Why Is Antony's Speech More Effective

Why, in Julius Caesar, was Antony’s speech more effective than that of Brutus?

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Brutus makes the mistake of appealing to the intellect of the people rather than to their emotions. It's actually a case of the psychological mechanism of projection. Brutus himself is an intellectual, who agreed to join the conspirators because of an internal, rational process in which he weighs the checks and balances of the matter and concludes that doing away with Caesar will be for the good of Rome, not for himself personally. So he attributes to the crowd this ability to reason things out, just as he has done. Brutus is the one conspirator who did not wish to kill Caesar. And when he lays out to the crowd his dispassionate reasons for having acted, he does strike a chord with them, to the degree that at first, they don't even want Antony to speak, and he must quiet them down with the famous opening of his oration, "friends, Romans, countrymen."

The problem with Brutus's approach is that he doesn't understand "mob psychology." Especially in the midst of a crisis, the feelings of...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 1075 words.)

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on April 9, 2020
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