Brutus vs. Marc Antony: the power of rhetoric.

Posted: May 6, 2011 in Uncategorized

One major element of Julius Caesar is rhetoric – the skill of persuading others with words. In Act III, Shakespeare pits Mark Antony’s famous “Friends, Romans, Countrymen” speech against Brutus’ “Romans, Countrymen, and Lovers” earlier in the scene. Read both carefully. Most find Antony’s speech more effective rhetorically (surely the crowd did!). Why is that? Does Shakespeare agree? Or disagree? Be able to argue from care attention to the text, not just your general impressions. GIVE DETAILS!

You might consider what makes for effective persuasion, and what Shakespeare might be saying about persuasion through presenting these two speeches. Break down as carefully as you can how each speech works, what each speaker is trying to achieve, and how successful each was.

Compose a short essay dealing with these question. Set out a thesis (your position) and defend your thesis with evidence from the text and your reasons and analysis. You should have 3-5 paragraphs by the end of the period.

Brutus’ speech - lines 2-8, 12-31, 33-43, 53-59

Antony’s speech – lines 71-105

Stuck? These questions might help.

Why is Marc Antony’s speech more persuasive?
What elements does he use to convince the crowd?
What are some of his strategies?

What does Brutus do in his speech? How does he (at first) win over the crowd?

How is manipulation different from persuasion?
Of the two characters, who manipulates and who persuades?

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  1. Kayla Skotnicki =) 1st period! says:

    The speeches that the two men displayed persuasion, munipulation, sarcasm, and rhetoric. But Marc Antony and Brutus’ speech’s were very different. The differences between marc antony and brutus’ speech are that brutus munipulated all the people. Marc Antony did not try to munipulate the crowd, he just used rhetoric and sarcasm.
    Brutus’ speech used munipulation by trying to let all the romans and countrymen believe that he was friends with him and that he was an honorable man. Brutus’ line ” not that i loved caesar less, but i that i loved rome more. Had you rather Caesar were living, and die all slaves, than that Caesar were dead, to live all free men?” that line by Brutus munipulated the crowd. He had everybody believing that he was better to be the leader of the Roman’s. He also chose to point out that he cares more about Rome than Caesar did so he can get everybody on his side.
    Marc Antony did not display munipulation but, he did use sarcasm, rhetoric, and persuasion. I believe that Marc Antony was more confident in his speech so he did not have to munipulate the crowd. All he said sarcastically was that Brutus is an honorable man when he was really saying that he is a fake trader.
    I believe that Marc Antony’s speech was better because he did not try to munipulate the crowd. Shakespeare displays that using persuasion and rhetoric is better than munipulation. Marc Antony’s speech shows that words of wisdom can have alot more power than words of a fraud.

  2. Michael Burgos says:

    In Julius Caesar Mark Antony the friend of Caesar and Brutus the one who betrays and murders Caesar go to the crowd to explain what happened. Brutus maniplilates the people and lies. Mark Anthony uses sarcasim and irony to pursuade the crowd. These two politicians who’s words echoes in the pages of history, which changed the Roman Republic foreverwh

    In Brutus’s speech he’s repeatative of his words. He says he loved Caesar and that he was an honorable man and killing him was for the Republic. But an actually it was for power. He manipulates the people to think Caesar was a tyrant. He says Caesar was ambitionous and was getting out of control. What really fooled the people was telling them that he’ll kill himself if the people want too.

    In Mark Anthony’s speech he uses Brutus’s words against him. He’s says Brutus is an honorable man yet he murdered an innocent man. You can hear the anger in Anthony’s words as he’s explaining what happens. He also brought up how he presented a crown to Caesar thrice and thrice he refused. He won the people over and that’s how the conspriracers were brought to justice

  3. kaitlyn says:

    In Julius Caesar the two men’s speeches, they were very different in how they tell them. Brutus tries and manipulates by lying to them, telling them he was an honorable man and that he was friends with him but yet, he is the one who murdered Caesar. Antony persuades them to believe that Brutus is a liar by using irony and sarcasm. Antony was a more confident man in telling his speech that’s why he did not have to try and manipulate the crowd. He also tried to get across without saying; that Brutus was an honorable man but the crowd got that Brutus was just a lying trader.

