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What are we to make of Antony's funeral oration for Brutus?

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enotes | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted September 8, 2013 at 3:56 PM via web

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What are we to make of Antony's funeral oration for Brutus?

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enotes | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted September 8, 2013 at 3:56 PM (Answer #1)

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It is ironic that Mark Antony, the Roman general whose funeral oration turns the people against Brutus and the other "honorable" men is assigned the dramatic function of praising the fallen Brutus at the play's end. Antony calls Brutus the "noblest Roman of them all," but his words thereafter suggest that the "all" in question includes only the conspirators against Caesar. The conclusion of this brief speech, in which Nature stands up to say of Brutus "`This was a man!'" (V, v, l.75) is oddly hollow. Antony is confronted with an occasion that requires some sort of statement, but his praise for Brutus is oddly inaccurate (Brutus is not truly "gentle") and couched is such broad generalizations that it could apply to virtually anyone.

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