Mark Antony's speech, a masterpiece of oratory
Trimis la data: 2014-10-13
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"Julius Caesar" is one of the most important creations of William Shakespeare, the king of English dramatists. The play was made in a moment of England's history when the events were similar to the year 44 BC in Rome, when Caesar returned from his successful campaign in Spain and started to become a dictator. The play is a contrast of republican and imperial ideas, exposed by Brutus and Caesar respective.
Mark Anony's speech is the most important part of the play, because here he uses a variety of phrase constructions to change people's concept about Caesar and his interests.
It is clearly from the beginning of the fragment that people's ideas were against Antony's speech. "This Caesar was a tyrant", says the first citizen; "We are blest that Rome is rid of him", is the opinion of the third citizen. The second citizen has a doubtful idea about what Antony will speak ("Peace! Let us hear what Antony can say").
From the first lines of Antony's words, we can see what his intentions are: using a "Captatio benevolentiae" structure, he is trying to determine people to start listening carefully what he has to speak. He calls the crowd "gentle Romans, ... friends".
He uses a metaphor, too, ("lend me your ears"), for the same purpose.
To change somebody's opinion about something you must start from the same point as your interlocutor. This is why Antony's next phrase is: "I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him".
With this introduction, the speaker can afford to tell the crowd an aphorism, and to be sure that they will not doubt about its truth: "The evil that men do lives after them; / The good is oft interred with their bones".
This means that even if a person has done many good things in his life, it is sure that he provoked some bad things to happen, too; but the good things are regarded as the results of a normal behavior, and the portrait of someone who have died is suggested by the bad things he had done. This is life experience and it is exactly what happened with Caesar's memory. In the wars leading by him, had probably died many Romans. But the cause was greater: to create a large and powerful country for his people.
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