How did Antony convince the crowd in his funeral oration to seek revenge in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar?

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Marc Antony's famous funeral oration employs some very persuasive elements. First of all, he puts the angry crowd at ease by claiming that he simply wants to bury Julius Caesar , not praise the fallen dictator. Also, by saying that he will neither speak ill of the assassins nor Caeser,...

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Marc Antony's famous funeral oration employs some very persuasive elements. First of all, he puts the angry crowd at ease by claiming that he simply wants to bury Julius Caesar, not praise the fallen dictator. Also, by saying that he will neither speak ill of the assassins nor Caeser, Antony piques the further interest of his audience.

Of course, Antony's goal is to fire up the mob. He wants them to demand vengeance for the fallen leader of Rome. However, because he will not come right out and condemn the conspirators, he employs ironic repetition to do the job. By repeatedly calling Brutus and Cassius "honorable men" in a sarcastic and disingenuous way, he is implying that they are just the opposite. Furthermore, Brutus had just finished a speech calling Caesar overly ambitious. Antony counters by supplying examples of Caesar spurning ambition in favor of his people's love. He then, in a macabre show, points out the bloody holes in Caesar's mantle to show how these "honorable men" betrayed Caesar.

This all serves to convince the people that Brutus and Cassius are hypocrites who killed a beloved leader for self-serving reasons. He ends his speech by reading Caesar's will which is full of gifts for the people. Surely the self-serving and ambitious man that Brutus had described would not be so generous, Antony seems to imply. This fully convinces the crowd that Caesar's death was not justified and that vengeance must be had.

Throughout his stirring oration, Antony seeks to connect himself to the common Roman. He says that he is no great speaker, just a Roman like the rest of them who loved Ceasar and was loved by him in return. This helps to make a powerful connection to the people. Through this he distances himself from the conspirators. He draws a line between those who stood to benefit by the dictator's love and generosity and those who killed him in a bloody betrayal.

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In act 3, scene 2, Mark Antony begins by speaking highly of Brutus and referring to him as an honorable man. He proceeds to bring up the fact that Caesar is accused of being an ambitious leader before he lists Caesar's benevolent actions, which challenge the idea that he was ambitious. Antony comments on how Caesar brought wealth to the city, sympathized with the poor, and declined the crown several times.

He then reminds the crowd that they once loved Caesar and asks why they refrain from mourning him. Antony proceeds to guilt the crowd for their callous reactions to Caesar's death while simultaneously mentioning that he has no intention of offending Brutus. He then cleverly stirs the crowd's emotions by commenting on Caesar's will, which he says will enrage everyone if he were to read it aloud. Antony then comes down from the pulpit, has the crowd surround Caesar's body, and stirs their emotions by pointing out the various stab wounds throughout Caesar's corpse. As Antony stirs the crowd's emotions, he calls the conspirators traitors before calming the crowd.

Antony then downplays his rhetorical skills and ability to move the crowd before reading Caesar's will aloud. Antony proceeds to inform the crowd that Caesar has bequeathed his magnificent properties to the population and has left each man seventy-five drachmas. The crowd is suddenly whipped into a frenzy after discovering Caesar's benevolence and instantly begins to riot. Overall, Antony presents several moving arguments, which supposedly prove that Caesar was not ambitious, and convinces the crowd to riot against the senators who assassinated Julius Caesar.

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Marc Antony's funeral oration is the emotional high point of Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare.  Brutus made the arrangements for the speeches and foolishly chose to let Antony speak after his speech. In addition, Brutus decides to leave the Senate area, so he does not hear Antony's speech. 

Antony has a mission. He wants to accomplish two things: prove that the assassination of the greatest Roman was a terrible wrong and then to move the crowd against the conspirators.  His oration accomplishes not only those things but elevates him to the status of the head of the government.

The crowd is still feeling the effects of Brutus's oration when Antony begins to speak.  Initially, he has to get the attention of the mob.

Antony begins by complimenting Brutus and calling him honorable.  His other strategy is to tell the crowd that his only purpose is to bury Caesar not to compliment him.

At every twist and turn, Antony will connect the killing of this great man to the name of Brutus.  The crowd will hear him saying it without prejudice but eventually they will not connect the two things together: assassination of the great Caesar and Brutus the assassin.

Antony lists all of the things that Caesar has done for Rome. He uses words of Brutus and twists them to show that Caesar was anything but ambitious.  He had refused the crown...did the crowd not see this happen. How is this ambition?

He asks important questions to the crowd:  Did you not once love Caesar? What has made you change your mind?

Antony uses his own emotions to show that he is a man that actually loved Caesar and is mourning his loss. Antony teases the crowd by showing them the will of Caesar.

You will compel me then to read the will?
Then make a ring about the corpse of Caesar,
And let me show you him that made the will.
Shall I descend? And will you give me leave?

He puts it away and instead brings out the body of Caesar. As he pulls away the cloak, he indicates where each of the conspirators has stabbed Caesar with special emphasis on the knife wound of Brutus.

His feigned humility comes to the forefront when he tells the audience that he is not the great orator that Brutus is. If he were, he would incite the crowd to seek revenge. Using reverse psychology, Antony reminds the crowd about the will and notes that they may not be interested in what Caesar’s will states. Of course, the crowd responds begging to hear the will. Antony tells the citizens all of the things that Caesar has left to the people of Rome. It is then that Antony’s oration sends the crowd out to find and seek vengeance for Caesar.

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