In "Julius Caesar", how do actions have a bigger influence than words?In Julius Caesar, How are the characters more impacted or motivated by actions and not words? The play is known for it's...

In "Julius Caesar", how do actions have a bigger influence than words?

In Julius Caesar, How are the characters more impacted or motivated by actions and not words? The play is known for it's rhetorical influence, but actions have more influence on the characters. Brutus is one of the characters that is driven by actions.

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mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Marc Antony is, indeed, more effective with the plebians because of his actions.  The uncovering of Caesar's body, as so cogently mentioned above, is extremely effective.  Combined with his producing of Caesar's will, Antony ignites a civil war.

Portia's suicide that is not mentioned by Brutus indicates the fatal direction he heads along with his ignoring of Cassius's counsel to remain in Sardis and not march to Philippi.

shake99's profile pic

shake99 | Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

This question becomes a little more complex when you think about Antony's "honorable men" speech. Yes, it's a rhetorical masterpiece, and the simple Roman citizens are no match for his powers of persuasion. But, what does Antony do at the very beginning of his speech? He uncovers Caesar's body for the people to see--this is an action.

lsumner's profile pic

lsumner | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted on

Brutus did not speak loudly enough with his actions in that he allowed Antony to live. Brutus should have listened to Cassius and killed Antony. Antony destroyed Brutus with his rhetoric. Clearly, Antony and his speech made Brutus's actions not as effective.  

e-martin's profile pic

e-martin | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I would have to agree with the third post here and suggest that the rhetorical power of Antony's speech is more compelling and effective than any action. The murder of Caesar does not seem to have riled up the mob nearly as much as the speech Antony gave to characterize the men behind the murder.

litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

In a way, the play is a good example of the power of words versus actions.  Caesar and Antony use words, Brutus and company use actions.  It should be noted that Brutus also uses words to trick Caesar into thinking he is a loyal friend.  Ultimately, I suppose actions win out in terms of Caesar’s assassination, but Antony fights back with his speech about “honorable men” for sure!

rrteacher's profile pic

rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Of course, Brutus is the leader of the action that the entire play revolves around, i.e. the assassination of Caesar. So in a way, he and his co-conspirators used action, not words, to rescue the Republic, in their own minds. But on the other hand, I do think Shakespeare is more interested in the power of rhetoric to move the masses, as the example of Antony's speech clearly shows. 

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