An analysis of Mark Antony’s Funeral Speech in the play Julius Caesar. It helps you consider what types of persuasion were used in the play.
All types of people at one time or another use persuasion to sway their audience a certain way. In the play, Julius Caesar, Brutus and Mark Antony use the art of persuasion. Antony was allowed to speak at Julius Caesar’s funeral after Brutus finished trying to persuade the audience that killing Caesar was the right thing to do. Mark Antony had to keep a promise with Brutus in which Antony agreed to not say anything bad about Caesar’s murder. Antony’s main goal was to rally up the commoners to revenge Caesar’s death, and outdo Brutus’ speech. Antony does a great job of persuading his audience, even better than Brutus, to revenge Caesar’s death using many persuasive techniques.
Irony was the main way Mark Antony persuaded the commoners to do what he wanted. He had to keep his promise with Brutus, which was to say nothing negative about him, so he had to find a way around that. Antony spoke of Brutus, Cassius, and the other conspirators as “honorable men,” but the tone of his voice spoke otherwise. When he said they are honorable men, he was actually mocking them, and the crowd caught on and started to riot. Antony also talked about how Brutus thought Caesar was ambitious. Again keeping his promise, Antony told the crowd to believe Brutus because he was an honorable man, but he said it in an ironic way so the audience knew the truth. Antony used irony when he was saying to his audience, “Let me not stir you up to such a sudden flood of mutiny.” When he said this he was lying and he really wanted them to start a mutiny against the conspirators.
Emotional appeal was also another convincing characteristic in which Mark Antony used to persuade his audience. He mentioned how good of friends he and Caesar were, and told of how sad he was once Caesar was murdered. The crowd began to feel sorry for his loss and wanted to seek revenge on the killers. Antony reminded the commoners that they liked Caesar before he died, and he had served them well while he was in power. The crowd was seeing his point and agreeing with Mark Antony now more than ever. Antony also mentioned how he offered to give the crown to Caesar to become king, and how he denied it repeatedly. The crowd remembered Brutus saying that Caesar was being ambitious, and they became infuriated that he could have been lying to them. They then started much commotion after they heard this. Antony showed the crowd his wounds from being stabbed and then the crowd felt in their hearts that someone had to pay. The crowd was now seeking blood from the conspirators and wanted to revenge Caesar.
Mark Antony used repetition quite a bit to persuade his audience. He would often talk about the conspirators as being “honorable men”. Every time he repeated his words, the crowd became more rallied up and began to shout out messages to other people in the crowd. Antony also liked to repeat what Brutus said about “Caesar being ambitious.” The commoners caught on to the fact that Mark Antony didn’t believe in what Brutus said, so neither should the audience. The repetition had showed Brutus’ weaknesses in his speech, and turned the crowd’s attention toward what Antony was saying. Antony liked to put rage in the commoners’ minds with his speech, and when about finished he would mention yet another thing to get the crowd more rambunctious. Antony called them back several times in order to read Caesar’s will to them. Every time this happened, the commoners got more restless and more ready to do something about Caesar’s death.
Mark Antony’s speech accomplished the goals he wanted to attain and more. His persuasive techniques of irony, emotional appeal, and repetition were brilliantly used as he tried to persuade his audience. Even though Antony had to keep his promise with Brutus while he gave his funeral speech, he was still able to convey the message he had planned to deliver. The crowd started a mutiny, which is just what Antony wanted, and later it had gotten completely out of hand. The mutiny would later lead to the killing of commoners, but it also lead to the revenge of Caesar, which Antony was most pleased about. Mark Antony’s persuasion techniques out performed those that Brutus used. Antony’s use of word and tone of voice delivered a speech which proved him to be a brilliant orator.