The Tragedy Of Julius Caesar By William Shakespeare

1001 words - 4 pages

The Tragedy of Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare

In The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, by William Shakespeare, the story revolves around the various individuals who would vie for control of the Roman Empire. All of these individuals exhibit various attributes, values, and techniques in order to facilitate this goal, from Cassius’ intelligence, Brutus’ charm and honor, to Antony’s gift to drive a crowd. And although all three desire to become the new strongman leader of Rome, it is Antony who succeeds gaining the most control through his own specific talents, most specifically noted at Caesar’s funeral. At the funeral scene, Antony exhibits several qualities beneficial to a Roman leader, such as oratory and appeasement skills. The dialogue depicted in Act III, scene ii provides a valuable and insightful perspective on how these values were desirable for leadership in the late Roman Republic.

One of these important virtues necessary for rule is the ability to move a large crowd with impressive orating skills. This ability is seen particularly by Brutus in his first speech, as he manages to move the Roman crowd from fear at the assassination to disdain of the now late Julius Caesar. As Brutus spoke to the masses, he made sure to cleverly weigh his loyalty to Caesar to his loyalty to Rome, as he claims, “not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more” (III, ii, 23-24). He even more cleverly sets the crowd with himself and against Caesar as he dares those loyal to Rome to challenge his judgement: “Who is here so vile that will not love his country? If any, speak, for him have I offended. I pause for a reply” (III, ii, 33-36). Thus, while playing on the crowd’s loyalties and using his love for Rome and Caesar as justification, Brutus exemplifies his own ability to lead with words. However, Antony succeeds in surpassing Brutus’s arguments with his own clever words. While Brutus manages to turn the crowd against Caesar, Antony turns them back towards Caesar and against Brutus and the conspirators, but in a more subtle, yet effective manner. As Antony names off Caesar’s numerous exploits, he always does so with the intent to oppose Brutus’s, yet he always ends each instance with “yet Brutus says he was ambitious, And sure he is an honorable man” (III, ii, 102-103). Not only does he sway the crowd with this selective choice of words and subtle influence, he also puts on an impressive show of emotion, even breaking down and weeping; “My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar, and I must pause till it come back to me” (III, ii, 116-117). Antony also uses other mechanisms of persuasion, not only in clever wordplay and emotion but also in reverse psychology, as he tells the crowds, “I am no orator, as Brutus is, but as you know me all, a plain...

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