Rhetorical Analysis of Antony’s Eulogy
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After Caesars death Antony requested to speak at his funeral. Antony was a very good friend of Caesar. In his eulogy, Antony denies accusations of Caesar being “too ambitious” and retorts with examples of how good of a man he really was in his eyes. Antony firmly believes Caesar was innocent and that his murder cannot be justified. He speaks to the Plebeians, the Roman people who he refers to as countrymen and friends to obtain their trust so that he could go on with his grand scheme to revenge Caesars death against the conspirators.
Antony proves to be a master of persuasion. He uses ethos in his speech to obtain trust by showing he is a man who respects all. “Friends, Romans, lend me your ears”(III.ii.73). He doesn’t show good will or respect for Caesar as it’s apparent he has a sarcastic tone when he mocks him with the repetition of “honorable men” when he is talking about the conspirators, an example of verbal irony. He also uses logos to point out obvious reasons why Caesar wasn’t actually ambitious. He said, “when the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept” (III.ii.91). “Brought captives to Rome/ransom did the general coffers fill” (III.ii.89).
He uses Pathos to spark emotion and sorrow among the plebeians and have them revolt. “My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar” (III.ii.106). He asks two rhetorical questions after listing reasons why Caesar wasn’t ambitious. “Was this ambition?” (III.ii.97) and even tries to make the commoners feel guilty for doubting Caesar “What cause withholds you to then mourn for him” (III.ii.103). A weakness in his speech was how biased he was towards Caesar, he was so eager to talk about all the good deeds Caesar accomplished but completely ignores the wrong Caesar did. He was still surprisingly the most persuasive speaker in the play, surpassing that of even brutus, his rhetoric is unmatched. Overall, his speech was overkill as the common roman people tended to be uneducated changing their views on Caesars death rather quickly.