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Marc antony's funeral oration: analysis

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Marc antony's funeral oration: analysis
Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar
First Line
He endears himself to a hostile
audience (friends)
 He defines the audience in terms of
legal standing (Romans, countrymen)
 The syllable count increases with each
word
 He says “lend me your ears”

 This is an example of synecdoche (when a
part represents the whole)
Second Line
Antony states his intention – position
statement (supposedly)
 This keeps the respect and attention of
the audience
 In doing so, he also retains his own
honor ( he made a promise to Brutus )
 In the very next line, Antony praises
Brutus through the implication that he
has done good deeds

5 Lines into the Oration . . .
Antony begins the subtle attack on
Brutus
 In terms of form – Antony uses parallel
structure and repetition ( ‘honorable’ )
 In terms of content – Antony uses
sarcasm and verbal irony
 “Ambitious” is contrasted with
“honorable”

By giving examples of what ambition is
not, he’s defining ambition
 Brutus, on the other hand, left himself
open to attack by never defining his
terms

A master of rhetoric . . .
Antony
varies his
appeals to
the
audience –
and he has
three
distinct
pieces of
evidence
Caesar turned down the
crown three times
 Caesar wept for the poor
 Caesar brought captives
home whose ransom filled
the coffers

Just presenting these facts
contradicts his supposed
purpose in speaking!

Marc Antony lets the audience feel as if
they’re making this decision – with every
piece of evidence he offers, he also
asserts that Brutus is honorable!
 Basically,
Marc Antony redefines
the parameters of the debate.
Brutus
never
actually
justifies
the
murder
Brutus – Is Brutus a good man?
Antony – Was Caesar a good
man?
Using Aristotle's Triangle . . .
Even after the first part of the oration is
over – Antony continues with the
emotional appeal (Pathos) – using
Caesar’s body as a prop
 He also finishes up his logical appeal
(Logos) by reading the actual will
 Though he never verbalizes an ethical
appeal (Ethos) – he sets himself up as
an “ethical foil” to Brutus


Remember, in his soliloquy, Marc Antony
promises to ‘let slip the dogs of war’

As we continue reading, you will see
that Antony keeps his promise to the
end.
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