What differentiates the funeral orations of Brutus and Mark Antony in Julius Caesar?

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The basic difference between the funeral orations of Brutus and Mark Antony is that Brutus appeals to logic while Mark Antony appeals to emotions.

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The basic difference between the funeral speeches of Brutus and Antony is that Brutus, characteristically, appeals to reason and logic, while Antony, characteristically, appeals to emotions. Brutus is an introverted, solitary philosopher, and his speech to the citizens is totally in character. He explains his reasons for killing Caesar. He is also a trained orator and delivers a sort of model of classic rhetoric. This is particularly obvious in the balanced sentences he uses in his opening remarks.

Hear me for my cause, 
and be silent, that you may hear. Believe me for mine
honor, and have respect to mine honor, that you may
believe. Censure me in your wisdom, and awake your
senses, that you may the better judge. 

Brutus is a rational man and believes that other men can be persuaded by reason. He is anxious to justify himself. His speech is full of the word "I." He never once mentions Cassius or any of the other conspirators. His major character trait is that he is a thinker. He expects other men to be thinkers too, because we all tend to judge others by ourselves.

Antony, on the other hand, is an extrovert and a hedonist. Throughout Shakespeare's Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra, Antony is characterized as a man who loves pleasures of the senses. This, of course, includes lots of wine drinking, and drinking liquor is antithetical to thinking. Whereas Brutus loves to think, it would seem that Antony is an escapist who doesn't like to think at all. His main character trait is that he is guided by his feelings. He expects other men to be guided by their emotions too--and in this he shows a much better understanding of people than Brutus. Antony appeals to the citizens' feelings right from the beginning. He does this easily, because he really does have strong feelings about the death of his friend Julius Caesar. He loved Caesar, he hates the conspirators, he wants revenge--and he also wants to save his own life and to achieve a position of power in the new order which will have to take form after the elimination of Julius Caesar. Here is only one example of the emotionalism in Antony's speech:

You all did love him once, not without cause;
What cause withholds you then to mourn for him?
O judgement, thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And men have lost their reason. Bear with me;
My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar,
And I must pause till it come back to me.

Antony is not giving a formal speech. Here he actually breaks down and weeps. Pretty soon he has this whole mob of rough, tough men crying with him. 

O, now you weep, and I perceive you feel
The dint of pity. These are gracious drops.
Kind souls, what weep you when you but behold
Our Caesar's vesture wounded? Look you here,
Here is himself, marr'd, as you see, with traitors.

According to Plutarch, on whom Shakespeare relied heavily for the incidents in his play, it was when Antony displayed Caesar's shredded and bloody cloak that the citizens were moved to mutiny. This is just one more example of the way in which Antony wisely appeals to emotions rather than logic. When the mob tears the unfortunate Cinna the poet to pieces just because he has the same name as one of the conspirators, the mob is demonstrating their irrationality.

Brutus' speech seems cold, stiff, formal, schooled, and rehearsed. No doubt Brutus planned it ahead of time because he knew what was going to happen. Antony couldn't have rehearsed his own speech because the assassination took him completely by surprise. Antony's speech is extemporaneous and highly charged with emotion. These two men's speeches reveal their characters. Brutus is bookish and doesn't really like or understand other people, especially the common people. Antony is athletic and fun-loving, and he understands other people because he spends much of his time consorting with them. The citizens respect Brutus but they identify with Antony as one of their own. Brutus made a terrible mistake when he agreed to allow Antony to address the Roman citizens at Caesar's funeral.

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Brutus' oration shows that he has sincerely acted on the behalf of Rome, and speaks plainly and to the point.  He states his case as to why Caesar had to die, appealing to the crowd's reason, and convinces them of his honest intentions to do what he thought was best for Rome.  In contrast, Mark Antony appeals to the crowd's emotion -- stating how Caesar had had the Roman welfare near and dear to his heart, ("When the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept!" ) and what civic improvements he was to make for the Rome's benefit, as examples.  He states that he and Caesar were friends, and dramatically reveals the stabbed, bloody corpse as a final persuasion that he was wrongfully murdered, and incites the crowd to punish Brutus and company for their wrongdoing.

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Compare and contrast the funeral speeches of Antony and Brutus in Julius Caesar.

