What poetic devices or rhetorical devices would Cassius use to persuade the Plebians of the noble reasons for Caesar's death?I am required to write a funeral speech from Cassius' point of view. It...

What poetic devices or rhetorical devices would Cassius use to persuade the Plebians of the noble reasons for Caesar's death?

I am required to write a funeral speech from Cassius' point of view. It should be written as if it occurred during III.ii while Brutus' speech is going on. I am stumped as to how Cassius would conduct it, although I know it would be similar to Brutus'. However, I am constantly told that Cassius isn't a good public speaker and I have to also show that through my speech.

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Certainly, a composed speech for a character must possess verisimiltude to his personality. In his efforts to persuade Brutus to join the conspiracy in Act I, Scene 2, Cassius uses the following techniques:


To win Brutus over, Cassius flatters him by convincing him that he, Cassius can be a mirror to Brutus, showing his "hidden worthiness" as well as what he himself does not recognize:

I have heard
Where many of the best respect in Rome,
Except immortal Caesar, speaking of Brutus, ....

So well as by reflection, I your glass
Will modestly discover to yourself
That of yourself which you yet know not of.(1.2.64-75)

This worthiness, Cassius argues, makes Brutus the equal of any Caesar, so why should Caesar be emperor?

Cassius also flatters Brutus by contending that he is concerned about honor, just as is Brutus. For, he points out, if Caesar can kill his former ally Pompey and accept a crown, is he not both dishonorable and desirous of power?

Logical Appeal

Cassius also appeals to reason. When Brutus hears shouting, and fears that the people are choosing Caesar for "their king," Cassius asks the rhetorical question, "Ay, do you fear it?" Then he appeals rationally to Brutus, "Then must I think you would not have it so" (2.1.87)

Appeal to probability

Cassius argues that with the earlier actions of Caesar as he triumphantly traversed the streets of Rome, Caesar acts as though he has "now become a god" and will, therefore, continue to "bestride the world/Like a Colossus" (1.2.141-142).

Ad hominem

Cassius clearly attacks Caesar's personal traits, arguing that they point to tyrannical tendencies.


Now, when you compose your speech a la Cassius, you will want to employ what Cassius considers his strongest techniques. So, Cassius would do as Marc Antony does in his oration and address the Romans as friends and countrymen and flatter them by declaring his "modest" intention of showing how Caesar was ambitious for power. Again, he would probably allude to Caesars desire for the coronet that Antony himself has held, obviously encouraging his tyranny, as well as thus condoning Caesar's having killed Pompey.

Another technique that Cassius would most likely use is ad hominem since, with his insightfulness, he knows that Antony can be treacherous; he has warned Brutus not to let Antony address the people as he is not to be trusted. If, therefore, Cassius follows Antony in addressing the Roman crowd, he would make every effort to discredit Antony just as Antony has done so with Brutus. One way that he can discredit Marc Antony's concern for the people is by pointing again to the fact that it has been Antony who has offered Caesar the crown earlier. Also, he can discredit Marc Antony's honor by pointing out that Antony believes "Caesar was dangerous" (3.1.222) and he would not praise Caesar. In short, he has lied to Brutus and Cassius, so why would Antony not lie to the crowd, also? Moreover, he encourages civil war (...that should move/The stone of Rome to rise and mutiny" (3.2.239-240), the type of war that is devastating to any country, yet Antony purportedly loves Rome.

Remember that Cassius is more devious than the honorable Brutus, so he would be more likely to use innuendoes and underhanded insults to Marc Antony in order to eliminate their rival and his persuasive arguments whereas Brutus is honorable and falsely assumes the Romans are, too.

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Julius Caesar

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