Julius Caesar Essay. Reminders and editing tips. Understanding your thesis.
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In the opening section of his funeral oration for Julius Caesar, Marc Antony quickly moves the hostile crowd from believing they are well rid of Caesar to questioning the assassination through his juxtaposition of experience versus opinion and a repetition of key words that reverses their meanings.
Step 1: evidence that counters the opinions of Brutus, the people begin to wonder if they are really well rid of Caesar.
Step 2: Antony’s phrases and sentence construction lead them to wonder if Brutus is really as honorable as they had believed, and the honor of Brutus is tied to the honor of the conspirators and the entire plot to kill Caesar.
Step 3: Antony has reversed the meaning of “honor” and “ambition” so that the people are convinced is not honorable and Caesar is not ambitious.
Is Antony as honorable as Brutus? Consider his powers of manipulation through language. Can such powers be used for both “good” and “evil”?
When he stabs Caesar, Casca says “speak, hands, for me” eloquently summing up the conclusion to which Brutus has come: that the situation in Rome is so dire that the only solution is to resort to violence to remove Caesar. Despite his honor and reputation, Brutus is eventually destroyed. How does this allow us to explore the idea of “speaking” through violent action versus powerful language?