Example Essay on The Art of Persuasion in Julius Caesar
In “The Tragedy of Julius Caesar”, we learn that Mark Antony is not the person we think he is and ends up turning the whole action point of the story with his speech at Caesar’s funeral. Antony can change the minds of the plebeians in many different unique ways. Antony can use examples of pathos, ethos, and logos in various forms throughout his speech.
By doing this, Antony convinces the plebeians to transform their current state of mind of what Brutus has just said to them and convince them that Caesar was not ambitious. Antony can first convince the plebeians with the use of ethos. In Antony’s speech, he states, “I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him/So are they all, all honorable men– come I to speak in Caesar’s funeral.” This example starts by saying to the plebeians that he is one of them and agrees with what Brutus has just said. He does this so that he doesn’t make the plebeians disregard what he has to say.
Another example states, “I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke, but here I am to speak what I do know.” This example shows that Anthony can be trusted and can easily convince the conspirators to switch their opinions without actually saying that the conspirators were wrong for what they did.
Both examples show that Brutus slowly persuaded the crowd using ethos by convincing them that he was trustworthy and not trying to dishonor the conspirators. Without delay, Antony uses pathos in his speech to persuade the plebeians further. Anthony quotes, “You all did love him once, not without cause:/And I pause till it comes back to me.”
Anthony shows significant emotion during this part of his speech by completely stopping what he says to weep at where Caesar is lying. This can give an emotional feel to all of the plebeians. Antony additionally quotes, “This was the unkindest cut of all. Ingratitude, stronger than traitors’ arms.” Antony states this quote whenever he is showing the crowd Caesar’s dead body, which can tug at all of the plebeian emotions and make them feel terrible forever thinking anything negative of Caesar.
Both of these examples show how Antony incorporated the use of ethos by making the plebeians feel emotion, which is able to further convince them. Anthony additionally convinces the crowd with the final use of logos. Antony states, “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; And, sure, he is an honorable man.”
Antony uses the example of Caesar refusing the crown to give the plebeians more reasoning to be convinced with Anthony’s reasoning as to why Caesar was not ambitious. Brutus similarly quotes, “But here’s a parchment with the seal of Caesar, /Bequeathing it as a rich legacy unto their issues.” Antony uses this quote to have logic to show the crowd and tease them with it.
By doing this, Antony can get the crowd of plebeians the urge to know what the will says, precisely what Antony hoped would have happened. In conclusion, we can see that Antony used ethos, pathos, and logos very cleverly to convince the plebeians.
Brutus may have convinced the crowd in his speech that Caesar was ambitious. Still, ultimately, we can see that the group was convinced by Mark Antony that he indeed was not ambitious for several reasons. Given these points, we can see that war is about to start because of the death of Caesar, which is precisely what Brutus was hoping his speech would do.