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Julius Caesar Essay

Jim Rohn, an American author and speaker, once stated: Take advantage of every
opportunity to practice your communication skills so that when important occasions arise, you
will have the gift, the style, the sharpness, the clarity, and the emotions to affect other people
(Thinkexist.com). Rohn's statement shows how one can turn a situation around in his or her
favor as long as he or she uses correct rhetorical techniques in order to manipulate the crowd. In
the play Julius Caesar, Brutus comes out to approach an angry mob after committing the murder
of Caesar, their beloved leader. After Brutus is successful in calming the mob, Marc Antony
comes out seeking revenge for the murder of his friend and uses his speech to stir the crowd
again and turn them against Brutus and the conspirators. Brutus effectively create ethos by
convincing the furious and agitated crowd that the murder was not due to any personal gain for
the murderers but rather for the betterment of Rome. Brutus effectively creates pathos by
convincing the grieving crowd that they and their country are safer now due to the death of
Caesar. Marc Antony manipulates diction effectively in order to convince the crowd that
Caesars ambition was not towards power and the murderers were dishonorable.
When the people of Rome find out that Caesar has been murdered, they furiously go to
Brutus and the other murderers for revenge because they think that the murder was unjust. The
crowd is blindsided with rage and does not seem to have room for rationality. They are out for
blood. Brutus has to build his ethos by letting the crowd first know that he loved Caesar as much
as they did, but he was confident that the death of Caesar was for the good of Rome. Brutus
starts the speech by saying 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 (3.1.17-19). In this
statement, Brutus lays the foundation for building the trust of the mob. He understands that the

reason that they are there is to avenge the death of their beloved Caesar who they felt Brutus had
a brush in with. Brutus uses this statement to let the mob know that he loved Caesar as much as
people in the crowd did. The way that Brutus conveys this message is well thought out. He first
starts by addressing the crowd and saying that if there is someone in the crowd who loved Caesar
as a friend (which he already knows most of them do because they are out there to avenge him),
then he wants that person to know that he or she can understand the gravity with which Brutus
loved Caesar. Brutus uses this statement to increase his ethos with the crowd because he makes
them realize that he had immense love for Caesar, just like they did. This statement makes the
crowd see similarity between him and them and causes them to trust him a little more (enough to
not tear him apart) and let him speak a little more. Brutus uses this opportunity that the crowd
gives him to keep going by stating: 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 (3.1.20-
22). Brutus cleverly starts his next statement by stating a question that any friend would
logically ask if his or her friends murderer just said that he loved the victim like a friend. Brutus
builds his ethos with the crowd by stating a question that they, as friends of Caesar, would ask
him and gives a satisfactory reply to that question. He addresses concerns that the crowd might
have with him without letting them bring the issues up which shows them that he understands
them. This allows him to have more control with the question/concern because if someone in the
crowd would have asked it, this would have caused the crowd to get fired up again and Brutus
would have had to start from the beginning in trying to calm the mob down. Brutus follows this
statement by telling the crowd that they would not have lived the lives of slaves if Caesar was
alive and that his murder was for the better of Rome. After giving various examples of how the
murder was for the better of Rome, Brutus states: Who is here so vile that will not love his

country? If any, speak; for him have I offended. I pause for a reply (3.1.29-31). The crowd
replies: None, Brutus, none (3.1.32). This dialogue between the crowd and Brutus shows that
he was able to build his ethos with the crowd using patriotism to the point where the angry,
furious crowd was calmed down to an almost silence. The crowd was not furious anymore
because they felt that Brutus was justified in committing the murder of Caesar because he had to
choose between his friend or his country and he chose his country, the more noble choice.
The crowd is heavy on emotions and Brutus effectively manipulates the emotions of the
crowd in order to convince them that the murder was not for any personal gain of the
conspirators but rather for the well being of the nation. The crowd exhibits sheep like
mentality -- the people in the crowd are easily swayed towards a certain viewpoint due to their
high emotions after hearing just a few reasons that sound somewhat logical. The crowd consists
of lower class citizens which seem to not exhibit much critical thinking skills and they just take
what they are told at face value and dont put much thought into it. Brutus analyzes his audience
and realizes that the crowd is filled with negative emotions and he has to, through his words,
convert those emotions into positive emotions that will show support for them. Brutus controls
the mob emotionally by bringing up patriotism. Brutus starts the speech by addressing the
furious mob with the two words Romans and countrymen which both set the basis for his
patriotic appeal. These two words were able to calm the emotional crowd enough to make them
listen to Brutus. Brutus starts out by telling the crowd why he murdered Caesar: Not that I
loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more (3.1.21-22). In this statement, Brutus very
carefully manipulates his words. In his first statement, he tries to tell the crowd that he feels for
them and understands their emotions, and in the second statement, he tells them how they should
think about this situation: the murder of Caesar was for a better cause (country) and that no

