Explain the following quote from Julius Caesar and use some examples from Acts I and II. "Language is a powerful weapon, and in the hands of a skilled person, it can be used to manipulate...

Explain the following quote from Julius Caesar and use some examples from Acts I and II.

"Language is a powerful weapon, and in the hands of a skilled person, it can be used to manipulate others."

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amy-lepore's profile pic

amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

This quote is so important to the play.  Language is used to manipulate and interpret so many different events and instances in Julius Caesar.

Right off the top of my head, I think of the conspirators persuading Brutus to their cause with their hidden notes and messages and their speeches to him.

There is the soothsayer who attempts to persuade Caesar to beware of March 15, but Caesar is too proud to consider it.

Portia uses her power of persuasion along with a wound in the thigh to persuade Brutus that he can trust her with the problem that plagues his mind.  She is strong enough to take it.

Calpurnia persuades Caesar not to go to the Senate because of her dream, and then Decius uses his extraordinary gifts of wit and persuasion to turn the dream around and convince Caesar that the dream is a good omen.

Later on in the play, Brutus uses his gift of gab to speak with the crowds and convince them that killing Caesar was necessary.  Mark Antony claims he is not a public speaker, but he quickly turns the crowd's mind from Brutus' cause to support Caesar posthumously and to rise up against the conspirators.

There is much to be said for language and how powerful it is in the hands (or mouths) of talented orators.  Many people throughout the ages have been successfully manipulated by words--just take a look at the presidential debates on TV and editorials printed in newspapers to know this is true.

Sources:
cshell1122's profile pic

cshell1122 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Hey Brittany! Yeah. I'm doing the same one. Think of things we've done in class, discussing different effects in societies of rulers feeding their people lies. (using language) Like, for instance, 1984 where EVERYTHING was controlled by the leaders saying what could be published, what was said in speeches, etc. Gradually through this and eliminating words through "newspeak," etc. they were able to control even the minds of the civilians. Use things you've learned in other classes too. (Hitler.... etc) there have been a lot of people throughout History who have manipulated whole societies through Language. Good luck! Hope you're having an awesome Spring Break!

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