carefully Constructed Half-Truths
“Et tu, Brute?”- 3.1.77
This is one of the famous lines from the tragedy Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare. The play takes place in Rome while still under the rule of Julius Caesar, who is the new leader and intends to become the tyrant of Rome. The senate however, disagrees with him, and, for the sake of the people, they stab Caesar. At Caesar’s funeral, both Brutus and Antony speak for him. Antony, who was told not to discredit the conspirators, doesn’t explicitly do this. Antony uses pathos, nomos, and loaded language to turn the people against the conspirators without breaking his agreement with the conspirators. Antony uses nomos to appeal to the plebeians by bringing himself down to their level. When about to present Caesar’s body to the crowd he asks “Shall I descend? And will you give me leave?” (3.2.158.). While he is literally bringing himself down to their level he is also giving the plebeians the option of listening to him. He is trying to say that he is not so above them that he would not take their opinion into consideration if they did not wish to listen to him speak. On line 219, he calls himself a “plain, blunt man”. Again, he is making himself seem more humble before the commoners. If he acted like he was absolutely superior to them, they would not listen to him while he implies action against the senators. Antony makes himself one of the people. Brutus did not treat the citizens as equals, he treated them like citizens. Antony treats them like Romans and so they hold his account of the conspirator’s reasons in higher regard. Antony not only uses nomos in his oration, but pathos as well to appeal to the plebeians’ emotions. Antony starts out by saying that he is not there to praise Caesar but recounts deeds of his great services to Rome. He tells the people of all that Caesar had been, a great, kind and, overall, unambitious leader. He then indirectly scolds them for not loving Caesar, immediately moving on, and blindly accepting Brutus’s words. On line 93, he says that Caesar cried with the people which is basically saying that he felt the pain the citizens felt to further prove his point. In his oration, Antony keeps saying that he means not to discredit Brutus and the senators because they are all honorable men. But throughout the oration, the repetition of ‘honorable men’ begins to have the opposite meaning to the plebeians, as he originally intended. It plants a seed of doubt in the people’s mind so they ask themselves if Brutus and the other senators are really to be trusted at