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Political Rhetoric and the Masses

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Brutus’s tour de force of interwoven rhetorical devices in Julius Caesar (3.2.14) sways the crowd away from their anger at the assassins to cheering them. This speech, however, is outdone by Mark Antony’s masterpiece of manipulation (3.2.82), which whiplashes the crowd back to outrage and riot. But, in fact, Brutus had failed in his speech even before Mark Antony opened his mouth.
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Video: Friends, Romans, Countrymen

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Marlon Brando as Mark Antony in the 1953 film of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar directed by Joseph Mankiewicz.
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Video: Romans, countrymen, and lovers

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James Mason as Brutus in the 1953 film of  Julius Caesar directed by Joseph Mankiewicz.
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Better Angels

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The only mention in any of Shakespeare’s plays of the “better angel” is in Othello (5.2.235), when Gratiano, speaking over Desdemona’s body, speaks of her father:

Did he live now,
This sight would make him do a desperate turn,
Yea, curse his better angel from his side,

Shakespeare makes another mention of the “better angel”
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Video: To Be Or Not To Be

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David Tennant as Hamlet in a film of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s award-winning production of Shakespeare’s greatest play.
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Video: Thou bleeding piece of earth

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Marlon Brando as Mark Antony in the 1953 film of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar directed by Joseph Mankiewicz.
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Appearance and Prejudice

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One of Shakespeare’s most frequent themes is appearance versus reality. This theme manifests itself in different ways for different purposes. In Merchant of Venice (2.2.181), Bassanio says to Gratiano:

Thou art too wild, too rude and bold of voice—
Parts that become thee happily enough,
And in such eyes as ours appear not faults.
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Christians and Jews

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The first exchange between Antonio and Shylock in The Merchant of Venice (1.3.116) reveals much about their characters, their motivations and the themes of the play. For example, Shylock is clearly less motivated by money and greed, the typical ingredients of antisemitic prejudice, than by anger at having been personally and publicly insulted by Antonio. And Antonio, who was previously shown to be a generous,
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Blind Fortune

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In The Merchant of Venice (2.1.23) the Prince of Morocco introduces the theme of blind Fortune, which plays in the fate of Antonio’s merchandise on the seas. It also plays into the question of being born a Christian or a Jew, fair-skinned or dark hued. The theme of fortune is also central to As You Like It (1.2.31),
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Hamlet’s First Soliloguy

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This is Hamlet’s first extended soliloquy.
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