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Pathos, Logos, and Ethos in Antony's Speech

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Claire Davis, Mackenzie Depew


Accelerated English 2

October 2013

Rhetoric Assignment

Pathos, Logos, and Ethos in Antony's Speech

Ethos, logos, and pathos are three clever and useful persuasion tools used by many writers, lawyers, and activists that prove very resourceful in manipulating the mind of the audience they are addressing. 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. After close examination of Antony's speech in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, it is clear that he uses the three rhetorical appeals, pathos, logos, and ethos, in his speech to inflame his audience to go after the conspirators in Caesar's death, particularly Brutus and Cassius.

In his attempt to turn the people against Brutus and Cassius, Antony uses pathos to rile up his audience. He has Caesar's will in the folds of his cloak and he holds it up, asking the Romans if they want to know what it says. Obviously they do. Antony teases them as a man may do with a dog and a treat: "Do you want this? Oh, you do? Hm, maybe not. I don't know if you can have this." Antony's speech essentially followed that same pattern. "You will compel me to read the will?... Shall I descend? and will you give me leave." (Act III, scene 2, lines 170&173) However, before Antony actually reads them the will, he shows the people how violently and brutally Caesar was killed. He lifts up the cloth covering Caesar's corpse, "Look, in this place ran Cassius' dagger through. See the rent the envious Casca made. Through this the well-beloved Brutus stabbed." (Act III, scene 2, lines 188-190) Antony tells of his memories of the toga that Caesar is wearing, ensuring that the people experience, visually (and probably olfactorily), the treachery that laid siege to their emperor's body.

Above all else, he speaks of how much Caesar cared for his subjects. "It is not meet you know how Caesar loved you." (Act III, scene 2, line 154) In this context, the word meet is the Shakespearean equivalent of the word proper. Antony explains that Caesar loved his people to the extent that his will dictates a portion of Rome's treasury be given to each man. "To every Roman citizen he gives, To every several man, seventy-five drachmas." (Act III, scene 2, lines 256-257) Today, seventy-five drachmas is the approximate equivalent of $6000. Caesar obviously did care deeply for his people. Antony makes a great production of showing this to them.

Antony also uses logos to say that Brutus and Cassius were not justified in their vigilantism. One of the rationalizations used was the conspirators was



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