This is the classic "Julius Caesar" question and I'm not sure how many millions of essays have been written about it! I'll just start you off with the major points which you can then develop:

  • Brutus' speech is hugely rhetorical, with a particular emphasis on antithesis (where one word is "set against" another word to create a balanced effect). Read aloud the following quote (my emboldenings) and ask how natural it sounds:

    • Hear me for my cause and be silent, that you may hear. Believe me for mine honor, and have respect to mine honor, that you may believe.
  • Brutus' speech is very, very patterned, and formal. It doesn't sound, in short, at all like he is making it up on the spot. This fits with the high-minded idealism of the speech itself, which often has Brutus referring to himself in the third person, and which argues that Brutus' murder of Caesar was actually nothing to do with Caesar himself, but everything to do with Rome. "Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more."
  • Antony, who famously begins by addressing his audience as "Friends" is far more colloquial, and the audience interrupt/respond to his speech throughout (unlike Brutus, who delivers it, it seems, in silence).
  • Antony's speech uses an insinuating irony - "Brutus is an honorable man" starts off sincere, and, the more it is repeated, the more ironic it becomes. The speech takes hold gradually.
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Compare and contrast the funeral orations for Julius Caesar given by Brutus and Antony.

Both Brutus and Antony are persuasive orators who are skilled in appealing to the emotions of a crowd. Both do so effectively, but Antony is much more effective than Brutus, for reasons I will discuss. It should be noted too that Brutus showed lack of insight as a leader in letting Antony speak at all: he was strongly advised against it.

Both Brutus and Antony know that Julius Caesar was a ruler loved by the common man. Brutus, therefore, realizes it is imperative to calm the crowd and get them to understand why he and the other murdered this beloved leader. Brutus successfully uses the idea that he did it to save Rome. He says he did it because he was a patriot saving the people from a man who too ambitious and becoming a tyrant. Brutus, for examples, states that it is:

not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more.

Brutus also says:

Had you rather Caesar were living and die all slaves, than that Caesar were dead, to live all free men?


Who is here so vile that will not love his country? If any, speak—for him have I offended. I pause for a reply.

His appeals to patriotism and freedom are effective, and the crowd is moved to support him.

Antony speaks next. While he also appeals to the desires of the crowd, his speech differs from Brutus's in several ways. It is longer, it is more emotional, and during it Antony shows the crowd the stabbed corpse of Caesar.

As a precondition of being allowed to speak, Antony promised not to attack Brutus. He follows the letter of this agreement, but does, in fact, attack Brutus and his followers through sarcasm, repeatedly calling them "honorable men" as he outlines their misdeeds.

As an example of showing more emotion, Antony weeps as he speaks:

My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar,
And I must pause till it come back to me. (weeps)
But most dramatically, he shows the crowd the slashes in Caesar's cloak and wounds on his body, while telling them how much Caesar loved his people. The evidence of a violent crime against a beloved leader arouses the crowd, as do Antony's words of what Caesar left them in his will.
Moreover, he hath left you all his walks,
His private arbors and new-planted orchards,
On this side Tiber. He hath left them you
And to your heirs forever—common pleasures,
To walk abroad and recreate yourselves.
Here was a Caesar! When comes such another?
Antony wants to incite the crowd against Brutus and start a civil war, and, as the better orator, he succeeds.
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Compare and contrast the funeral orations for Julius Caesar given by Brutus and Antony.

Brutus knows that the mob is restless and angry and that they really loved Caesar. So in his speech he has to try and convince the Roman people that he also loved Caesar but that he loved Rome more. He wants to persuade the people that it was necessary to kill Caesar for the good of Rome and to save the Roman people from being turned into slaves under Caesar's despotic rule.

Brutus's speech appears to have won over the notoriously fickle Roman mob. But by the time Mark Antony's finished his oration, the mood has changed dramatically. Mark Antony subtly plays upon the love that the mob had for its fallen leader to turn them against the assassins. He's considerably more effective than Brutus in that he has a much better understanding of the people's psychology; he knows just what rhetorical effects to use, which words, phrases, and expressions will move the Roman people to seek revenge against Brutus and the other assassins.

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Compare and contrast the funeral orations for Julius Caesar given by Brutus and Antony.

These speeches have very different goals.  Antony wishes to win over the crowd - Brutus only wishes to express his reasoning.  Brutus does not attempt to persuade the crowd; instead, he actually announces he will kill himself if they wish it.  However, his honesty and his reasoning do have an effect on the audience.  Unfortunately, the quite miss Brutus' point... he tries to explain that he loves Rome too much to have it surrended to a tyrant, and yet the crowd is willing to make him one when he is done speaking.

Antony's speech is meant to be persuasive.  Like Brutus, he does sway the crowd, but more to his point - which is that the conspirators must be killed and that Caesar is a hero and victim.  Brutus is straightforward and honest, while Antony is skilled in rhetoric and uses these skills to manipulate.  While his goal should not (necessarily) be seen as self-serving, he does manipulate.  He uses flattering speech, cadence, and dramatic pauses - not to mention props, such as Caesar's bloody toga - to whip the audience up into a riotous frenzy.  It works, too, and all Brutus' careful reaonsing and planning is quickly turned against him.

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