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If you had been an eyewitness to Caesar’s murder and the funeral speeches of Brutus...

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jason20 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 12, 2008 at 1:03 PM via web

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If you had been an eyewitness to Caesar’s murder and the funeral speeches of Brutus and Antony, whose funeral speech would have moved you more? Why?

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maria-vivanco | Student, Grade 11 | Valedictorian

Posted January 17, 2014 at 2:41 PM (Answer #17)

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I feel that the Antony speech would've been more moving. 

First off, the murder of Caesar was a traumatizing one (they stabbed him like twenty seven times). I would've been on the conspirators sides if they haven't done it so brutally. IT seemed as if though they did it out of their own pleasure. Who stabs someone twenty seven times? 

Brutus's speech discusses how he loved Caesar (even though he stabbed him, again, twenty seven times) and how he did it for the good of Rome. With an ambitious ruler like Caesar, Rome would've become slaves to him. However, Antony's speech says how he loved Caesar like all of Rome and how he had helped all of them and how Brutus was a "honorable man" (sarcasm ). I wouldn't have been moved by Brutus's speech because i had KNOWN what had happened during the murder. I witnessed it. And how different it was from out of love for Rome. It seemed more like out of hatred for Caesar. 

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William Delaney | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 14, 2014 at 7:12 PM (Answer #18)

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Brutus' speech seems stiff and rehearsed. No doubt Shakespeare intended it to sound rehearsed, since Brutus had plenty of time to compose and rehearse it. Brutus shows himself to be an egotist. He talks mainly about himself and seems anxious to have the mob think well of him, not only as an important man, but also as an accomplished orator. 

Antony's speech, on the other hand, sounds spontaneous and unrehearsed. This is partly because it actually is spontaneous and unrehearsed. The big difference between Brutus and Antony in this situation is that Brutus knew Caesar was going to die and Antony did not. Whereas Brutus' speech seems stiff, formal, rehearsed, schooled, pompous and egotistical, Antony's seems spontaneous, off-the-cuff, unrehearsed, unstructured, and democratic. Antony does not talk about himself but about Caesar and the commoners. He also makes many references to Brutus, calling him an honorable man but making him seem proud and aloof--which he is. 

Cassius warned Brutus against allowing Antony to speak in Caesar's funeral service. Cassius understood that Antony was cunning and also that Caesar had been tremendously popular with the common people, so that it would not be too difficult to reignite their love for the murdered man and thereby turn them against the conspirators. Cassius was never loved by the commoners. He didn't deserve to be or expect to be. He was a selfish, miserly, cruel man. He expected the worst of everybody because he judged others by himself. Brutus, on the other hand, expected the best of everybody because he too judged others by himself. He couldn't foresee that the Roman mob could be made to hate him because he thought they held the same high opinion of him that he held of himself. He had persuaded himself that he was doing the good and patriotic thing in murdering Caesar, and he expected the commoners to see it his way.

I cannot compare the actual speeches made by Brutus and Antony after the actual assassination of Julius Caesar because that was over two thousand years ago and nobody knows what was said. I can only compare the speeches of Brutus and Antony as written by Shakespeare. Antony's speech is one of the most moving things Shakespeare ever wrote. Brutus' speech, as imagined by Shakespeare, does not move me at all. It makes him seem pompous, superior, arrogant, aloof, proud, cold and bookish. Shakespeare's Marc Antony has the advantage of having Shakespeare write his lines for him, and one can imagine how much pleasure Shakespeare must have taken in having the opportunity to write his own iambic-pentameter version of Antony's history-making funeral oration.

Sources:

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cmcqueeney | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted January 12, 2008 at 1:43 PM (Answer #2)

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Both speeches contain some powerful and skilled rhetoric.  If I were an eyewitness to the scene, I think both would have been effective, but the effects would differ.  Brutus' speech would have "moved" me more initially, because that is its intent.  Brutus uses emotional appeal and rhetorical questions to stir the heart of his listener.  Antony's speech is also powerful, but its power lies in its intellectual appeal and its emotional ending.  Antony's speech makes his audience think.  He skillfully points out the fallacies in Brutus's speech without directly stating them himself.  He uses repeition and rhetorical questions to cause his audience to see the situation for what it is.  Then the speech ends with him becoming so emotionally stirred he cannot continue.  Antony's speech contains the elements of emotion and intellect making it an overall more powerful speech.

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mrerick | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted January 12, 2008 at 2:17 PM (Answer #3)

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What I recognized as so powerful in Antony's speech was how he simply told the conspirators what to think.  Brutus does a nice job withhis rhetorical questions in getting the commoners to realize they didn't want to be "slaves", but Antony comes out and tells the people they should be inspired to rage and mutiny. (I know Antony didn't actually tell them that, but the tone of his speech made it very apparent.)

Everybody who was present almost had to follow Antony because he spoke last.  Brutus should have recognized how fickle and easily persuded these people were (remember Flavius yelling at them in Act 1.1?), and he shouldn't have left them alone with Antony.  After seeing Antony cry and show you Caesar's brutally hacked body, wouldn't you be upset with Brutus also?

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linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted January 14, 2008 at 1:11 PM (Answer #4)

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Most definitely Antony's speech would have been the most moving. Antony must have been charming and knew how to seduce a crowd; think of his many love affairs. (Didn't he have three women pregnant at the same time, one of them Cleopatra?) Caesar was his friend and mentor, so his speech would have been full of passion and pain. I'd like to have witnessed that speech.

