Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare

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In the play Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, Mark Antony is depicted as a better leader than Brutus, due to his cunning use of rhetoric when addressing the plebeians after Caesar’s death. This essay will be divided into two sections to explore the ways in which Antony is depicted as better leader. The First section will contextualise the extracts used for analysis, and compare Brutus’s pedestrian speech with Mark Antony’s impressive oratory. This will be done by defining what rhetoric is, and how it is used by Antony to win over the plebeians in comparison with Brutus. The second section will use examples taken from Machiavelli’s The Prince, in order to establish that Mark Antony is depicted as a better leader.
Noble Brutus is swayed by Cassius in order to murder Julius Caesar who is about to be crowned king. Cassius makes Brutus believe that the people of Rome will be enslaved under the leadership of Caesar and Brutus is the one who should save the plebeians. Cassius forges letters to make it seem that the people of Rome are in outcry for Brutus to save them which he takes up as his duty. The conspirators, namely, Brutus, Cassius, Casca, Metellus and Decius meet up at Brutus’s residence in order to plot to kill Caesar for the good of Rome on account that he is being ambitious. They kill Caesar at the Capitol by inflicting 33 wounds in his body with Brutus inflicting the final blow. This creates much chaos in the capitol and Mark Antony, a noble friend of Caesar, knows that his life might be in danger. Antony sends his servant to soften the conspirators towards him. Antony enters after Brutus says that his actions of killing Caesar will be explained to him, and confirmed that he will not be harmed. Antony confesses that h...

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...that it is in his best interest. He tells the conspirators “Let each man render me his blood hand” (III, I, 1406), to show the conspirators that he is dedicated to their purpose, yet he is actually loyal to Caesar. This depicts that Antony’s mind-set varies in accordance to his own interests, which makes him a better leader according to Machiavelli’s description.
Firstly, by exploring the speech of both Brutus and Antony, one can conclude that Antony wins over the plebeians by his use of rhetoric. His speech is far more effective than Brutus’s, which is depicted in the tone of voice of each leader, the manner in which the plebeians are addressed and the ways that the leaders appealed to the mass. Secondly, by using the examples taken from Machiavelli’s guide book of what a leader ought to be like, it is evident that Antony fits the description better than Brutus.
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