The tragic play Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare shows the contrast between power and honor in leadership positions. Many individuals strive to improve Rome through their own visions of national glory. Brutus and his supporters believe that Julius Caesar wasn’t an honorable ruler of Rome. They then kill him to gain their country’s benefit. Marc Antony opposes Brutus. He is a strong advocate Caesar’s rule. Both men make speeches about Caesar’s ruling, but Antony’s stronger message pits Roman citizens and conspirators against Brutus. Shakespeare used paralipsis first in Caesar’s reign by showing Antony mocking the conspirators. Antony uses rhetorical questioning and repetition of Brutus as an honorable man to cleverly blame Brutus. Shakespeare uses a variety altruistic and deceptive diction techniques to portray Antony’s speech to be superior to Brutus’. He relates to Roman citizens’ sympathies rather than their nationalism.
Brutus was reluctant to allow Antony to speak on Caesar’s funeral. Antony was asked only by Brutus not to speak negatively about the conspirators. Antony managed to evade his limitations in oratory and he is now able to ask for more. Antony claims that he first came to bury Caesar, not praise him. He did this to peacefully show his connection and honor Caesar ceremoniously (III.ii.73). Antony’s pretentious cordiality is not the truth. His motives are to revenge Caesar and he continues his praise for him regardless. Paralipsis is used in Antony’s misleading diction to subtly draw attention to Caesar’s positive rule. Antony initially presents himself as a loyalist to Brutus’ limitations. He then pretends to be loyal to improve his speech and to inspire citizens to follow his rightful ideals. Antony’s subtly used diction enhances the ethos, causing citizens to feel sympathy for Antony. Antony’s speech doesn’t promote patriotism of Rome like Brutus. Rather, it focuses on individual sentiments and encourages crowds to follow Caesar’s example. Antony’s emphasis upon Roman emotions is supported by Shakespeare when he reveals that he “speaks[s] not in order to disprove the words of Brutus, but…to express what [he] knows” (III.ii99-100). Shakespeare uses paralipsis again to distract attention from Antony’s continued opposition to Brutus’ methods. The author uses logos when referring to Caesar’s control over Brutus to influence both their minds and hearts. People are more inclined to follow people who give back. Antony’s diction can be described by the author as both benevolent but deceitful. While his morals lie at improving Rome, his motivations are to oppose Brutus’ rule in order to avenge Caesar’s death. Antony’s ability of evading Brutus’ restrictions helps to relate to citizens’ needs because the central focus is on Caesar’s past achievements. Antony later focuses on Brutus’ presumed honor to demonstrate the contrast between Caesar who was a good ruler and Brutus who was misguided. Antony focuses heavily on Brutus’ presumed honor to backhandedly mock Brutus’ morals which are different than Caesars. Antony repeats the claim that “Brutus’ honorable man” to feign loyalty towards the conspirators (III.ii.82). Antony’s repetition of diction is used by the author to show that it does not mean what it implies. Antony concoctively puts the blame for Brutus’ alleged failures on society by portraying him consistently as honorable and then complimenting him. Shakespeare uses the contrast of Brutus’s honor and his wicked actions to persuade people towards the more obvious evil, murder. Antony is a better choice than Brutus, who promotes ideals of nationalism. Shakespeare uses ethos for Antony. This is because the public views Brutus’ honor as clear, but they also see Caesar to be giving. They feel a sense of loss and are eager to have Caesar’s posthumously administered materialistic possessions. Antony asserts that Caesar “was [his] friend…fidel and just to [him], but Brutus claims he [his] ambition”, thus establishing a contrast between Caesar’s benevolent rules and Brutus’ sudden death (III.ii.84-85) Shakespeare compares Caesar to Brutus to show that Brutus is the one who actually enacted evil. The listeners stop believing the accusations that Caesar is ruling because Antony continues to disprove Brutus’ motives for killing. Shakespeare is praising Caesar’s conspirators more than he praises Caesar. His benevolent delivery uses ethos to make an emotion connection to each individual instead of to the entire group. Citizens condemn the deaths of Caesar and take action against them. Antony’s carefully crafted speech gains strength when he inflicts an emotional reaction on Caesar while maintaining a calm voice and diction. Antony uses rhetorical questions in his final speech to encourage the public to reconsider their views and shift their focus towards vengeance against Caesar.
Although Antony seems cordial in his speech, his motives are in persuading his audience to change their beliefs to inflict revenge on Caesar. Antony is telling the crowd that Caesar’s rule has brought many captives to Rome. His ransoms paid for their release (III.ii.87-89). Shakespeare uses Antony’s heartfelt delivery to get the crowd to focus on his motives for revenge. Because it is so easy for the public relate to a man who benefits his neighbor, Shakespeare uses Antony’s diction. Antony’s double -meaning questions are used by the author for logos enhancement. Even though Antony is actually rebelling against conspirators, Caesar’s public influence statements are true. Antony draws on the emotions and opinions of the public to increase his following. Brutus argued the Romans should rebel from unjust government, which is definitely a worthy cause. Antony is able to relate to citizens by showing Caesar’s values of care for others and giving back the public. Antony asks Caesar about his ambition and shows the error. This pits Rome against those who are opposed to Caesar’s benevolence. Antony ends his speech by asking an inspiring question: “You all loved [Caesar] once. Not without cause.” What reason withholds him then to mourn? (III.ii.101-102). Shakespeare uses Antony’s genuine diction to display his suffering. Antony’s rhetorical questions force the public to grieve with him. This makes them think about Caesar’s connections, which eventually leads to rebellion. Antony’s deceptive and altruistic diction is used by the author to express a connection to a friend and to exact revenge for Caesar’s death. Antony’s speech is more personal because it forces people to understand their conflicted emotions. Brutus wanted justice for a country. It is impossible to achieve this without hard work. Shakespeare offers citizens an opportunity to sympathize and understand Antony through his rhetorical questioning. Antony is the best speech because his natural diction enhances the spirit to foster an emotional link between a good ruler and his subjects. Antony has a powerful ability to influence change. The public is quick to fight the conspirators for their cause, in order to revenge the beloved Julius Caesar.
Shakespeare uses multiple forms benevolent and deceitful diction in Julius Caesar’s tragedy. This is to show Antony’s superior speech. It is because he feels the emotions of Roman citizens more than their nationalism. Paralipsis is used by the author to show Antony’s subtle mockery towards Brutus, his co-conspirators. Antony later uses rhetorical questions to backhandedly assign blame for Brutus’ supposed honor and repeated Brutus’ claimed honor. Julius Caesar examines the abilities of men in leadership positions. Antony was correct to defend Caesar’s ideals, but Brutus showed a commitment and a sense of responsibility for his country that could prove more important to Rome.