Mind Bending: The Art Of Manipulation And
Power Of Language
Manipulation and power of language is a social influence used to change one’s
behaviour or perception towards a situation so they react differently towards it. In William
Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar, manipulation and power of language is used as a
weapon of mind control and abuse of power by many characters. Mark Antony, who is a
pleasure-seeking Roman General and loyal friend of Caesar’s uses the power of language to
satisfy his own needs. Cassius, who is an impulsive Roman general and long time
acquaintance of Caesar, uses manipulation and language to deceive others into thinking he
is an honourable and worthy man; and both demonstrate how using manipulation and
language as a weapon can only lead to the downfall of others or one's self. In Shakespeare's
Julius Caesar the characters Mark Antony and Cassius illustrate how manipulation and
power of language is used as a weapon to change one's perspective about a situation.
Mark Antony is an example of how language is used to change one's perception
about a situation. One uses power of language to persuade others to do what they wish.
This is demonstrated when Antony says: “ And am, morever, suitor that I may / produce his
body to the market-place, / and in the pulpit, as becomes a friend, speak in order of his
funeral.” ( iii, i , 227-230) ). Anthony explains to Brutus that he should be able to bring
his body to the marketplace and stand on the platform to give a proper funeral oratation as a
friend should. This is where he later takes advantage of the opportunity, and convinces the
Roman citizens Brutus is not as honourable as they perceive him to be. One also uses
emotional language that could lead to the downfall of others. When Antony says, “ for
Brutus, as you know, was Caesar’s angel / Judge, O you Gods how dearly Caesar lov’d him”
( iii, ii, 179-180 ) while he is giving his speech. He means that Caesar would have done
almost anything for him and is trying to make the audience feel guilty; believing that Brutus
betrayed someone who truly loved him. Therefore, Mark Antony is an example of how
manipulation and language is used to change one’s perception when one thinks differently.
Cassius also demonstrates the use of manipulation and power of language. One
persuades others using flattery to satisfy one’s needs. When Cassius is talking to Brutus,
trying to convince him to join the conspirators he says ”Brutus and caesar: what should be
in that ‘caesar’? / Why should the name be sounded more than yours?” ( i, ii, 142-143 ).
Cassius seems to think that playing on his desire for personal glory, He can convince Brutus
to join the conspirators. One uses the power of language to convince others he is the better
person. When Cassius says: “Pardon Caesar! Caesar, pardon! / As low as to thy foot doth
Cassius fall / to beg enfranchisement for publius cimber” ( iii, i, 56-58 ) when he is in front of
Caesar; Cassius is flattering him while he is begging on his knees for CImber not to be
banished. Cassius is making himself appear vulnerable to the other conspirators and Caesar
to deceive them into thinking he is the better person. In conclusion, Cassius persuades
others using flattery, and convinces them he is the better person.
Therefore, Antony and Cassius demonstrate how manipulation and power of
language is used as a weapon of mind control and abuse of power. Antony uses
manipulation and language to get what he wishes, which can lead to the downfall of
others. However, Cassius uses language and flattery to satisfy his needs and
convinces others he is honourable. Furthermore, in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar,
Antony and Cassius truly represent how easily language can be used as an influence
to change one’s perception about a situation.
Shakespeare, William.Julius Caesar. Toronto: Oxford University Press 2010. print.