Literary Analyses of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar

CJ Lockwood
English Essay, Julius Caesar
March 2, 2010

What persuasive techniques and other literary features are used by   Shakespeare to   allow Mark Anthony to persuade the   crowd to follow him?

In the play “Julius Caesar” Mark Anthony persuaded the crowd to follow him by various techniques by Shakespeare. This scene takes place in Act 3 with the event of Caesar’s funeral, after Brutus’s speech and Marc Anthony needed to manipulate/persuade the crowd to follow him and not be against Caesar like Brutus wanted. The techniques that were used in the speech included irony, repetition, rhetorical questions, ambiguous words, structure and references to death.

The most important technique throughout the speech is irony, duplicity, and ambiguity. This is found throughout the speech, because Mark Anthony must keep his promise to Brutus, because he can not disgrace him, but Mark Anthony must get the point across to the Roman people that Brutus was wrong and that Caesar was a great man. Irony, also including sarcasm, emphasizes the evil of Brutus and the unfortunate death of Caesar. An example of irony is how Mark Anthony frequently refers to Brutus and the conspirators as “honorable men”, even though it is obvious that Mark Anthony is simply being sarcastic with saying “When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept… Yet Brutus says he was ambitious and Brutus is an honorable man”. An example of duplicity is the line: “The evil that men do live after them”. This is considered duplicity and ambiguity, because it is a so-called message within a message.   Mark Anthony refers this to the conspirators and their evil, while the Roman people believe that he is referring to Caesar and his “evil”, described by Brutus. Lastly at the end of the speech Anthony refers to “brutish beasts”, which is a play on words and is associating this to Brutus.

Anthony emphasizes his irony, with repetition of phrases and words throughout his speech. The most important examples...