    I believe that Antony’s speech was much better; he didn’t force the crowd into believing him but gave true information about Brutus using sarcasm to get across what he meant. Marc shows that the truth, his words of wisdom, can have a much greater effect on people than lying. Shakespeare shows that persuasion is better than manipulation because by the end of both of their speeches, the Romans choose to side with marc Antony.

  4. *marissssssa Insel ! [: ;; 5th period. says:

    Marc Antony’s speech is different from Brutus’s because Marc Antony had more emotion in it. Brutus kind of, sounded more different. I don’t know how to explain it, but I wasn’t feeling Brutus speech. He was like trying to manipulate them into believing that it was right to kill Caesar. Marc Antony had more emotion in his speech, and he told the truth in a more irony way. But his speech was more intense.
    Marc Antony talked about how Caesar was not ambitious at all, how he was the opposite of ambition, he was kind and caring. And how he refused the crown 3 times, but they insitisted that he take it. He was just being kind. But Brutus was jealous in a way, and in his speech he talked about how Caesar was VERY ambition. How he didn’t care about the people, and he killed Caesar for roam. Brutus said Caesars would of made people into slaves, but when truth be told, he wouldn’t of done that.

  5. sam says:

    Brutus and Anthony and Anthony talk about Ceaser death and how he died. They talk about how ambitious he really was and that he was someone who was really special to the other people. People didn’t like the death of Ceaser at all. There were a lot of people wondering why they killed Ceaser .Brutus and Anthony had a couple of things to say about Ceaser.
    Brutus was the last person was the last person who stabbed Ceaser . He was even crying because it was his friend. Brutus said that during his speech that he was being a whole lot ambitious that’s why they killed him. Another reason why he killed Caser is because that he loved rome more then he did then Ceaser

    Anthony saying that ceaser is an honorable man and that how he was a good person to everyone. Ceaser was an ambious person to all person and that how good he was.he really necer got into that much trouble. That was the reason why people killed stabed him to death because he was to ambtious.

  6. nichole miller 5th period says:

    After Caesars death both Mark Antony and Brutus felt the need to address the crowd. It was obvious that Antony’s speech was a lot more affective when compared to Brutus because he used a lot of sarcasm and said things that meant other things. Brutus pretty much just manipulated them into agreeing with him. Shakespeare obviously agrees that’s Mark Antony is the bigger, better man and Brutus is a killer. This is because he’s the one that wrote it and he made it so Antony would be right, and Brutus would look like a murderer.
    Mark Antony persuades the crowd much better because he says that Brutus is a great man, and acts like he’s on his side for a while. But as the speech goes on you can tell he’s actually being very sarcastic and speaking highly of Caesar, not Brutus. He is trying to say that Caesar is a good man, and would’ve been a great leader, and Brutus is ambitious. Not Caesar.
    In Brutus’s speech, he tries to convince the crowd that Caesar was a bad man and all he wanted to do was harm the Roman Empire, and gain too much power then take over. He made up a reason as to why he killed Caesar, because he was to ambitious, when actually he was being the one the was ambitious. Brutus jumped to take the power Caesar once had the second he killed him. After Antony spoke the crowd started to realize the Brutus was not right, and Caesar was a good person.

  7. Jasmine Davis says:

    Brutus vs. Marc Antony: the power of rhetoric.

    Based on what I read it seems like the author Shakespeare is kind of choosing what speech won the crowd over.
    Both Brutus and Mark Antony give two different speeches. Brutus give his speech and he was manipulating the crowd while Mark Antony speech was a persuade speech.

    The differences between Mark Antony and Brutus’ speech are that Brutus manipulated all the people. Marc Antony did not try to manipulate the crowd; he just used rhetoric and sarcasm.
    Brutus’ speech used manipulation by trying to let all the Romans and countrymen believe that he was friends with him and that he was an honorable man. Brutus Words” not that I loved Caesar less, but I that I loved Rome more. Had you rather Caesar were living, and die all slaves, than that Caesar were dead, to live all free men?” that line by Brutus manipulated the crowd. He had everybody believing that he was better to be the leader of the Roman’s. He also chose to point out that he cares more about Rome than Caesar did so he can get everybody on his side.
    Mark Antony did not display manipulation but, he did use sarcasm, rhetoric, and persuasion. I believe that Mark Antony was more confident in his speech so he did not have to manipulate the crowd. All he said sarcastically was that Brutus is an honorable man when he was really saying that he is a fake trader. In my opinion I think that Mark Antony speech was better because he not only made senses he let the crowd know what he thinks and how he felt about Brutus and that everything that Brutus was a liar and you really shouldn’t believe what he says.

