Mark Antony’s speech begins by appealing to the crowd first personally, then patriotically (“Friends, Romans, countrymen” as opposed to Brutus, who put country first with “Romans, countrymen and lovers”). Antony repeats Brutus’s claim that Caesar was ambitious and says he comes before them with Brutus’s permission, careful at this stage to speak of his enemy with the greatest respect. He says that “Brutus is an honorable man,” a refrain he keeps repeating, each time with less conviction, having produced evidence to the contrary.
Antony gives instances of Caesar’s generosity and fellow feeling with the poor. He points out that Caesar was offered a crown and refused it three times. He then pauses, ostensibly from an excess of emotion, saying that his “heart is in the coffin there with Caesar.” The rhetorical purpose, however, is to give the fickle crowd time to process his points and come round to his view, which they show every sign of doing.
Antony begins to speak...
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