What is an example of parallelism in Brutus' speech?
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In Act III, scene ii of Julius Caesar, Brutus uses much parallelism (parallel construction: using the same pattern of words to show that two or more ideas have the same level of importance.)
He begins his speech thusly:
Then follow me, and give me audience, friends.
Notice the repetition of "me" in the object placement in both clauses.
Later, he says:
Those that will hear me speak, let 'em stay here;
Those that will follow Cassius, go with him;
Notice the repetition of the "those that will" at the beginning of each clause.
Still later, he returns to the "me" as object coupled with the "that you may":
hear me for my
cause, and be silent, that you may hear: believeme
for mine honour, and have respect to mine honour, that
you may believe: censure me in your wisdom, and
awake your senses, that you may the better judge.
The speech builds as the level of parallelism increases.
Parallelism involves the use of constructs in a sentence that are similar grammatically. This literary tool is used to enhance rhythm and balance in statements in order to make them persuasive and easily understood.
Brutus had to use parallelism to provide comfort to the people and persuade them of the reasoning behind Caesar's death. He tried to boost his personal credibility given his position in the society. An example of parallelism occurs when Brutus states,
Believe me for mine honor, and have respect to mine honor that you may believe.
He made this statement appealing to the people to listen to him given his character as an honorable man with Rome’s best interests at heart. To convince the people Brutus had to enhance his speech in order to justify the weighty situation of Caesar’s death.
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