Brutus’s Speech vs. Antony’s
The Speech That Changed Everything
In The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, Brutus and Mark Antony must win the support of the Romans by making a speech to them. The two former friends become enemies. They share different beliefs in what is right in their eyes. Brutus wants to take the place of Caesar and become powerful. Antony wants justice for his best friend, Caesar. However, Shakespeare pits Mark Antony’s speech against Brutus’ speech. Antony’s speech is persuasive, and heartfelt. He understands the Romans unlike Brutus. Brutus’ speech is brief and not heartfelt.
Mark Antony becomes victorious in winning the hearts of the Romans by having his speech be more rhetoric and effective than Brutus’ speech. Brutus’ “Romans, Countrymen, and Lovers” speech is brief, precise, and gets to the point. He tells the people of Rome that Caesar is ambitious even though he does not prove that he was ambitious. Brutus also tells the Romans that Caesar will mostly likely be corrupt because all the other rulers before him were corrupt. For example, Brutus says, “Had you rather Caesar were living, and die all slaves, than that Caesar were dead, to live all free men? (3. 2. 3-24)” He tells the people of Rome that if Caesar was ruler, everyone would be slaves. Brutus tells them that he actually did them a favor. Brutus convinced the Romans, but he didn’t convince them for long. If he understood how they felt he would have fully convinced them. Mark Antony’s “Friends, Romans, Countrymen” speech is more rhetoric, persuasive and he put a lot of thought into it. After Brutus called Caesar ambitious, Antony gave excellent reasons on why he actually wasn’t ambitious. For example, Mark Antony says, “When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept. Ambition should be made of sterner stuff.
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious; And Brutus is an honorable man (3. 2. 94-97). ” Mark Antony was able to turn the word honorable around to mean dishonorable. He put it in a respectful, but sarcastic way. Antony understands how the Romans feel about the death of Julius Caesar. They are angry, confused, and sad just like Antony. Antony relates to the Romans by saying, “My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar, And I must pause till it come back to me (3. 2. 108-109). ” By saying these powerful words the Romans and Antony share the same amount of suffering towards Caesar’s death.
Mark Antony was able to convince an audience, who at first were against him, to be on his side. Mark Antony and Brutus both tried to make their speeches convincing and persuading. Mark Antony’s speech was very successful unlike Brutus’. His speech is also better than Brutus’. The people of Rome rooted for Brutus until Antony made his speech. If Brutus went after Antony, he might have been the more successful one. The people of Rome will follow anyone which is why they rooted for Antony because he spoke last. As Cassius puts it, “the Romans are but sheep (1. 3. 106). Mark Antony used more rhetorical questions in his speech to help persuade the Romans and Brutus did not. Brutus was less persuasive than Antony. He also treats the Romans like they are nothing but peasants. Antony calls the Romans his friends. Shakespeare does pit Mark Antony’s speech against Brutus’ speech. Even though Brutus gained the support of the Romans, it was not for long. Brutus just wanted power so he didn’t really have a passion in his speech. Mark Antony wanted justice for Caesar who made him passionate and sincere in his speech. Overall, Mark Antony’s speech won the hearts of the Romans.