Method's of Persuasion in Brutus's Funeral Oration

Topics: Rhetorical question, Roman Republic, Rhetoric Pages: 2 (610 words) Published: January 26, 2011
Brutus’s Funeral Oration

Brutus used only three persuasive techniques in his funeral oration in Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar. Despite being regarded as a great orator, or speaker, he limited his speech to the use of parallelism, rhetorical question, and tone. As well as a combination of the three.

Brutus began his speech with parallelism. He said, “…Hear me for my cause, and be silent, that you may hear. Believe me for mine honor, and have respect to mine honor, that you may believe. Censure me in your wisdom, and awake your senses, that you may be the better judge…” Now, more or less, what Brutus was trying to say was that he wants to be able to speak and be heard, and that he wants the audience to be quiet, so that he can have his say. He also goes on to say that the citizens should trust him because he is honorable and to respect him enough to believe him. Then, in a way, they should rebuke him if they deem he needs it. To me I think that this is an excellent way for Brutus to give the people a false sense of security, so that they actually believe they have a say in any of the matters. He is willing to humble himself publicly, which makes people more likely to want to give him a chance.

Secondly, there is a rhetorical question: “Had you rather Caesar were living and die all slaves, than that Caesar were dead, to live all free men?” Now this is most likely my favorite way Brutus tried to sway people. I suppose that when different people hear this, that they are likely to think of different things, and I for one, think of a chess match. Give and take. Sacrifice a Bishop to save the Queen. It is an easy choice; anybody who knows how to play chess would know to give up the Bishop. Now Imagine Caesar as the Bishop, and all the slaves as the Queen. Of course, the logical choice is to give up the weaker link to save the important bit. In this case, one should choose to save thousands of free men for the life of one: Caesar’s.

And lastly, when...
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