English Literature / Drama GCSE: Julius Caesar - Act 3, Scene 2 - Rhetoric and politics (workshop)

The two funeral speeches are compared, each set against the structures of rhetoric.

Why is Antony’s the more effective when Brutus had previously won them over?

This short film is from the BBC series, Shakespeare Unlocked.

Teacher Notes

Give your students copies of both speeches to look at side by side.

Ask them to highlight the words and phrases that Anthony uses which imitate the words used by Brutus.

What are the similarities, and how does Anthony use these to help him sway the audience?

Ask students to simplify both speeches by taking out all the repetition in each.

Look carefully at what is left - how much is lost of the persuasiveness by the loss of repetition, and which speech loses most?

Introduce the ideas of Ethos, Pathos and Logos as mentioned in the commentary.

Can students identify for themselves places where these elements of rhetoric seem to be used by Shakespeare in each speech?

Ask students to work in threes, and assign one element to each student.

Each student then has to identify their assigned element in each speech.

Students should then discuss how these are balanced in each speech.

Curriculum Notes

This short film is suitable for teaching GCSE English literature and drama in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and National 4/ 5 in Scotland.

More from Shakespeare Unlocked: Julius Caesar

Act I, Scene 2 - Cassius enlists Brutus
Act I, Scene 2 - Cassius and Brutus (workshop)
Act I, Scene 2 - Persuading Brutus (workshop)
Act I, Scene 2 - Marking the words (workshop)
Act 3, Scene 1 - The Murder
Act 3, Scene 1 - Leader or dictator (workshop)
Act 3, Scene 1 - Killing Caesar (workshop)
Act 3, Scene 2 - The Orations
Act 3, Scene 2 - Brutus reasons with the crowd (workshop)
Act 3, Scene 2 - Mark Antony moves the crowd (workshop)