Compare and Contast of Brutus and Antony's Speech

Topics: Julius Caesar

Firstly, Brutus decides to make his speech first, which is a bog mistake, because the plebians will only really remember the last speech that was made, thus making Brutus’ speech less effective. Brutus would usually speak in a verse language, but in his speech he spoke in prose, to try and come down to the plebians level and he thinks that they will appreciate that. However, Antony speaks as he should, in verse and the plebians respect that and expect him to speak like that, so as soon Antony starts his speech, they already like it more than Brutus’.

Also the first sentence of each speech is significant. Brutus starts his speech with “Romans, countrymen and lovers! “. This is a great start to the speech because it shows how Brutus is equal to the plebians, and the plebians like to think that they are equal to someone as great as Brutus, and therefore are on Brutus’ side. However, Antony starts his speech and goes one better and starts his speech by saying “Friends, Romans, countrymen… “.

The most significant word is friends, it shows how he is fond of the plebians, and that he wants to be their friends.

The plebians feel surprised, and overwhelmed by this, so straight away into Antony’s speech, when they were on Brutus’ side just minutes before, the plebians are on Antony’s side. Both of them use a rhetorical question in their speech, to challenge the plebians. Brutus asks “Had you rather Caesar were living, and die all slaves, than that Caesar were dead, to love all free men? ” He then asks that if any of them want to be slaves, then stand up.

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By saying this he is challenging the plebians, and making it hard for them to disagree with him.

Two Julius Caesar Speeches

In Antony’s speech he asks “I thrice presented him a kingly crown, which he did thrice refuse: was this ambition? ” Because the plebians don’t understand why a person would turn down the crown if they wanted to be king, they believe that Caesar never wanted to be king. So when Antony asks this question, it questions them whether he really was as good as they thought? He then challenges Brutus’ speech by saying “yet Brutus says he was ambitious”.

This challenges whether Brutus was right in what he said, and makes the plebians think twice about whether to believe him. Brutus’ speech is trying to persuade the plebians to be on his side, and to make them agree with what he says, by using rhetorical questions. Antony’s, however, is to make them question whether Brutus was right.. He repeats himself a lot, saying that Brutus is an honourable man. This may seem that he is praising him a lot, but actually, by repeating it, he is taking the meaning out of it.

So when the plebians first here him say it, they agree with him that Brutus is honourable, but after the last time he says it (which is a lot of times) they almost get sick of him saying that and start to disagree with the fact that Brutus is honourable, and therefore turning on Brutus. Brutus tries to make the fact that Caesar is dead a good thing, whereas Antony gradually builds his speech up, and makes it seem like a tragedy. He starts this off by coming up to do his speech with the coffin next to him, instantly making the plebians feel sad.

He excuses himself saying he is too emotional, and pretends to cry, and this makes the plebians want to cry, so now they don’t like the fact that Caesar is dead. He then finds Caesar’s will in his pocket, and pretends he didn’t know it was there. The plebians shout for him to read it out, but he insists not. This just makes them want it to be read out even more. The will is almost a prop for Antony’s speech, making it more effective, but Brutus had no such prop, making his speech less effective. Antony then agrees to read the will, and to make it even more effective, he makes them stand around the open coffin.

This is like another prop for the speech, and when the plebians see the body, it makes them more emotional and makes them hate Brutus even more. Before he reads it, he builds it up. He tells them to prepare to cry, even though some already are. He trails where the blood was, describing his death. This makes the plebians really emotional, and makes them want to kill Brutus. They all shout to kill Brutus, but Antony stops them and tells them to stay. This part of the speech is very clever by Antony, as it turns them on Brutus, and makes them love him.

Overall his speech is a lot more effective than Brutus’. Brutus’ was effective at the time, but it didn’t have a cutting edge to it. The fact that Antony went last also didn’t help, because now the plebians will only remember his, and forget about Brutus’. A director would tell Brutus to play the role as if Brutus were very confident. This is because he thinks he has gotten away with it, and that he has won the plebians over. He also has no idea that Antony will make such a good speech after him, he thinks that it will be a speech that will praise Brutus.

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Compare and Contast of Brutus and Antony's Speech. (2019, Dec 05). Retrieved from

Compare and Contast of Brutus and Antony's Speech
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