What is an example of parallelism from Mark Antony's speech?
As was mentioned in the previous post, parallelism is a rhetorical device where the speaker uses similarly structured sentences in a repetitive manner for emphasis. Parallelism adds rhythm to a speech and conveys a strong message. In addition to repeating the phrase "Brutus is an honorable man" throughout his funeral orientation, Antony also repeats the phrase "Yet Brutus says he was ambitious." Antony continually praises Caesar's selfless acts before mentioning that "Brutus says he was ambitious." Antony initially says that Caesar was his faithful friend and follows this statement by saying, "But Brutus says he was ambitious." Antony goes on to mention that Caesar enriched the city, wept with the poor, and denied the royal crown three times, yet "Brutus says he was ambitious." Antony juxtaposes Caesar's benevolence with Brutus's assumption that he was an ambitious man. Antony's use of parallelism builds his case against Brutus's speculations that Caesar was an ambitious tyrant. Antony gradually discredits Brutus by illustrating Caesar's goodwill and by following his examples with the phrase "Yet Brutus says he was ambitious."
Parallelism is a common rhetorical device used for emphasis. As part of a parallel structure, the orator repeats key phrases. In his "I Have a Dream" speech, for example, Martin Luther King, Jr. starts numerous sentences with "I Have a Dream." This helps to drive home the central point of the speech.
In Mark Antony's speech, he repeats the line, "And Brutus is an honorable man." While that sounds innocent enough, the repetition of "Brutus" and "honorable" gets the audience to question whether Brutus is, indeed, honorable, in light of the fact that Brutus just killed his best friend (and the emperor), Julius Caesar. In between stating, "And Brutus is an honorable man," Mark Antony is actually going about making a case AGAINST Brutus. Thus, each time that line is repeated, the audience is revisiting the idea of Brutus' honor. Each time, they are increasingly coming to the conclusion that Brutus is not honorable at all in how he handled Caesar's assassination.