March 9 2010 Brutus versus Marc Antony

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Zach Stohel

Period 3

Mrs. Allen

March 9 2010

Brutus versus Marc Antony

The first triumvirate was Julius Caesar, Pompey the Great and Marcus Crassius. Marcus Crassius died leaving Julius Caesar and Pompey to fight over who is the overall leader of Rome. This led to a massive civil war between Caesar and Pompey. In the end Pompey lost and Caesar went back to Rome as the new emperor. The Senate sided with Pompey in the war and hated Caesar. So they plotted against Caesar and wanted to kill him. When they did they realized that the people would get angry so they got Brutus, who was respected and admired in Rome, to speak with them and to calm them down.

Brutus uses his extraordinary rhetoric abilities to persuade the crowd that Caesar’s death was the best thing that could have happened to Rome. He starts his speech by saying” (Shakespeare 712). Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more”. He used repetition to make his speech sound more appealing to the people. Also he used parallel structure to smooth out his sentence. Lastly in Rome it is more the state is more important than the individual people. So he turned it around saying that for Rome he would kill its ruler if necessary, and it is not a villainous act to do so. Next he uses an amazing grammatical structure when he says” (724). As Caesar loved me, I weep for him as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it as he was valiant, I honor him but as he was ambitious, I slew him” (726). He not only framed his speech but in this sentence he framed his grammatical order. His first line was subject verb direct object pronoun verb prepositional phrase. He changes it by doing subject linking verb adverb pronoun verb prepositional phrase. He changes it again by doing subject linking verb adverb pronoun verb direct object. In the last phrase he uses repetition and repeats the phrase’s grammatical order. Even though Brutus’s speech was very rhetorical and convinced the people Marc Antony’s speech was better.

In order to persuade the people Marc Antony must match the rhetorical finesse of Brutus. He starts by slowly discrediting Brutus. He constantly repeats “Brutus is an honorable man” (714) The constant repetition tells the crowd that in fact Brutus was not an honorable man. Also at the same time it shows that killing Caesar was a bad thing. At the end of the speech Marc Antony states “For I have neither writ nor words nor worth, action or utterance, nor the power of speech to stir men’s blood” (722) He starts with the alliteration of the w’s in writ, words and worth. He also has a false modesty saying he doesn’t have the power to make men angry when after his speech the crowd is angry and rowdy.

The crowd’s reactions to the two speechs are completely different. At the beginning of Brutus’s speech the crowd is hostile toward Brutus, but afterwards when he states that if the country wants him dead that he would kill himself. This is when the crowd yells out “Live Brutus! Live, live! Bring him with triumph home unto his house” (721) Brutus changes the crowd’s opinion so much that they want him to live and become the new Caesar. That Brutus is the most honorable man in Rome. When Marc Antony starts speaking the crowd tells him to not make fun of Brutus. After the crowd yells “we’ll burn his body in the holy place and with the brands fire the traitors’ houses” (719). The change from them saying Brutus live and burn his house down is so enormous it can only show the power of Marc Antony’s words.

Because of Mac Antony’s speech he ends up fighting Brutus in a war, winning the war and ruling over the eastern half of Rome. Octavious, Marcus Lippedes and Marc Antony form the second triumvirate. Marcus gets booted out while Octavious and Marc Antony fight for power. Although Marc Antony loses and dies no one can deny the rhetorical prowess that he possessed.

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