Explain the significance of Antony's funeral oration in Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare.

The significance of Antony's funeral oration is that it publicly reveals Antony's stance against Caesar's assassins and sways the Roman public in his favor, marking a turning point in the play.

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Antony's funeral oration in act three, scene two of Julius Caesar is the dramatic high point of the play. The speech shifts the balance of power in Antony’s favor, because it immediately spurs the masses to riot against the conspirators. Before Antony addresses the crowd, Brutus speaks to the public and claims that Caesar was an ambitious politician who would have oppressed the population if given the opportunity. Brutus also states that he would be willing to take his own life if he is in the wrong, and the crowd initially supports Brutus's assassination of Caesar.

Following Brutus's speech,...

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jdjames | Student

The significance of Antony's speech is to persuade the citizens that Brutus is wrong and that Caesar did not deserve to die.  By saying that Brutus is an "honorable man," then giving examples of Caesar's altruistic qualities, he is using verbal irony. 

The oration style is clearly persuasive - or rhetoric.  If you break it down, you will find many rhetorical devices present such as metonymy, antistrophe, etc...  (sorry, I'm not going to do this part of your homework for you).

As far as the result, read act III, scene ii - after Antony's "friends, Romans, countrymen" speech.  It should be clear there if he persuaded the citizens or not.

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