Explain how Antony's funeral speech persuades the Romans to go againist the conspirators and their act of killing Julius Caesar.

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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It is an historical fact that Antony's funeral oration caused the Roman mob to revolt against the assassins of Julius Caesar. Shakespeare did not know what the real Marc Antony said. He had to invent his own funeral oration. Antony, posing as a common soldier and not an orator, offered several proofs that Caesar was not ambitious, as Brutus had claimed in his own oration. Antony then appealed to the mob's emotions, reminding them of how much they had loved Caesar just a short time earlier and then showing them Caesar's mutilated body. But Antony's main argument, as he well knew, was his appeal to the mob's avarice. He revealed the parchment containing Caesar's will and, after pretending he wasn't going to read it, got the mob to force him to do so. Caesar had left every Roman citizen a large sum of cash, seventy-five drachmas, as well as some lands to become a public park. This revelation incited the mob to start a riot which drove Brutus, Cassius, and all the other conspirators out of Rome and enabled Antony to seize power with Caesar's nephew and heir Octavius. Antony's funeral oration is the turning point in the play.


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