Cicero's Orations

Cicero, Cruz, and Obama: Rhetorical Strategies and the Assessment of Modern Orations 12th Grade

How many times have you made connections between movies and books of current times and those of ancient Roman times? As time has passed, the Roman empire and ancient times have continued to influence our daily lives. One of the similarities between today’s day and ancient Roman times are speeches made by politicians and the linguistic devices used. For example, in 2014, Ted Cruz recited a speech by Cicero in front of the Senate and made minor changes in order for it to relate to current issues. On the other hand, in 2009, Obama made his inaugural speech and used Cicero's signature techniques to enhance his speech. Through these examples, the credibility given to current speeches is noticeable, one learns that plagiarizing a historical speech is wrong, while using Cicero as a possible model in how one should write an address.

Cicero’s speech to Catiline is considered one of the most remarkable speeches in history. The reason why it is significant even now is due to the devices he used to enhance his discussion. Cicero starts with rhetorical questions, such as “How long is that madness of yours still to mock us?” This device is able to engage the audience and allow them to feel a part of the locution being made. Moreover, the...

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