Cicero's Orations

How Clodius’ History Is Used to Blacken His Character in the 'Pro Milone' College

Despite the fact that the Cicero constructs his argument based on factual evidence of what took place during the time before the fight and during the fracas itself, we cannot deny the fact that Cicero does at times use Clodius’ past actions to aid his desired acquittal of Milo. Although not his predominant argument, this tactic of blackening his character by alluding to past events, a technique known as paraleipsis, definitely helps to soften the jury’s attitudes towards a man who has already admitted to killing Clodius in self-defence, but arguably in doing so has removed “a festering wound” from Roman society as Cicero puts it. It must be noted that Cicero, as well as portraying Clodius in a bad light, helps extend this presentation as a malicious man by contrasting him with a seemingly virtuous Milo, which again appears to be an effective means of further bringing the character of Clodius into disrepute.

Cicero effectively inserts incidents of Cloduis’ past debauchery at moments where what he is speaking about in the trial resonates with these past actions. There is a moment where Cicero begins to speak about how there is always a chance of a robber being killed by the traveller rather than vice versa, and he ends his...

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