person can be more important than his or her country. Brutus later states that that, as 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 (3.1.42-44). In this statement, Caesar first shows the crowd that
Brutus was an important person in his life and he felt that murdering him was a
challenge/sacrifice but he thought it was okay or acceptable because it was for a greater cause
(Rome). This makes the crowd realize that this action was something that was challenging for
Brutus because he had to essentially kill someone that he loved for something that he loved even
more (his country which includes those people, so indirectly, Brutus tries to make the crowd
think that he loves them more than he loved Caesar). In the second part of this statement, Brutus
takes a gamble and boldly states that if the dagger has to be used on him (for the greater good),
he will do that too. He, again, brings in patriotism here to appeal to the emotions of the
crowd. Also, by saying this statement, he raises the emotions of the crowd by making them feel
a sudden panic/sympathy towards Brutus. They respond by saying Live, Brutus! live, live!
(3.1.45). At the end, they say live two times which shows how anxious they feel. They sound
like they are pleading to him to not kill himself because they feel sympathetic towards
him. Brutus is able to effectively create pathos by convincing the crowd that although he regrets
committing the murder of a person dear to him, his main priority is his country, and no person is
more important than the country.
Marc Antony manipulates diction in order to make the crowd realize that their leader,
Caesar, did not have negative ambition and the killers were unjust in killing a fair leader. He
makes the crowd get so furious at the conspirators for killing Caesar that they act irrationally and
start causing havoc in the streets of Rome. Marc Antony starts by saying that Brutus said that
Caesar was ambitious and that Brutus is an honorable man, they (the murderers) are all

honorable men (3.1.81-82). After this, Antony proceeds to give concrete examples of how
Caesar was ambitious (a word that Brutus had given negative connotation to): He hath brought
many captives home to Rome / Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill: Did this in Caesar
seem ambitious? / When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept: / Ambition should be made
of sterner stuff: / Yet Brutus says he was ambitious; / And Brutus is an honorable man. / You all
did see that on the Lupercal I thrice presented him a kingly crown, / Which he did thrice refuse:
was this ambition? / Yet Brutus says he was ambitious (3.1.87-97). In this whole statement,
Antony uses two words to manipulate the crowd: ambitious and honorable. Ambitious is
defined as having a desire to achieve a particular goal (www.merriam-webster.com) and
honorable is defined as characterized by integrity: guided by a high sense of honor and duty
(www.merriam-webster.com). Brutus commented on how Caesars downfall was his ambition
for power. This ambition would lead him to mistreat his countrymen. Antony uses his speech to
highlight how Caesars ambition was to be a humble, good, and caring leader, not to overpower
his subjects (as claimed by the murderers). After giving examples of how ambitious Caesar was,
Antony repeatedly pointed out that the murderers were honorable. He followed this pattern
several times in his speech (give example of Caesar being ambitious, follow it by saying how
honorable the men were). By positioning these two words beside each other consistently and
giving examples that did not match up with the words, Antony makes the crowd realize that the
supposedly honorable men were dishonorable, and the person who was supposed to be filled
with ambition for power was actually humble. Antony repeats the word honorable multiple
times to the point where it sounds like he is mocking the quality of being honorable because the
murderers have lowered the status of the word by using it to describe themselves. By
manipulating diction, Antony is able to instigate the mob into causing destruction in the city.

Being fluent with the art of rhetoric can not only help one seem more believable to one's
peers but can also help one bring about dramatic social changes by the use of words and not by
the use of violence (as proven by Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.).


Works Cited
Crowther, John, ed. No Fear Julius Caesar. SparkNotes.com. SparkNotes LLC. 2005. Web. 14
Mar. 2013.
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ambitious
Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. 2013. Web. 10 Apr. 2013
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/honorable
Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. 2013. Web. 10 Apr. 2013
http://thinkexist.com/quotation/take_advantage_of_every_opportunity_to_practice/25636.html
Thinkexist.com. 2013. Web. 10 Apr 2013