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40. Politische Reden bei Shakespeare

Wolfgang G. Müller

Abstract

Shakespeare was deeply rooted in the classical rhetorical tradition and he shared the Renaissance fascination with persuasion and the power of language. His plays are rich in political orations. In these speeches he made creative use of rhetoric and he focused on essential political issues. A central position is accorded to the speeches of Brutus and Antony on the forum in Julius Caesar. The forum scene does not only dramatize political rhetoric most effectively, but in its opposition of two contrasting types of rhetoric it tells us more about rhetoric than all handbooks up to the present time. Further speeches discussed are Menenius Agrippa’s speech before the rebellious people of Rome at the beginning of Coriolanus, John of Gaunt’s eulogy on England in Richard II, war rhetoric in Henry V and Cranmer’s prophetic speech on the occasion of the birth of Elizabeth, the future queen of England, in Henry VIII.

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