  8. Leasha Clair :)!* says:

    Brutus is the last one to kill Caesar, and then goes out to the crowd. Then he tells the crowd of people outside why he killed Caesar. He killed him because he was too “ambitious” and manipulated the crowd to believe him. Marc Antony comes out with Caesar’s body and persuades the crowd how it wasn’t right to kill him. That Caesar cared for the poor, and cared about Rome and Rome’s people. And Marc Antony won the townspeople over with persuasion.

    Brutus came out with Caesar’s blood dripping from his hands then gave a speech. He said he had to kill Caesar because of his ambition. He manipulated the crowed into thinking it was true. But Brutus was too caught up in power. He said “I did not kill him because I loved him less; I did it because I love Rome more.” But when you think about it, if he really loved Rome more? Would he have lied to the people of Rome?

    On the other hand, Marc Antony comes out and says, “I came out here to bury Caesar not praise him.” But really did praise him in a way if you think about it. He kept saying “Brutus is an honorable man” in a sarcastic way to say “Hey people! Wake up, this is Caesar were talking about! He was a war hero! He turned down my crown thrice.” Antony was trying to explain what Brutus is trying to do in a sarcastic tone of voice and using rhetoric to persuade the crowd against Brutus.

    Persuasion is more powerful than manipulation. Manipulation is to force someone to do something or believe something. Persuasion is to letting them make up their mind on their own with a little bit of help. I think Marc Antony’s speech won the crowd over more the Brutus’ did.

  9. keishla =] says:

    Caesar is dead! Why? Because the senators thought he was getting to much power. Antony is the only one that morns for the death of Caesar. He is in pain because he had a good friendship with him. Caesar is dead so now so Antony and Brutus are giving a speech about his death.

    Brutus’ speech was to convince the people of Rome that killing Caesar was a good thing. He said that Caesar wasn’t a good king. He tried to convince people that he killed him because he was putting Rome in danger. Brutus and the other senators killed Caesar because they were afraid of the power Caesar was going to get. He tried to persuade people to think like him and all the other senators. The only thing wrong about his persuasion was that it was all a lie to make them look like the good guys. Brutus spoke about the good things Caesar did but tried to cover it up with all the possible things he could have done with his power.

    Antony’s speech was from the heart. He spoke about how good Caesar was and how he tried his best to be a good king. He said how sad he was that Caesar was gone. He spoke about how Caesar loved them and they did him dirty. They had no clue about what Caesar had written in his will. Antony wanted them to realize that Caesar wasn’t the bad guy. Caesar loved them with every bit of power he had and they killed him. He tried to persuade the people of Rome that killing Caesar was wrong and that Rome will be in danger. That wars will break out because of al the madness. So in Antony’s eyes killing Caesar was like killing himself.

  10. Rosibel says:

    After Caesar die Marc Antony and Brutus addressed Caesar death. In Brutus speech he manipulates the crowd. For example he says “would you rather have Caesar alive then, and all slaves die?? Than Caesar dead, to live all free men.” What Brutus said there was a lie because Caesar wasn’t like that he care more for the poor than the wealthy. He lie when he said he love Caesar but didn’t, actually Brutus was jealous of Caesar. Brutus tried to manipulate the people and he almost convinces them but Antonius speech was more persuasive than Brutus by which he accused Brutus for killing Caesar when Caesar wasn’t even ambitious.

    Unlike Brutus, Marc Antony’s speech was filled with a lot of irony, and I think he uses that method because he wasn’t allowed to speak the true in the crowd of people. In his speech he defended Caesar and pointed out that Brutus was the liar an example Antony said is “ You all saw that at the feast of lupercal I presented him a kingly crown, three times: three times he turned it down. Was that ambition? Yet Brutus says he was ambitious and for sure he is an honorable man.

  11. Rayshawn Minter says:

    Mark Antony’s speech was about how ambitious Caesar and Brutus was, And his speech was also emotional to because he wanted the people to understand how good of a person they were and he wanted to become a leader like them also. And he wanted people to also look up to him like they did Caesar and Brutus because he was a friend to Brutus but he also wanted to become a leader like Caesar was. And Brutus’s speech was about the death of Caesar also. He wanted to admit to the people that he killed Caesar himself and see how the people would probably react to him. He walked with the blood of Caesar on his hand to prove to people that he killed them. And he wanted to be honest to the people so he won’t feel upset anymore..
    What Brutus did well in his speech was that he gathered everyone’s attention and he was being honest as he can be to make the people understand how honest he is, and he probably wanted everyone to know the truth about Caesar. And he also wanted everyone to know that he was part of the death of Caesar so he doesn’t hide anything from the crowd. Brutus was very loud and also very clear in his speech and he said everything that came into his mind.

