“Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears” (Act III Scene 2, line 71)
uses the word “honourable” to describe Brutus and Cassius eight times. Each time the way in which it is
spoken is different, and with a different purpose. Carefully trace the transition from the first “For Brutus was
an honourable man” to “They that have done this deed are honourable”, explaining how Antony’s
oratory has led the crowd from one point of view to another.
· Your hearts and minds to mutiny and rage,
I should do Brutus wrong, and Cassius wrong,
Who, you all know, are honourable men:à he is saying that no matter what they
do they will always be honorable men and you could count on them to do what they say they are going to do no matter what circumstances
they are in.
I will not do them wrong; I rather
To wrong the dead, to wrong myself and you,
Than I will wrong such honourable men. à he is saying that they are such honorable men that he would rather
be untruthful to himself and others than he would to the honorable men that they are.
o For Brutus is an honourable man; à
he is saying that Brutus is an honorable man and he is talking highly of him and that since he is an honorable man than the
others should be honorable men.
o And Brutus is an honourable man.
He hath brought many captives home to Rome
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill: à he is saying that he is a good man
and that he has helped out with Rome and that he can be trusted.
o Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And, sure, he is an honourable man. à he is saying that if you are ambitious
and you have the drive to do whatever you think is right and you do it then you can be honorable just like Brutus was/is.
o Good friends, sweet friends, let me not stir you up
To such a sudden flood of mutiny.
They that have done this deed are honourable:à he tells the crowd that if you did
the deed then you are honorable but those who didn’t are not, so he is trying to get the crowed to see it the way that
he see it to get them on his side.
What private griefs they have, alas, I know not,
That made them do it: they are wise and honourable,
And will, no doubt, with reasons answer you.
I come not, friends, to steal away your hearts:
I am no orator, as Brutus is; à he is saying
to trust him like they trusted brutus because he is trying to make them think that he didn’t come to them to steal there
hearts, when in fact he is trying to do just that.
They that have done this deed are honourableà he is telling the people that if they do what he says that they can become as honorable as Brutus.
his second sentence, Antony says he is content to let Caesar’s good points
be buried with his bones. How many good points does he in fact make before this 35-line speech is ended?
Four separate times, he comments on his loyalty as a friend, his success
in battles, his compassion for the people of Rome, and his modesty in refusing the crown three times.
How does Antony deploy the words “ambition” and “ambitious” to win over the commoners to hid
point of view?
He shows that Caesar’s actions were not overly ambitious,
for example he comments that Caesar denied the crown, but was still ambitious. He comments on the noble and righteous deeds
that Caesar did, and then refers to his title of ambitious given by Brutus.