In a brief description, explain how Mark Antony effectively utilizes the three modes of rhetoric: ethos, pathos, and logos. What makes him win over the crowd using these three modes?  ...

In a brief description, explain how Mark Antony effectively utilizes the three modes of rhetoric: ethos, pathos, and logos. What makes him win over the crowd using these three modes?

 

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/247644 

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iandavidclark3 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a great question, particularly because rhetoric was historically relied on by Roman politicians like Marc Antony. Before you can understand how Antony uses the modes of rhetoric, however, it's helpful to remember what they are:

  1. Ethos: the appeal to morality
  2. Pathos: the appeal to emotions
  3. Logos: the appeal to reason or logic

These tools can be helpful for speakers who are trying to persuade a crowd to accept a particular belief or to galvanize a particular action. Antony makes use of ethos, pathos, and logos during his funeral speech in Act 3, Scene 2 of Julius Caesar in order to turn the plebeians against the conspirators, Brutus and Cassius.

Antony uses ethos in many ways, but most prominently in his effort to describe Caesar himself as a moral leader. By claiming that Caesar "did thrice refuse" (97) when he was offered a crown of kingship, Antony suggests that Caesar was a defender of democracy and an opponent of dictatorship. Thus, the implied suggestion is that those who are morally opposed to dictatorship should stand by Caesar in order to defend representational government.

Antony uses logos in order to suggest that Caesar was beneficial for the state. First, he claims Caesar enriched Rome through the ransoms exchanged for prisoners of war (88-9). Then, in the final lines of his speech, he says, "O judgement, thou art fled to brutish beasts" (104). By making both of these references, he suggests that it is reasonable to support Caesar, as he was a just governor who made the state prosperous. Furthermore, Antony characterizes the conspirators as lowly beasts bereft of reason. As such, he tacitly suggests that only reasonable, logical people would support Caesar, while only unreasonable fools would support the assassins. 

Finally, Antony uses pathos to elicit an emotional response from the plebeians. He claims Caesar "wept" for the poor (91), and he also finishes his speech with heaped melodrama, claiming that his "heart is in the coffin there with Caesar,/ And I must pause till it come back to me" (106-7). The suggestion here is that Antony is too overcome with emotion to continue speaking, and his "love" for Caesar is meant to evoke pity in the plebeians and outrage that anyone would kill someone as lovable as the former dictator. 

Essentially, Antony creates a fictional cardboard cut-out of Caesar in order to win over the crowd and turn them against Brutus and Cassius. His use of ethos, logos, and pathos contribute to the portrait of Caesar as a just and wrongly punished leader who must be avenged. It's important to recognize that Antony's love for Caesar is probably completely fabricated; he merely uses the appearance of affection in order to further his own political ambitions. 

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Julius Caesar

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