Ethos is the quality of character or credibility. Brutus addresses the crowd of plebians, or common people, of Rome in act 3, scene 2, knowing they loved Caesar and are upset that he and other senators killed him. Brutus therefore plays on his own reputation (character) as a man of...
Ethos is the quality of character or credibility. Brutus addresses the crowd of plebians, or common people, of Rome in act 3, scene 2, knowing they loved Caesar and are upset that he and other senators killed him. Brutus therefore plays on his own reputation (character) as a man of honor as he addresses the crowd. He knows this will enhance the credibility of all of the assassins. Brutus refers to his honor, for which he is known, when he says:
Believe me for mine honor, and have respect to mine honor that you may believe.
Brutus also plays on his well-known love for Caesar. He was Caesar's very close friend, so much so that Caesar, as he was dying, expressed surprise that Brutus was part of the plot. Brutus therefore mentions his deep love of Caesar to build his case that he had to do this act despite not wanting to. He builds his credibility, or ethos, even higher as he contends that he loved Caesar but killed him because he loved Rome (including the people listening) more:
If there be any in this assembly, any dear friend of Caesar’s, to him I say that Brutus' love to Caesar was no less than his. If then that friend demand why Brutus rose against Caesar, this is my answer: not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more.
Brutus goes on to assert his character as a fully human man who weeps at Caesar's death, rejoices that he was fortunate, and honors him as well—but had to kill him because Caesar was too ambitious:
As Caesar loved me, I weep for him. As he was fortunate, I rejoice at it. As he was valiant, I honor him. But, as he was ambitious, I slew him
Finally, he builds his credibility higher by asserting his own sense of honor, saying he that as he killed the man he loved for the good of Rome, so he will kill himself if need be:
I slew my best lover for the good of Rome, I have the same dagger for myself when it shall please my country to need my death.
Brutus's speech is very effective. Brutus builds his ethos, or character, up to the point that the listeners respect him and believe he did what he did for the good of Rome. They are, at this point, firmly on his side.