The Power of Rhetoric

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The Power of Rhetoric

Caesar was brutally murdered, and now Brutus and Antony present their funeral speeches with the purpose to make people believe in their own views on this murder. The central theme of Act 3, Scene 2 of Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare is the power of rhetoric. From this scene we are able to see the power that words can have—how they can awake emotions, manipulate opinions, and motivate actions. Through the essay I will be comparing Antony and Brutus speeches and their effect on the society using Aristotle’s postulated three argumentative appeals: logical, emotional and ethical. Powerful and superior rhetoric has a balance of all of three aspects. In contrast to Brutus, Antony presents a superb and more rhetorically powerful funeral oration because he is able to apply logical, emotional and ethical appeals in the perfectly balanced way. In comparison to Antony, Brutus bases his speech not on logical facts but on his reputation, manipulating with the fact that he is an honorable man. In terms of emotions, Brutus uses only pity when Antony employs the use of nostalgia and pity therefore generates a deeper emotional connection with the audience. Finally, Antony presents delightful ethical appeal whereas Brutus uses it very poorly.

Antony demonstrates highly effective use of logical appeal by making each of his points supported with facts, personal experience, and observations to prove Julius Caesar was not ambitious. Brutus failed to give a tenable reason for his point that Caesar was ambitious and dangerous for Rome because he bases his views only on his reputation of an honorable man. Moreover, Antony remembers that Caesar rejected the crown, was attentive to the needs of the poor, and won a lot of battles for protection and wealth of Rome. Additionally, Antony proves another time that Caesar was actually caring and loving leader by presenting the Caesar’s will that states that all land and money will go to Roman citizens. In...
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