Ethos, Logos and Pathos
Ethos, logos and pathos are three persuasion tools used by Shakespeare in Mark Antonys funeral oration over Caesars body. Ethos is appeal based on the character of the speaker, Logos is appeal based on logic or reason and Pathos is appeal based on emotion. Antony uses these elements to turn the Roman crowd against the conspirators with a highly convincing speech. These three persuasion tools and structure and diction are the key elements of the effectiveness of Mark Antonys famous speech.
The most convincing use of ethos in Antonys speech is in the first line of the speech; Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears! This shows that Mark Antony is trying to get in to the Roman crowds hearts with his status as a trustworthy man. He uses rhetorical irony throughout the speech constantly questioning the ethos of Brutus. Brutus uses ethos heavily in his speech, he was considered very honourable a by the Romans, and basically anything that came out of his mouth had to be correct. Mark Antony targets the questionable character of Brutus several times saying: And Brutus is an honourable man. Antony then sums his speech up by using I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke. This line once again outlines the irony used by Antony and this is where the trustworthy character of Mark Antony persuades the crowd to turn on the crowd, without Antony actually saying that what the conspirators did was the wrong thing.
Logos can be facts that are used to persuade someone. Mark Antony uses a lot of facts throughout the course of his speech. One of the key facts in his initial speech is; When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept. To use this is very logical by Mark Antony since most of the people that he is trying to persuade arent the richest bunch of folk in Rome. So when he uses poor as the type of people that Caesar cried for, the crowd thinks that it is wrong to brutally murder someone who cared so much for them that he even wept. The second time that Antony uses logos is not in his first speech but later when he is reading the will of Caesar. He says To every Roman citizen he gives, to every several man, seventy-five drachmas. This line carries the power to make the Roman citizens sorrowful about Caesars death. The logos by Antony shows that Caesar cared so much about his people that not only did he cry for them and also that he left money in the will for public. This heavily influences the change of mind in the crowd.
Pathos is the most cleverly used element by Mark Antony. He uses a small amount in his first speech saying that He was my friend, faithful and just to me. This shows that Caesar was a man who is trustworthy and unjust to kill. As usual he implies this discreetly, by using the word just. Antony then points out the stabs in Caesar, he points out stabs of Casca and Cassius, not bringing much attention to them. Then he brings attention to Brutuss stab, he then says This was the most unkindest cut of them all. He then gets angry himself, and so does the crowd. He then shouts Whilst bloody treason flourishs over us. The dint of pity. These are gracious drops. He sums his point up by rhetorical irony, saying that the work that the conspirators have done is honourable.
The structure and diction used by Shakespeare gives us a good idea in how Antony would have been thinking when he made his speech. Structure-wise, similar topics or ideas are grouped and separated just like paragraphs. He stops to hear the crowd and sees if they understand what he is talking about, and then continues to his next argument to further persuade the crowd to go against the conspirators. He then concludes his set of speeches saying Here was a Caesar! When comes such another! The way the speeches are set out almost like an essay. Diction is the choice of words to fit in a context. Throughout the speech Mark Antony provides words that fit just what he means. The choices of words show how Mark Antony would have been feeling at the time. Words such as interred and the constant rhetorical irony give us insights into the emotions of Antony.
Mark Antonys funeral oration is one of Shakespeares finest linguistic skills. He uses the art of rhetoric to persuade the reader from thinking that the conspirators have done good, to the conspirators case is unjust. It is set out clearly so everything is understandable which is another reason why it is so famous is. It outlines the true skill of Shakespeare and why his work is so famous.