  12. Tyler Rendfrey PD5 says:

    The death of Caesar has left the crowd with confusion and chaos. The killer of Caesar, Brutus, begins to manipulate the minds of the town’s people, as Antony uses persuasion to capture their minds. Persuasion is used to inspire someone to do something with supporting facts and wit. Irony is used within persuasion to creatively turn someone’s thoughts around.
    Brutus constructs the evil brand of persuasion within his speech, Manipulation. Trying to gain pity from the crowd, Brutus rambles on about how he only killed Caesar to protect the townspeople. He says that Caesar was too ambitious, but truth is, Brutus feared power. He feared that Caesar was going to change the way Rome stands, and he wasn’t fond of that thought.
    Antony uses the skill of persuasion to capture the minds of the confused crowd. He involves irony within his speech, which is the creative taste that can be enough to change the thoughts of the crowd’s decision. Sarcasm is as well introduced in Antony’s persuasive speech. “Brutus is an honorable man.” He states, but in all honesty, Brutus is not. The sound of knowledge within his speech dragged the crowd into his favor.
    These two speeches radically differ from each other, yet both were aiming for the same conclusion. Brutus had the crowd’s top spot in the beginning, but persuasion over-powered the use of manipulation. In the end, Antony gained the crowd’s liking because of his sarcastic comments and sense of persuasion. All in all, persuasion is more powerful and can capture the minds of others easier then manipulation.

  13. Maria Jarquin says:

    “Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more” Brutus manipulative words won over the crowed. He used the excuse of Caesar being too ambitious to wipe his hands clean of the murder. He said that he and Caesar were good friends yet he killed him. He made himself seem as a hero to get the people on his side.

  14. Thea Garrett says:

    Mark Antony and Brutus have both made speeches, about Caesars death. There are several large differences between the two, as they are very diverse and say two completely different things. Brutus and Mark Antony were both friends of Caesar, and both have good speaking skills. The crown easily believes them both when they speak, and yet the two were so contrary.
    Brutus speech stated that, even thought Brutus loved Caesar, e had to kill him because he was too ambitious and wanted too much power. The biggest difference between his speech and Mark Antonyms’ is that Brutus lies about almost everything. He does not state that he wanted the power Caesar held, and instead made his actions seems justified. He was not as well- spoken as Antony.

  15. Ryan J. Williams pd7 says:

    The Difference Between Brutus and Mark Antony’s Speech (5/6/11)
    There are many different differences between both Brutus and Mark Antony’s speech. Although they were different from one another they were also alike when it came to sarcasm and persuasion. But, when Brutus gave his speech I believe his goal from the start was to go out to manipulate the crowd to favor him over Antony. Antony was not trying to manipulate the crowd at all. In a way his speech was so good that he made the crowd turn over to favor him.
    Brutus was up first when it came time to deliver his speech. So he had all the favors on his side. When it came to Brutus’s speech, persuasion was not one of the key factors. To me I feel as though he really didn’t hit home when he should have. The only reason why he had a rough time when it came to persuasion was because he was trying to manipulate the crowd, not persuade them. But, when it comes to getting the crowd on his side that, he sure did do a very good job on.
    So then up next was Mark Antony’s time to deliver his speech. To me Antony’s speech was far more convincing than Brutus’s speech. I think it was that way because Antony’s goal was not to go out to manipulate the crowd with all lies, but he wanted to persuade the crowd to come on his side by raising his tone and being sarcasm. During his speech I really don’t think that he really had a weak point. He delivered his speech very well, with a whole lot of purpose. In fact, he spoke so well that he pulled the crowd from Brutus’s side onto his.

  16. Marissa :] says:

    :} After Caesar dies, both Brutus and Mark Anthony give a speech to the crowd.

    Brutus and Mark Anthony’s speeches were very different because of the facts and emotion that were included in their speeches.

