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

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Marc Antony has ulterior motives when he speaks to the crowd after Caesar’s death.  Brutus has already given the explanation for the death of Caesar.  Now, it is Antony’s turn to convince the audience that this is was a terrible wrong.  

In Act III, Scene ii, Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, Marc Antony turns the audience against the conspirators.  Antony begins:

‘Friends, Roman, Countrymen, I come to bury Caesar not to praise him.’

Even the first words of his speech serve a purpose.  Antony is placing himself on the same level as the commoners.  As he promised Brutus, he tells...

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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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