Pathos In Julius Caesar

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Leaders derive their power from a range of sources – military force, wealth, rank. However, leaders that we most admire win followers through the skill of persuasion. The ability of a speaker to persuade his listeners to agree with him signals that he is a powerful and astute figure. In the play Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, the character of Cassius attempts to convince Brutus that Caesar should be assassinated. Brutus, however, cares deeply for Caesar and is hesitant to kill the beloved hero of Rome. Cassius applies advanced techniques when speaking to Brutus and ultimately gains Brutus as an ally in his conspiracy against the emperor. These techniques involve the classic rhetorical methods that Aristotle crafted many centuries ago: Ethos, Logos, and Pathos. Aristotle understood that people are naturally skeptical. They are only fully convinced of an argument when they trust the source, understand the reasons, and truly care about the issue. When trying to win over an audience, it is crucial to…show more content…
Trust is achieved through ethos - the ability of a speaker to establish their credibility. Cassius employs this very effectively when speaking to Brutus, as he offers his own experiences with a feeble Caesar. One such example is on lines 111 - 115 when Cassius depicts Caesar drowning in the Tiber and Cassius has to save him. Cassius succeeds in establishing credibility by communicating that he is familiar with situations where Caesar has been weak and helpless, countering the the idea that Caesar is a noble and tough leader. Further, Cassius is able to develop his credibility by establishing that he will show why so many commoners adore Brutus. He explicitly states “So well as by reflection, I, your glass, / Will modestly discover to yourself / That of yourself which you yet know not of.”(I.ii.68) In these lines Cassius demonstrates why he is to be trusted: he will show Brutus the admirable traits others see in him. A final
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