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anshika | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 11, 2009 at 3:23 AM (Answer #6)

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1.                              These speeches have very different goals.  Antony wishes to win over the crowd - Brutus only wishes to express his reasoning.  Brutus does not attempt to persuade the crowd; instead, he actually announces he will kill himself if they wish it.  However, his honesty and his reasoning do have an effect on the audience.  Unfortunately, the quite miss Brutus' point... he tries to explain that he loves Rome too much to have it surrended to a tyrant, and yet the crowd is willing to make him one when he is done speaking.

Antony's speech is meant to be persuasive.  Like Brutus, he does sway the crowd, but more to his point - which is that the conspirators must be killed and that Caesar is a hero and victim.  Brutus is straightforward and honest, while Antony is skilled in rhetoric and uses these skills to manipulate.  While his goal should not (necessarily) be seen as self-serving, he does manipulate.  He uses flattering speech, cadence, and dramatic pauses - not to mention props, such as Caesar's bloody toga - to whip the audience up into a riotous frenzy.  It works, too, and all Brutus' careful reaonsing and planning is quickly turned against him

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gaurivarshney | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 7, 2009 at 10:48 PM (Answer #10)

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Both speeches contain some powerful and skilled rhetoric.  If I were an eyewitness to the scene, I think both would have been effective, but the effects would differ.  Brutus' speech would have "moved" me more initially, because that is its intent.  Brutus uses emotional appeal and rhetorical questions to stir the heart of his listener.  Antony's speech is also powerful, but its power lies in its intellectual appeal and its emotional ending.  Antony's speech makes his audience think.  He skillfully points out the fallacies in Brutus's speech without directly stating them himself.  He uses repeition and rhetorical questions to cause his audience to see the situation for what it is.  Then the speech ends with him becoming so emotionally stirred he cannot continue.  Antony's speech contains the elements of emotion and intellect making it an overall more powerful speech.

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Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 8, 2009 at 9:53 PM (Answer #11)

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Antony's speech would have reached me more, especially after having just witnessed a brutal, bloody murder. Brutus is so naive. He believes that if he simply explains logically why Caesar has been murdered, everybody will understand, being as high minded as he is. Not the case.

Antony is a master of persuasion, using one rhetorical technique after another. He creates a bond with his audience at once, reminding everybody that they are all his friends, his fellow Romans, and his countrymen. He appeals to universal experience. Caesar was his friend whom he loved. I have friends, too, and I would identify with this. He talks about being with Caesar on a summer evening. Everybody has memories of special times with a friend. So, hey, Antony is just like me!

Then, it must be said that Antony is a great actor and knows stagecraft. Pointing out where Caesar's bloody robe had been cut by the daggers is riveting, but to suddenly pull the robe away to reveal his body? Very effective in creating a human response of horror and in reminding everyone what they had just seen, thus reliving the murder itself. Antony would have convinced me that he was grieving, and I would have understood his anger.

When he had been left alone with Caesar's body, Antony swore to bring vengeance down on the conspirators and to plunge Rome into horrendous warfare--"Let slip the dogs of war!" When he gave his funeral oration, he threw open all the doors in the kennel! (Really bad metaphor . . . )

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srishcool | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 13, 2012 at 11:58 PM (Answer #15)

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1.                              These speeches have very different goals.  Antony wishes to win over the crowd - Brutus only wishes to express his reasoning.  Brutus does not attempt to persuade the crowd; instead, he actually announces he will kill himself if they wish it.  However, his honesty and his reasoning do have an effect on the audience.  Unfortunately, the quite miss Brutus' point... he tries to explain that he loves Rome too much to have it surrended to a tyrant, and yet the crowd is willing to make him one when he is done speaking.

Antony's speech is meant to be persuasive.  Like Brutus, he does sway the crowd, but more to his point - which is that the conspirators must be killed and that Caesar is a hero and victim.  Brutus is straightforward and honest, while Antony is skilled in rhetoric and uses these skills to manipulate.  While his goal should not (necessarily) be seen as self-serving, he does manipulate.  He uses flattering speech, cadence, and dramatic pauses - not to mention props, such as Caesar's bloody toga - to whip the audience up into a riotous frenzy.  It works, too, and all Brutus' careful reaonsing and planning is quickly turned against him

amazing answer..surely ill get full marks in boards if i write dis answer.well interpreted.gud wordings.
thanks alot,
this has helped me a lot :)

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arjit | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 14, 2009 at 3:49 AM (Answer #8)

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sakar

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gaurivarshney | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 7, 2009 at 10:47 PM (Answer #9)

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1.                              These speeches have very different goals.  Antony wishes to win over the crowd - Brutus only wishes to express his reasoning.  Brutus does not attempt to persuade the crowd; instead, he actually announces he will kill himself if they wish it.  However, his honesty and his reasoning do have an effect on the audience.  Unfortunately, the quite miss Brutus' point... he tries to explain that he loves Rome too much to have it surrended to a tyrant, and yet the crowd is willing to make him one when he is done speaking.

Antony's speech is meant to be persuasive.  Like Brutus, he does sway the crowd, but more to his point - which is that the conspirators must be killed and that Caesar is a hero and victim.  Brutus is straightforward and honest, while Antony is skilled in rhetoric and uses these skills to manipulate.  While his goal should not (necessarily) be seen as self-serving, he does manipulate.  He uses flattering speech, cadence, and dramatic pauses - not to mention props, such as Caesar's bloody toga - to whip the audience up into a riotous frenzy.  It works, too, and all Brutus' careful reaonsing and planning is quickly turned against him

hie ur speech is cul ....gal....

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aimeebenish | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 1, 2011 at 8:28 AM (Answer #14)

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What is the general theme of Brutus' speech about Caesar?

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