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Rhetorical Devices


Annotated Table of Contents
List of Readings
Community Service
School Involvment
Writing Introduction

In the play Julius Caesar  by William Shakespeare rhetorical techniques and appeals to ethics and feelings dominate the context of most monologues. For example, in act I, scene ii the use of figurative language such as personification, allusions and similes help the monologues appeal more to Brutus, and also contribute to the effectiveness of the argument. Another tool used by Shakespeare is the appeal that some of the arguments have in ethics and feelings of certain characters.

            Shakespeare uses two principal appeals within the monologues: ethos and pathos. This use  is first expressed in the first monologue, I had as life not be as to live to be in awe of such a thing as I myself, (Shakespeare, lines 7-8). This quote appeals to ethos because it has to do with Cassius desire to be free from Caesars rule. He states this wish of freedom  as a desire to live under the rule of someone better than himself not equal. Also, Cassius brings up an experience he had with Caesar , Atlas, it cried, Give me some drink, Titinius as a sick girl. (Shakespeare lines 39-40) the mentioning of this experience appeals to Brutus ethics of pride. Being ruled by someone who cried as a sick girl wasnt looked upon very highly. By the use of ethic and feeling appeals Brutus accomplishes a main goal, to introduce the idea to Brutus that someone who is equal to him shouldnt rule Rome.

            The use of figurative language is present in both monologues; it is dominant technique because it provides the reader with a greater understanding of the situation, according to Cassius point of view. It first appears as an Allusion. I, as Aenas, our great ancestor, did from the flames of Troy upon his shoulder the old Anchises bear, so from the waves of Tiber did I tires Caesar, (Shakespeare lines 24-27). This is an example of an allusion because it refers back to ancestors that arent rpesent but are well known and apparently admired by Brutus.  The use of this allusion appeals to Brutus because Cassius compared himself to something Brutus admired, therefore giving Brutus the same sense of admiration for Cassius and at the same time undermines Caesars figure. Another use of figurative language appears in the second monologue, Why should a name be sounded more than yours? Sound them together, yours is a fair name; sound them it doth become the mouth as well; weigh then. It is heavy (Shakespeare lines 11-14) This is use of personification because it makes Brutus realize that not only his name and Caesars are the same but the value o a person was also equal. Last but not least Shakespeare uses a simile in the beginning of the second monologue, Like a Colossus, and we pretty men walk under his huge legs, and peep about to find ourselves dishonorable graves. Men at some time are masters of their fates (Shakespeare lines 3-6) Cassius compares himself and Brutus to the little men walking around Colossus, which in this case is compared to Caesar. Cassius mentions how men at some time are masters of their fates hinting to Brutus that it is time for him to take control over his own fate and what he loves, Rome. The use of figurative language in both monologues has two important effects: first it puts Cassius in a higher position that Caesar and Brutus mind, and second it makes him equal or even better than Caesar.

            The use of appeals to ethics and personal feelings give Brutus the idea that someone who is better or equal than him should not rule Rome. In addition the use of figurative language convinces Brutus that he in fact is better than Caesar and should therefore take power for the good of Rome.