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After Brutus had given a reasonable speech convincing the people Caesar had to die for he was an ambitious man, but being naïve he left to many holes in his explanation. This speech temporarily would give protection to him and the conspirators. Antony then enters with the body of Caesar and Brutus leaves the Forum. Antony then begins to give his well-constructed speech, which is a work of rhetorical irony itself. Progressively throughout the speech, Antony repetition of the words honorable and ambitious prosing questions into the mind of the Roman citizens. The use of the word ambitious throughout the speech starts to lose its credibility and force. Antony spoke of a man who thrice was presented a crown, “which he did thrice refuse” (Act III, Scene 2, line 99).
This Caesar wept, when the poor cried, “Did this Caesar seem ambitious?” (Act III, Scene 2, line 93). Antony had told the citizens of Caesar’s will and said he could not read it, but manipulated them into wanting him to read it. When Antony read the will, this further riled the citizens at their already state of mutiny for Caesar an “ambitious’ man had left them land and parks for recreation. As Antony said, “Did this Caesar seem ambitious?” (Act III, Scene 2, line 93). The dignity of the conspirators represented in the word honorable had gone with each use and these men were now hated for back stabbing such a truly honorable man. The “honorable” Brutus was “Caesar’s angel” and “For when the noble Caesar saw him stab, Ingratitude, more strong than traitors’ arms, Quite vanquished him” (Act III, Scene 2, line 183-188). These men were now painted as crooked by the noble Mark Antony.
Antony shows his skills as a great flexible politician and rhetoric when deceiving the conspirators and giving this speech, but best is how he painted himself a heartbroken man. “My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar,” (Act III, Scene 2, line 108).
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Persuasion is but a craft of manipulation that Antony had used throughout the speech. Antony’s duplicity gave way to his ironic speech in which his use of repetition, syntax, tone, and diction stuck the hearts of the Roman citizens. Antony brought questions to the honor of the conspirators and about Caesar’s ambitions. His masterpiece inspired mutiny and created “Mob Rule”. Antony became the protagonist when he did mark his enemies in Caesar’s blood and his hand for vengeance; it was then that Brutus was no longer the protagonist. The most powerful authority shown in Julius Caesar is through words alone and this had been demonstrated by Antony.