“The Tragedy of Julius Caesar” by William Shakespeare

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In the play “The Tragedy of Julius Caesar”, Antony is viewed as loyal to Caesar and honors his life by giving a speech to all of Rome at his funeral. His task of convincing the Romans that his death is unjustified is complicated by the compelling speech Brutus has just made about why it is justified. Nevertheless, Antony’s speech results in success due to his use of antithesis and gruesome diction.

In his funeral speech, Mark Antony uses antithesis to disprove Brutus’ justification of murdering Caesar. At the funeral, Antony is speaking to the citizens of Rome and reminding them of the good Caesar had accomplished before his death. He reminds them of how “When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept: Ambition should be made of sterner stuff: Yet Brutus says he was ambitious” (Shakespeare, 90-94). This quote exemplifies how Caesar empathizes with the people of Rome and genuinely wants to improve their lives. Contrasting this against Brutus’ claim challenges its credibility by providing evidence against it. Antony also states that he “thrice presented him a kingly crown, which he thrice did refuse… Yet Brutus says he was ambitious” (Shakespeare, 95-99). Here, Antony specifies that Caesar refused to be crowned not once, but three times (“thrice”). Turning it down three times shows he denied it willfully, not to appear humble. Many leaders with selfish intentions are careful to hide them and do or say things to appear like they are ruling “for the good of the people.”

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A leader like this may say no when first asked to be crowned,

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