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What does this passage said by Antony in his speech mean and why dose he make this...

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inuyasha123 | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 3) eNoter

Posted February 28, 2010 at 3:09 AM via web

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What does this passage said by Antony in his speech mean and why dose he make this statement in Act 3, Scene 2?

I am no orator, as Brutus is, But, as you know me all, a plain blunt man That love my friend. And that they know full well That gave me public leave to speak of him. For I have neither wit nor words nor worth, Action nor utterance nor the power of speech, To stir men’s blood. I only speak right on. also does antony himself lack these skills  and is there anirony ?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 28, 2010 at 3:18 AM (Answer #1)

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Basically, what Antony is saying in these lines is that he is not gifted with words the way Brutus is.  He says that all he can do is speak plainly, as a man who loved his friend (Caesar).

Of course, Antony is being ironic throughout this whole speech.  He is trying to place himself as a regular person so the people will identify with him.  He is trying to incite them to fight against Brutus and the conspirators by praising Caesar and he does this very effectively because he knows what he is doing.

So Antony shows himself to be a very effective orator in this scene even though he claims he isn't.

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Doug Stuva | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted February 28, 2010 at 4:05 AM (Answer #2)

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In Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, Antony goes on to say, just after the lines you quote, that if he were Brutus [if he possessed the speaking abilities that Brutus does] he would rile the crowd up to to move the very stones of Rome and mutiny against the conspirators who killed Caesar.  He says:

...But were I Brutus,

And Brutus Antony, there were an Antony

Would ruffle up your spirits, and put a tongue

In every wound of Caesar's that should move

The stones of Rome to rise and mutiny.  (Act 3.2.227-231)

So the lines you mention are the set up for the concluding lines I mention.  He first downgrades his own speaking abilities using understatement, in order to ironically state what he would do if he could speak well.  Thus, he honors the agreement he made with Brutus not to say anything against the conspirators, but accomplishes his purpose of inciting the mob to violence and revenge for Caesar's killing.

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