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Persuasion

Uploaded by EVJordan on Mar 22, 2004

Persuasion

“The evil that men do lives after them, / the good is oft interred with their bones… (Act 3, Scene 2, Line 76).” Simply put, after a man’s death, only the evil that he did is remembered; the good is often forgotten. However, Antony’s persuasive speech at Caesar’s funeral is one to be remembered. After Brutus’ oration, the plebeians thought Caesar was a tyrant and that Brutus did right to kill him. Antony convinces the plebeians that Caesar’s death was unmerited, and that the conspirators should be punished. In his speech, Antony used several persuading devices. Antony used specific evidence to back up his opinions. He used verbal irony and rhetorics to invert what Brutus said. The speech was filled with loaded words- words with powerful connotations that affect the emotions. Antony used repetition to make the plebeians remember what he was saying. Antony also appealed to the people’s self-interest, because the people cared most about themselves. He used props to give the people a vision to go with what they were hearing. And last, Antony used suspense to keep his listeners curious. Antony’s speech was a model of success.

Specific evidence supported Antony’s opinions. Antony reminds the audience of when Caesar brought to Rome many captives, whose countrymen paid their ransoms; thus filling the public treasury. He adds that Caesar was sympathetic towards the poor. “When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept (Act 3, Scene 2, Line 92).” Antony also recalled when Caesar thrice refused the crown. This specific evidence shows the plebeians that Caesar was caring and generous towards them. Antony supported the fact that Caesar’s death was undeserved.
Most effectively, verbal irony supported Antony’s cause. The strength of Antony’s speech was that it simultaneously undermined the conspirators but appeared deferential to them. Antony does not want to come out and say “Brutus is an idiot, let’s go kill him!” because the crowd would not support him right away. Instead, Antony resorts to subtle, yet effective, sarcasm. Antony states that Brutus and the conspirators are honorable men, but he means the opposite. When delivering these lines, Antony uses a sarcastic tone that inverts what Brutus said. Antony uses this...

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Uploaded by:   EVJordan

Date:   03/22/2004

Category:   Julius Caesar

Length:   4 pages (896 words)

Views:   2207

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