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Index: Literature: Shakespeare
Rhetorical Analysis of Marck Antony's speech
Written by: Leiny
Rhetoric is perhaps one of the oldest disciplinary regimes introduced on the human race. Rhetoric is the study of impressive writing or speaking as a means of communication or persuasion. In William Shakespeare's very famous play "The Tragedy of Julius Caesar" Marcus Brutus and Marck Antony, both Roman Senators at the time; give a speech at Julius Caesar's funeral. Both speakers introduce themselves to the crowd in their own unique way with the usage of prodigiously different rhetorical strategies, therefore arousing in the Roman crowd greatly distinct emotions and reactions. Antony's pathetic speech proofed to be the most effective. He was able to turn the easily swayed crowd against the "honorable" conspirators, and he was able to portray Caesar as a non-ambitious caring and truly honorable roman man. In order to accomplish all his objectives Antony used in his speech a combination of verbal irony, repetition, connotation, and imagery rhetorical devices while strongly appealing to the plebeians "pathos" emotions.
The rhetorical device Antony took hold of and made the central device throughout his persuasive argument was verbal irony. The use of verbal irony in his speech is so strong that it borders on sarcasm. "Friends, Romans, countrymen,... I come to bury Ceasar, not to praise him." (Act III sc II 80-84) says Antony when introducing himself to the crowd. Knowingly that at that point Brutus was to them an "honorable" man he makes sure that he does not allow his emotions to take in and destroy his real intentions. He addresses the plebeians as "Friends" with the purpose of persuading them into believing that they were...