Shakespeare wrote the play Julius Caesar in 1599. The play is supposedly based on a true Roman story about the assassination of Caesar, but nobody is completely sure. In its time, Julius Caesar would have appealed to the Elizabethan audience because the assassination of a person as important as Caesar was very bad, so portraying it on stage would be very exciting for the audience. Carrying any type of sword or knife whilst walking through the streets of England was frowned upon and would probably carry the death penalty, so using them on stage would be a very interesting and exciting thing for the people to see.Order now
In the few scenes leading up to the speeches in Act III Scene II, Brutus has gathered a group of people who dislike Caesars way of ruling the country: they decide they are going to assassinate him. At the time of the murder it is Brutus who stabs Caesar, and Caesar, who thought Brutus his friend, says “Et too, Brute”, which means ‘you as well, Brutus? ‘. This implies that it is not so much the conspiracy that hurt him, more the fact that even his best friend wanted to kill him, a view point which is enforced in the succeeding lines until Caesar’s death. The play continues to the point where the speeches start.
At the time of Caesar’s death, before they find out about it, the citizens of Rome are celebrating Caesar’s defeat of Pompey. They have been dancing around the street, paying no attention or respect to any of the people who are more important than themselves. We know from this that the people of Rome are very fickle, as they had been supporting Pompey until Caesar defeated him, at which time they decided that Caesar ruled. Brutus has already agreed to let Mark Anthony make Caesars eulogy. In this he made a grave mistake, as Mark Anthony plans to create civil uprising in Rome against Brutus and his fellow conspirators.
Although Brutus is often portrayed to the audience as a villain, he shows his integrity and nobility as well as his naivety by giving Antony an open floor, and by insisting that the civilians stay to listen to Antony after his own departure. Not only does this give Antony a free reign to say what he likes, but it also gives him the advantage of speaking last, giving him the opportunity of a final, uncontested manipulation of the civilians. Brutus speaks in prose, which he hopes will make the plebeians feel he is on their level â€“ but instead it patronises them.
Antony however, speaks in blank verse, which shows that he is intellectual and so he gains the respect of the crowd. When speaking in blank verse, there would be ten syllables in each line of the speech, and the rhythm would gain the attention of the crowd. The start of Brutus’ speech reflects his values and personal priorities: he starts his speech with “Romans, Countrymen, and Lovers”, showing he is strongly patriotic and values patriotism in other people. This is why he addresses the people as a nation of Romans, as opposed to Antony’s “Friendsâ€¦”, and opening that shows a successful, personal touch to the civilians of Rome.
When Brutus enters the stage, he has his arms up in the air, covered with Caesar’s blood. This is a very dramatic effect used by Shakespeare, as his draws the attention of the crowd towards Brutus. However, Antony enters by walking onto the stage carrying Caesar’s dead body in his arms, which would have an even more dramatic effect. It also shows to the crowd how much Antony cared for Caesar, carrying his body regardless of all the blood. Brutus is the first of the two to speak to the citizens. He approaches the crowd by stating that his reason for killing Caesar was not that he did not love Caesar, but that he loved Rome more.
Specifically, he says: ‘Brutus rose against Caesar, that is my answer: Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more’ III, ii, 21-22 This quote almost proves and summarizes Brutus’ point in his speech. To achieve his goals, Brutus’ oratory techniques were simple, logical and rational. Brutus’ speech is very formal and controlled, and it seems that al of the sentences are perfectly balanced. Although he did a very good job at explaining to the citizens that assassinating Caesar was for the good of Rome, he still had not proved to them that what he had done was good.
Brutus then continues to explain again that he loved Caesar, but also how his death was for the good of Rome. ‘As Caesar loved me, I weep for him’. Brutus explains here that he still cared for Caesar and he also explains that Caesar was not good for Rome as he was ambitious: ‘But as he was ambitious, I slew him. ‘ Brutus entered the stage looking at a confused and curious crowd. After he explained all his reasons for killing their beloved ruler, the people rejoiced for him and respected him, yet they were convinced for only a short while. Brutus leaves the scene and the stand for Antony to speak.
Antony begins by explaining that he only wants to bury Caesar, not praise him. Antony explains that he does not wish to disgrace Brutus’ honorable name. “But Brutus says he is ambitious, and Brutus is an honorable man”. This quote proves how Antony kept mentioning about Brutus and the Conspirators. Although he repeatedly quotes that Brutus is an honorable man, he means the opposite. Antony wants mutiny against the Conspirators. Antony’s technique, although, was very original. His use of repetition created a sense of sarcasm about Brutus and the Conspirators when he repeatedly referred to them as “honorable men”.
Antony made use of mentioning that Caesar was not ambitious for three reasons: he refused the crown three times, he did not pocket the money, rather, he put it in the treasury, and he wept for the poor. By saying this, Antony hoped to get the attention of the crowd counteracting Brutus’ statement of Caesar being ambitious. Also, Antony makes good use of Caesars will and the dead body. He tries to entice the crowd by referring to the will, which offered seventy five drachma to each citizen as well as Caesar’s land to be used for a public park.
At first, the people were against Antony, due to Brutus’ previous speech. Antony did an excellent job of persuading the crowd and moving them to mutiny, which was his original purpose, although, it was Antony’s appeal to the crowds emotions that ultimately swayed them to his side. In conclusion, both Brutus and Antony’s speeches were very important to the story so that the point could be lead across of Caesar’s death. Both characters shared their opinions and in the end, one got the approval of the crowd. In this, Antony did a very good job of moving the crowd to mutiny.