Who is Marc Antony?
The group of Roman tragedies of Shakespeare is very close in their problems. It also gives a picture of the collision of large historical forces, echoing the English modernity. In the tragedy “Julius Caesar,” complete freedom, Shakespeare, following Plutarch, debunks Julius Caesar, stressing even his physical flaws and portraying him as an ambitious tyrant, devoid of true greatness and charm. He contrasts Caesar Brutus, morally impeccable and disinterestedly striving for the freedom of Rome.
Along with Brutus and Caesar, Mark Antony is another major figure in the play, Brutus’s antagonist. Intelligent, courageous, eloquent, Mark Antony is a talented actor with orator’s skills who knows how to deceive and carry along both his colleagues and the Roman people.
The monologue of Marc Antony
Monologue of Marc Antony over the body of Caesar is one of the best examples of oratory. This performance stands in the center of the classic tragedy of William Shakespeare “Julius Caesar”.
In 44 BC in Rome people from Caesar’s entourage conspired and killed the Roman tyrant. The leader of the conspirators was Mark Brutus, whom Caesar considered his close associate. General Marc Antony learned about the murder of a friend and arrived at the place of reprisal. He saw the body of Caesar and asked to speak at the funeral. Antony wanted to give the last honors to his friend, what he honestly told the conspirators.
Brutus allowed Antony to give a gravestone speech, but he set three subtle conditions. First, Antony should immediately announce that he was speaking with the permission of the conspirators. Secondly, he could speak only after Brutus himself, who first told people about the motives for the murder. Thirdly, Antony was forbidden to speak ill of conspirators.
On the day of the funeral, Mark Brutus was the first to speak before the people, who was considered a brilliant orator. He described the vices of Caesar and the reasons for the conspiracy. The crowd began to exult and praise the murderers, the people rejoiced in deliverance from the overbearing tyrant. Mark Antony is in a very unfavorable situation. He went to an angry and heated public, people were opposed to him and did not want to listen to the arguments in favor of Caesar. But Antony made such a fiery speech, after which the people cursed the conspirators and raised a rebellion against them. However, he did not violate any conditions of Brutus.
The analysis of monologue “Friends, brothers, Romans! I didn’t come to glorify Caesar, but to bury him” filled up the golden fund of the rhetorical devices, he is being studied in public speaking courses all over the world.
The speech of Antony was written by William Shakespeare. Unfortunately, the original text has not survived, only the memoirs of contemporaries are left. The English writer himself was fluent in oratory – as a child he studied the subject of the rhetorical devices. In the Renaissance, rhetoric occupied an important place in school education. The creative association “Culture of Speech” has a course of oratory for children and adolescents – we are convinced that it is possible and necessary to teach speech skills from a child’s age.
The analysis of speech
The most magnificent example of Shakespeare’s rhetoric is Mark Antony’s speech over the corpse of Julius Caesar. The situation in which Marc Antony utters a grave word is unfavorable to him. Just spoke to the people of Brutus. He explained what Caesar was killed: for the lust for power and for the attempt on the freedom of Rome. The people approved the conspirators. Marc Antony goes to the crowd alone. Both the government and the people are against it. As you know, he breaks the mood and skills of the crowd, gains her trust and incites everyone against Brutus and other conspirators, whom the people had supported several moments before.
Antony begins with the fact that he just came to honor the memory of a friend. Brutus introduced Caesar to the overlord. Marc Antony will repeat four times during the first speech that Brutus is an “honorable man.” In this case, every time he brings something undermining the reputation of Brutus. Antony needs to discredit the crowd’s favorite and inspire self-confidence. This is the ethos of this part of speech.
Seeing that the soil is conquered, Antony begins the second round of speech. Roman citizens already sympathize with him, now we must decisively turn their mood against the murderers of Caesar. He draws the listeners such a contrasting situation: the death of Caesar, and Brutus and Cassius, these “honorable people,” are alive. Now everyone understands his irony in relation to the latter. But how to present the idea of insurrection to the citizens? After all, power is still in the hands of Anthony’s enemies, and it is dangerous to openly call for rebellion. But it was not for nothing that Antony was a Roman and a contemporary of Cicero. He resorts to one of the methods of the rhetorical device – to name an idea, but to express its negative attitude to it.
At the same time, Antony identifies Caesar, himself and the Romans — their interests are already common, and Brutus and Cassius are opposed to these interests. Ethos has reached a new stage. Anthony can now speak not as a person who opposes the general opinion, but, on the contrary, as a spokesman for him.
Now it is time to prove that Caesar was a better friend of the people than Brutus and Cassius. Antony says that Caesar left a will, but supposedly it’s better not to know about the people: “Why do you need to know how Caesar loved you?” inadvertently let it slip: Caesar left all his fortune to the people. Having said this, Antony expresses a feigned regret that he said too much, because he does not want to harm the respectable people from whose daggers Caesar fell.
And this is after all he did! It is important for Antony to show himself as a modest person, without dignity – the crowd loves people not to rise, but to merge with it. In addition, Antony needs the Romans to believe that it was not he who accomplished their rebellion, but they themselves made such a decision. The people are in a rebellious spirit, ready to rush at the moment of the death of Caesar. But Antony wants nobody’s arguments to act on the citizens anymore, he detains them for a moment: let them remember what they forgot, the testament of Caesar.