Brutus V. Antony: Compare the speeches made by Brutus and Antony after Caesar’s death
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Brutus and Antony are both portrayed as above average orators in the play Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, and they both use this skill to achieve there preplanned goals in there speeches. Brutus’s goal was to rationalize the assassination of Caesar and to convince the people that Brutus and his fellow conspirators were actually heroes for what they did. On the other hand Antony’s goal was to turn the people of Rome against the conspirators and to more brightly illuminate the good things that Caesar did, and in doing so make the people want to seek revenge for there leaders death. Even though Brutus and Antony have separate and completely opposite goals they both use certain tactics to woo the crowd in there favor. They did this by appealing to the crowd, using irony, and by applying the principles of human behavior to the situation.
First Brutus appealed to the crowed by making himself seem no better than the people, and rationalized the assassination by showing that he and his fellow conspirators killed Caesar not for there own gain, but for the greater good of the general public. We see this in the quote “not that I love Caesar less, but I love Rome more”. This utilitarian point of view went over quite well with the people, so well in fact that they tried to give Brutus the crown, but he refused it which later turned out to perhaps not be the best choice. On the flip side of the arguments Antonym appealed to the people of Rome by telling them what they knew all along, that Caesar was a great ruler that he cared about all of them. But he did not just tell the people this, he went a step further and showed the people the will that Caesar left behind which left all his property to the people, and gave 75 drachmas to every man. This really made the people think about what Brutus said about Caesar earlier because Antony had proof to back up the fact that Caesar cared about the people, which is what they were looking for in the beginning.
Next, both speakers were able to accomplish what they did because of there use of irony. Brutus used the irony that he had to kill his best friend to achieve the greater good for the people, and when he showed the people this they accepted what had happened and agreed that it was the right thing to do. But Antonym took the use of irony a step further than Brutus did. He accomplished this by showing the people the irony of calling the conspirators “honorable men”. This happened when Antonym told the people all the good things that Caesar did, and the weaknesses that Caesar had, and after which he mockingly agreed with the conspirators with his reasoning being that these were “honorable men”. Although Brutus had the acceptance of the crowd initially, the turning point for Antony was his use of irony, which sealed the decision of the people to side with Antony against the conspirators.
Finally both Brutus and Antony were able to convince the people of there points of view because of there convincing use of the principles of human behavior. One of the principles of human behavior states that people are often influenced by a person’s reputation, rather than the soundness of their arguments. Both speakers used there fame, political prestige and there close relation ships to Caesar to back up there arguments, which tended to sway the crowed one way or another. Also the people compel themselves to agree against one side or another because of the principle that says: people offer irrational reasons for distrusting others. This is best seen when the mob killed the poet cassis because he had the same name as the conspirator cassis.
In conclusion both Brutus and Antony accomplished what they initially set out to do (even if it was only for a couple of minutes) through there ability to appeal to the crowd, point out the irony of the situation, and the use of the principles of human behavior. But in the end Antony was the one that got the peoples allegiance, this can be because of the fact that Antony was a better speaker, pointed out more irony in the situation, used more principles of human behavior than Brutus, or it could be something as simple as the fickleness of the crowd and the luck that Antony spoke last.