    Brutus tries to persuade the crowd to be happy that Caesar is dead by lying and saying that Caesar was too ambitious and had too much power (LIES). He wanted the people to be team Brutus for the fact that if Mark Anthony tries to hurt him the people will be furious and also to cover up the fact that he killed an innocent man for no reason at all. He keeps repeating over and over again that Caesar is an honorable man and that he was too ambitious and he killed him because he needed to not because he wanted to but the truth really came out when Mark Anthony came out and spoke to the crowd.
    Mark Anthony was the best friend of Caesar, so therefore the people should know that the words he was saying were the truth and that he knew Caesar the best. But Brutus’ speech was very persuasive and he won the crowd over by making them believe that something was right by making Caesar look like he was the bad person and it worked… until Mark Anthony came out.
    In Mark Anthony’s speech he uses Brutus’s words against him. He’s say that Brutus is an honorable man yet he murdered an innocent man. You can hear the anger in Anthony’s words as he’s explaining what happens. He also brought up how he presented a crown to Caesar 2 times and the 2 times Caesar refused the crown. This shows that words of wisdom is much greater than lying to someone and giving the wrong information because once the information starts to sink in you realize if it’s the truth or not. The people knew that Caesar was not a bad person and did not deserve to be killed, that’s why they were so easily influenced by Mark Anthony and is now on team Mark Anthony. {:

  17. kevin tragno PD1 says:

    The speeches Brutus and Antony gave out of Caesars death are completely different. Brutus is one of several people who killed Caesar over jealousy. Once Caesar was dead Brutus goes to speak to the people to explain his actions. Brutus lied to and manipulated the people of Rome. He says Caesar was no good for leading roman people. Brutus says Caesar was “too ambitious”. Mark Antony thinks differently about Caesar, he offered the power to Caesar 3 times and he refused each time.
    After Brutus and the others killed Caesar, Brutus goes out to explain what he had done. He tells the people that Caesar was to ambitious and that he would be the downfall of Rome. He kept repeating himself, “I am an honorable man”. Trying to get the people to think that he only had good intensions for Rome and they should trust him that he had good reason to kill Caesar. Brutus takes advantage of the people because they are not that well educated and because the way Brutus spoke, they believed him. They could not tell that Brutus was lying and trying to manipulate their minds. In the people’s eyes, Brutus was a hero and a great man. They were willing to build him a stone statue. They were willing to let him lead Rome.
    Antony and Caesar were good friends. They grew up together and fought together in battle. If Antony had known he would have stopped the assassination of Caesar. Antony saw what Brutus was trying to do to the people. When he seen this, he walked out to the people and said he was going to speak for Caesar at his funeral. Antony tried to tell the people that Brutus was lying, but he did not want to upset the crowd. Antony talked to the people with anger and irony at the same time trying to show the people what had just happened. That Brutus and the others were jealous of Caesar and just wanted his power, not what is best for Rome. Antony had to remind the people who Caesar is and what he once was to them.
    Brutus thinks he is in the clear but I think he’s got another thing coming. Caesar was Antony’s friend and I don’t think he’s going to sit around and let this happen to him. The way Antony spoke to the people, I think he has got them back on his side.

  18. kevin murray says:

    The crowed is going wild when Brutus steps up and talks about Caesar a man that was loved by the people and how he was fit for the job of king. When Marc Antony talks about Caesar and the ways of Brutus the first thing that he says is that I am not trying to disprove your beloved king but make him the way you all knew him. The king that fought for you.

  19. Francesca Rosado (: 1st period ! says:

    In this part of the play Brutus and Marc Anthony both give speeches to the crowd about Caesar’s death. Brutus basically tells the crowd that Caesar needed to be killed. He believed that eventually Caesar would have too much power and take over Rome. On the other hand Marc Anthony felt the complete opposite. Marc Anthony uses sarcasm and irony in his speech to persuade that Brutus isn’t a good man.
    In Brutus’ speech he uses persuasion on persuade the crowd. He basically tells the crowd that Caesar needed to die because he was too ambitious. He felt as though Caesar’s death was a good thing. Caesar’s ambition would have ruined Rome. He felt that Caesar would have eventually made everyone slaves. So by killing him, Rome was saved. Brutus thinks he’s better then Caesar. He thinks he’s honorable.
    Now on the other hand, Marc Antony was upset. In his speech, he used sarcasm. He was hurt about the fact that Caesar was killed. That was his close friend. He kept repeating that Brutus is an “honorable” man. He really doesn’t like Brutus though.

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