The Corruptor The paralyzing powers of speech often engulfs the human mind and corrupts it to the will of the speaker. Omnipresent in society, rhetorical appeals, the appealing powers of speech, are made to project the speaker’s thoughts and Ideas of a subject matter. From ordinary conversations to commercial advertisements to public addresses, appeals are present to influence an audience’s mindset. The appeal of Logos creates compelling evidence for the audience to develop conclusions In the speaker’s favor while the appeal of Pathos relies on morals, values, and emotions to reate a response from the audience.
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Combined with the appeal of Ethos to establish credibility In the speaker, the appeals are potentially powerful enough to cause everlasting impacts on society and revise history itself. Throughout history, great orators such as Hitler, Martin Luther King, and other political leaders have used the power of speech to transform people’s thoughts and Ideas. This practice has dated back to ancient times to Mark Antony at the funeral of his friend and mentor, Julius Caesar.
In William Shakespeare’s Tragedy of Julius Caesar, Mark Antony establishes imself to his audience, the plebeians, with Ethos then uses Pathos to pull on the audience’s heartstrings and sway the plebeians’ beliefs with Logos in an attempt to make the audience doubt Brutus’s Justification of killing Caesar because he was ambitious. Initially, Antony uses Ethos to establish himself as a trusted and loyal figure to gain respect and trust of the plebeians. To gain the citizens’ attention, Antony begins Caesar’s funeral speech by reassuring them that he only “[came] to bury Caesar. ot [to praise] him” (3. 2. 83). By only Intending to bury Caesar, Antony onvinces the audience to listen to his words because they are spoken with bitterness toward Caesar. With Antony in agreement with their newly instilled anger, the plebeians begin to trust Antonys words even though his bitterness was not sincere. He also didnt speak to “disprove what Brutus spoke” of Caesar but rather spoke to show “what [he] knew” of Caesar (109-110). In doing so he avoids conflict with Brutus’s words In orderto prevent the Plebeians from becoming apathetic again towards Caesar.
Page 2 Mark Antony’s Use of Rhetorical Appeals Essay
In speaking from “what he knew”, he spoke for what he truly knew of Caesar as a close friend and advisor, convincing the citizens that his words are credible In Its content because of his relationship to the deceased Caesar_ With no other accounts to compare to but Brutus’s, Antonys account is more credible due to his relationship with Caesar. Because of this, the audience begins to listen to the words of Antony more than the words of Brutus. From this trust Antony gains Ethos In which he exploits it so he can convince the plebeians listen to his persuasive words on the good In the besmirched Caesar.
Furthermore, Antony prompts the audience to sympathize for Caesar through the use of pathos. Antony concludes that If Caesar was ambitious as Brutus had said, it would be a “grievous fault and grievously hath Caesar answered it” (88-89). Caesar answered for his grievous faults with dozens of stab wounds lacerated all across his body. There was a possibility that he was innocent of being ambitious and yet he suffered mutilation, disgrace, and death. This realization from Antony causes the plebeians wonder if Brutus was mistaken about unnecessary and painful death at the hands of people who his friends.
Knowing the idea of Caesar’s innocent blood on the hands of the people they Just cheered for ould invoke sorrowful response from the people, Antony purposely uses Pathos to convince the plebeians that Caesar was virtuous rather than ambitious. Hearing this the plebeians would become sorrowful because Caesar in that he suffered with no justice and be resentful at Brutus for convincing them to not mourn for Caesar for they did “love [Caesar] once, without cause” (1 11). The overburdening emotions of guilt and remorse causes the plebeians to change their opinions of Caesar from believing he was a tyrant to viewing him as a victim of injustice.
Antony cleverly uses his Pathos to cause the citizens to turn on Brutus and regain their love of Caesar. Additionally, the use of logos plays a key factor in Antonys persuasion of his audience to mourn and avenge Caesar and dishonor Brutus. As Antony recounts the good things Caesar has done for the Plebeians and for the greater good of Rome, he reasons that Caesar wasn’t ambitious when he went conquered for Rome and brought riches to the “general coffers” (98). Ambition is defined as strong desires for achievement but Caesar had no strong desires for achievement when he gave the money to the common people but rather than keep it for himself.
Caesar had a strong desire to give back to his country and for that the people loved him. Using logos, Antony made the citizens realize Caesar’s generosity and all it has done for them. Even when Antony “thrice presented [Caesar] a kingly crown”, Caesar refused it each time (105). If he had a strong desire for power or wealth he could have taken it easily for he had the support of the plebeians. Instead Caesar refused the crown when he was offered it. These logical evidence that he was not ambitious strongly supports Antony’s theory that Caesar was not ambitious and didn’t deserve to die.See More on Roman Republic