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.