Why Antony’s Speech Better than Brutus’: Rhetoric in ‘Julius Caesar’

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Updated: Aug 24, 2023
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Why Brutus’ Speech Fell Short: A Look into its Ineffectiveness

In ‘The Tragedy of Julius Caesar,’ Brutus and Mark Antony are both put up to give speeches to the citizens of Rome. Using methods of persuasion, they both speak on why Caesar’s death was either a great thing for Rome, leading to a better Rome, or why it was the biggest tragedy Rome would face, and his death was made by foolish people. The speech given by Brutus during Caesar’s funeral was to protect himself and those who helped him.

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To further himself up the line, he questioned the citizens to try to justify the murder. “Had you rather Caesar living and all die slaves than that Caesar were dead, to live all free men?” To start, a way to justify the actions that were committed.

Again and again, he speaks in a way to convince that what he did was right, “Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more.” This was effective because he made it seem that all his actions were with the goal of making Rome a better place, better than it was with Caesar in charge, and it worked. In the end, many cheered for Brutus, and some even proclaimed that he’d be a better leader; they believed his words through and through. Though this was only the first speech, as Mark Antony’s hadn’t been said yet, and as such, he had to make it seem that he was helping Brutus with his points. He started by ‘agreeing’ with Brutus, but it quickly enough turned into a speech about how none of what had happened was right. He spoke in questions as well, though questioning how anyone could see what Brutus did was all right.

Antony’s Mastery of Rhetoric: Unmasking Caesar’s True Nature and Swaying Roman Hearts

Brutus said that they had to kill Caesar because he was ambitious. Mark Antony questioned, “You all did see on the Lupercal, that I presented him thrice a kingly crown, which he did thrice refuse: Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?” and “When the poor have wept, Caesar hath cried: Did this in Caesar seem ambitious? to imply that Caesar was not ambitious at all’. He goes on further to insult and emphasize how idiotic it was to kill Caesar. “O judgment! Thou art fled to brutish beasts, and men have lost their reason.” The reaction to Mark Antony’s speech was greater than what Brutus had gotten, and then the citizens got together to rally against Brutus and those who helped him. In the end, Mark Antony’s speech was the one that got the people to move in their own actions. While both spoke very similarly, they spoke lowly of what they were against and highly of who they were for. It could’ve gone either way from what it had seemed, though the many points of the wrongful death of Caesar and how things should’ve been done differently had gotten the citizens to act. 


  1. Shakespeare, W. (1599). “The Tragedy of Julius Caesar.”
  2. Aristotle. “Rhetoric.”
  3. Palmer, D. J. (1969). “The Unspeakable in ‘Julius Caesar’.” Shakespeare Survey, 22, 27-34.
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Why Antony's Speech Better Than Brutus': Rhetoric in 'Julius Caesar'. (2023, Aug 24). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/why-antonys-speech-better-than-brutus-rhetoric-in-julius-caesar/