Antony VS Brutus
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The conspirators depended on Marcus Brutus for one reason: to justify the murder of Julius Caesar. However after allowing Mark Antony to not only bring in the corpse of their beloved Caesar yet also speak after Brutus during the funeral, it would seem that Brutus’ role in the murder was pointless. Both Brutus and Antony delivered powerful speeches using irony and rhetorical devices but one speech failed to deliver an essential connection with the crowd. Although Brutus persuades the plebeians, Mark Antony manipulates the crowd afterwards.
It is true Marcus Brutus had a close relationship with Julius Caesar, it is also true that he cared and served for Rome. Brutus used this credit and honor to persuade the plebeians; he said “believe me for my honour, and have respect to mine honour…” Brutus then uses both a rhetorical device and a hyperbole to over exaggerate what he believed would have happened if Caesar was not murdered. “Had you rather Caesar living and die all slaves, than that Caesar dead, to live all free men”; Brutus is implying if Caesar was not killed and instead was to go on and be crowned as king, the people would fundamentally be treated as slaves. This accusation supports Brutus’ previous statement on line 23 stating: “… not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more”. Brutus uses the juxtaposition of multiple contrasting ideas to rationalize Caesar’s murder: “As Caesar loved me, I weep for him; as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was valiant, I honour him, but, as he was ambitious, I slew him.” Brutus claims Caesar’s ambition to be the reason of the conspirator’s act of murder. Marcus Brutus believes and persuades the crowd into thinking that the murder of Julius Caesar was for the greater good of Rome.
After capturing the crowd’s attention with the corpse of their beloved Caesar, Mark Antony uses emotion, subtlety and logic to manipulate the crowd’s response to Brutus’ speech. Antony quotes Brutus on being an honorable man, yet after a while this term becomes nothing more of a mordant denunciation. Unlike Brutus, who directly expresses his feelings for Caesar, Antony immediately states on line 83 “I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.” Meaning that Antony was not going to relish in the characteristics or strong points of Caesar; he declares that the plebeians will remember the bad qualities of a person before they remember the good features. Mark Antony quotes Brutus, the “honorable” man, saying Caesar was ambitious but eventually contradicts the accusation by stating “I thrice presented him a kingly crown, which he thrice refused. Was this ambition?” Throughout his speech, Mark Antony uses evidence to rebut Brutus’ allegation of Caesar’s ambition. Antony states “He hath brought many captives home to Rome, whose ransoms did the general coffers fill; did this in Caesar seem ambitious?” Instead of quickly attacking Brutus, Antony repeats and contradicts Caesar’s good deeds with “Yet Brutus is an honorable man”; making a mockery of Brutus’ title of honor. Eventually the crowd catches onto Antony’s indirect argument: Caesar was not actually ambitious. Mark Antony manipulates the crowd by using sarcasm and making a ridicule of Brutus.
Essentially both speeches were influential over the crowd; Marcus’ honor was able to justify the murder and Antony’s cynicism was able to connect with the crowd. Brutus failed to connect with the crowd because his honor had an authoritative label. Antony on the other hand shared a sense of grief with the plebeians, and even stepped into the crowd while speaking. Rather than believing the forced conclusion that was given by Brutus, the plebeians took to Antony’s understanding of emotion.