Analysis of Julius Caesar

Arsh Chopra

In William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, Brutus and the other conspirators kill Caesar, which leads to eulogies being said by first Brutus, and then Mark Antony. Both of these characters use multiple rhetorical devices in order to fully express their intents and expand onto the speeches. One major way Brutus does this is by the use of parallelism to add ethos in his speech and make himself more credible. Another way this is done was by the use of anaphora to parallel two ideas and link them together. The use of anaphora is done through a pathos appeal. A third major way Brutus uses a rhetorical device in his eulogy of Caesar is by using antithesis, which also adds a pathos effect to his speech. These rhetorical devices come together during Brutus's eulogy after the assassination of Julius Caesar and add interest along with embellished meaning to the speech. Brutus uses prose verse along with a pathos appeal to the plebeians of Rome to convince them of the need for Caesar's death.

Parallelism is similarly structuring a pair of related phrases or clauses. The use of parallelism adds balance and ease to a speech and makes the audience more comfortable with what is being said. Brutus uses parallelism during his speech after the death of Caesar to help the plebeians understand why they should listen to what he has to say. This is an ethos appeal because the use of this parallelism helps to boost the credibility of the speaker towards the audience. Brutus uses parallelism in his eulogy when he says "Believe me for mine honor, and have respect to mine honor that you may believe." What Brutus is saying at this point is that the public crowd should listen to him because he is an honorable man. This complies with what is known about Brutus because he is the type of person who believes strongly in honor, morals, and being true to Rome because he is a Roman. Parallelism was used in the style of ethos to explain to the plebeians why Brutus should be listened to.

Anaphora is the repetition of a group of words at the beginning of clauses. This rhetorical device adds an emotional effect to speeches like the ones being said by Brutus and Mark Antony. Brutus uses anaphora to add spark to his eulogy as he explains how he likes Caesar as person, but that he is not the kind of person that is meant to be king. Brutus uses anaphora when he says: "As Caesar loved me, I weep for him. As he was fortunate, I rejoice at it. As he was valiant, I honor him. But as he was ambitious, I slew him." What Brutus says at this point is that he is Caesar's friend and he loves Caesar as an ordinary person. Brutus also says that when Caesar is lucky and victorious, he is celebrated and respected. However, when Caesar begins to climb higher and higher on the social hierarchy, he is killed because he, or any other man, is not meant to be king. Brutus uses anaphora to convince the plebeians of why Caesar needed to die in order to keep the order of Rome.

Antithesis is comparing two ideas that are quite different in a parallel structure. Using antithesis adds more meaning and can help to exemplify a point in order to explain it more clearly than without the use of it. Brutus uses antithesis along with a pathos appeal in order to clarify to the public why Caesar had to die. Brutus uses antithesis when he says "Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more." Brutus is always trying his hardest to show that he is a true and loyal Roman and continues to do so by explaining to the plebeians that Caesar had to die for the good of Rome and he continues by telling the plebeians that true Romans do what is best for everyone, not just themselves. Brutus is mainly using these lines in his eulogy as a justification for why he killed Caesar along with the other conspirators. Brutus also put lots of emotion into his speech when delivering these lines to his audience, which helped to further support his cause and method of completing his goal. Antithesis along with a pathos appeal is used in Brutus's eulogy to explain why Caesar had to die.

Rhetorical devices are in use throughout the course of the play Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, but are most visible and prominent during the eulogies of Antony and Brutus. The three major rhetorical devices Brutus uses are parallelism, anaphora, and antithesis. Brutus first uses parallelism with an ethos appeal so that he can get his audience listening to him. Next, when using anaphora, Brutus gives an explanation along with strong emotion as he adds more and more of a pathos effect to his speech. The plebeians are getting more and more supportive of Brutus throughout his speech. Finally, when using antithesis, Brutus is adding more and more of a pathos appeal to his speech and the public is really in agreement with his emotions and feelings. By using multiple rhetorical devices, William Shakespeare is able to make his character Brutus a stronger speaker when giving the eulogy of Julius Caesar.

Bibliography

Gunther, John, and Joseph Cellini. Julius Caesar. New York: Random House, 1959. Print.