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Shakespeare's Julius Caesar - Caesar Speeches

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Essay title: Shakespeare's Julius Caesar - Caesar Speeches

Persuasive Techniques

In Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, Decius Brutus and Mark Antony, both Roman Senators,

eulogize Julius Caesar, each using a different technique and approach. Brutus, in a somewhat

arrogant, to the point, eulogy, attempts to sway the people. He justifies conspiring against Caesar

by stating that Caesar's ambition would have hurt Rome. However, in Antony's eulogy, he focuses

on Caesar's positive traits, and cunningly disproves Brutus' justification for killing Caesar. The fickle

Romans waver between leaders, responding emotionally, rather than intellectually, to the orators.

Brutus seeks to explain why he conspired against Caesar. He begins his speech with

"Romans, countrymen ...", appealing to their consciousness as citizens of Rome, who, he later

says, will benefit as freeman with Caesar's death (Brutus’s Speech Line 2). He utilizes ethos and

appeals to his character, as the people see him. He declares that he is an honorable man, and tells

them that he will let them judge the validity of his claims. That is, he will allow the truth to speak for

itself. This encourages the crowd to believe him, as an honorable man. He says that he wants them

to know the facts; "Censure me in your wisdom, and awake your senses that you may the better

judge" (Ln 5&6). Sharing information with the people is flattering and it almost guarantees

acceptance. He gets their sympathy by saying that he loved Caesar, daring the people to find

anyone who loved Caesar more. Brutus declares that he never wronged Caesar, that he cried for

Caesar's love, was happy for his greatness, honored him for his courage, but had to kill him

because of Caesar's ambition (Ln 14-16). He says that the reason for killing Caesar was his great

love for Rome. He justifies his actions by saying that he loved Caesar but, "Not that I loved Caesar

less, but that I loved Rome more" (Ln 10&11). He then asks rhetorically if the people would want to

live their lives as slaves under Caesar's rule or would they prefer to live as freemen with Caesar

dead (Ln 12&13). To anyone insulted by his speech he wonders if, as Romans who love their

freedom, they could be offended or reject what he, Brutus, says. He poses the question, "Who is

here so base that would be a bondman?" (Ln 18&19). He stresses the point, repeating the line, "If

any, speak, for him have I offended" (Ln 22) and allows them to respond to his rhetorical questions,

giving them an even greater sense that he cares about them and their opinions. They can only

respond, " None, Brutus, none.” That is, none are offended, they do not disagree or argue with his

words or his actions.

Mark Antony's eulogy utilizes a different approach. He starts out by addressing the crowd

as "Friends" because he wants to come to them as a friend rather than a ruler trying to gain power

(Antony’s Speech Line 1). He then says, "I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.", thus he can

ease in praises of Caesar without the crowd stopping him (Ln 2). He sounds very sincere when he

says, "The noble

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