Comparison Between Antony and Brutus
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Julius Caesar is one of Shakespeare’s greatest works. It is about a group of conspirators who kill their king, Julius Caesar, in order to be “free.” Antony, who found no logic in the assassination, felt that he should avenge Julius’s death. He delivered a speech that convinced the Romans that the murder was unjust, invoking their rebellion. Brutus, leader of the conspiracy, gave a good address, but the Romans didn’t react to it as much as they did for Antony’s. A battle erupted, and most of the conspirators committed suicide. The styles of the two speeches were very different from each other.
Brutus was first to speak. He approached the podium with his hands dripping in Caesar’s blood. Brutus began by stating his case for killing Caesar. The crowd was confused and curious as to the reason for his death. Brutus’ justification was not based on a hatred of Caesar, but because he “loved Rome” (he would rather see Caesar dead than his own country). Specifically, he says, “Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more.” (Act III, Scene ii, 21-22)
This quote proves and summarizes the point in Brutus’ speech. To achieve his goals, Brutus’ oratory techniques were simple, logical, and rational. His speech was formal, controlled, and it seems that all of the sentences are perfectly balanced. Although he did a very good job at explaining to the confused crowd that murdering Caesar was for the good of Rome, he hadn’t won them over completely. Brutus explained yet again that he loved Caesar, but that his assassination was for the good of Rome. “As Caesar loved me, I weep for him.” (Act III, Scene ii, 25-26). Brutus explained that he still cared for Caesar and he still also claimed that Caesar was not good a good leader for Rome because he was ambitious. He mourns his death. After he explained himself and his purpose, the people were reluctant to believe him, yet they were convinced for only a short while.
Brutus leaves the scene and the podium for Antony to speak. Antony begins by explaining that he only wants to bury Caesar, not praise him. Antony says that he does not wish to disgrace Brutus’ “honorable” name. “But Brutus says he is ambitious, and Brutus is an honorable man” (Act III, Scene ii, 87-88). What Antony really means when he says this is that Brutus is an “honorable” man, meaning the opposite. Antony wants the citizens to mutiny against the conspirators; he wants revenge.
Antony’s technique, although, very original, used repetition. His use of recurrence created a sense of sarcasm about Brutus and the conspirators when he repeatedly referred to them as “honorable men”. Antony also mentioned that Caesar was not ambitious, and stated three reasons: Caesar refused the crown three times, did not pocket the money he collected, instead putting it in the treasury, and most importantly, he felt for his people. By saying this, Antony hoped to, and was successful at getting the attention of the crowd and counteracting Brutus’ statement of Caesar being an ambitious ruler. To conclude his speech, Antony makes good use of Caesars will, which offered seventy five drachma (approximately 26 cents) to each citizen of Rome as well as Caesar’s land to be used for a public park, and Caesar’s dead body, picking it up as he ends his speech.
Antony did an excellent job of persuading the crowd and moving them to mutiny, which he had initially described: “…And Caesar’s spirit, ranging for revenge with Atè by his side, come hot from hell shall in these confines with a monarch’s voice cry ‘Havoc!’ And let slip the dogs of war that this foul deed shall smell above the earth, with carrion men groaning for burial,” (Act III; Scene i).
In conclusion, both Brutus and Antony’s speeches were very important to that story insofar as the main ideas could be argued in the best interest of the people. Both characters shared their opinions, and in the end, only one got the approval of the crowd. In this, Antony did an exceptional job of moving the crowd to mutiny.