In Julius Caesar, how was Antony able to win over the confidence of the mourners at Caeser's funeral?

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scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Antony's masterful funeral speech is largely the reason he is able to gain the support of the mourners.  He has to follow Brutus who gives an effective speech and who has temporarily persuaded the funeral-goers that the conspirators and he assassinated Caesar for the good of Rome. Antony also agreed to follow several stipulations placed on him by Brutus.  He must speak from the same place as Brutus did; he must speak good of the conspirators, and he must go after Brutus.  Antony uses each of those stipulations to his advantage.  The following elements are several key parts to Antony's effectiveness in gaining the mourners' support and trust.

1. He makes statements about Caesar's ambition (for which the leader was supposedly killed) but then shows how that ambition had greatly benefited the people of Rome.

2. He sarcastically repeats "and Brutus is an honorable man," thus fulfilling his agreement to speak only good of the conspirators all while implying that Brutus is the opposite of honorable.

3.  At first, he remains in the same pulpit as Brutus, but then he asks the crowd's permission to come down among them.  This allows the crowd to think of Antony as one of them, someone who is mourning with them.

4. He elicits deep sympathy from the crowd when he points out Caesar's bloody robe and stab wounds.

5. He brings Caesar's will with him, builds suspense by not reading it right away, and then reads it when the crowd pleads with him to do so.  The will reveals that Caesar--even in death--had not forgotten his people.  He left money to each Roman citizen and groves for them to enjoy.

6. Finally, once Antony has the crowd completely on his side, he stirs them into a frenzy and sends them out to get revenge for their beloved Caesar's death.

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Julius Caesar

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