Cicero's Orations

Cicero's Orations Analysis

Cicero's Orations should be taken as a demonstration of Cicero's method for rhetoric. Notice the way his speeches exemplify his attention to detail and his commitment to communicate clearly, and with authority. He manages to sway the senate several times in the works, and even his last speech in the collection, the one against Marc Antony, is pointed and convincing. He even died for being so successful in calling Antony's authority into question. This demonstrates the power of words, which is above all else, the passion of Cicero.

Another important aspect of these speeches is their significance in the development of the legal system of the Western world. By showing that facts can be skewed in either direction, Cicero draws attention to the complexity of truth and the inherent flaw of over-simplification. These ideas are the cornerstone of criminal law, especially in America, where the legal process takes the form of a game where each side debates for their point of view, and the winner is decided by an authority. The senate itself is even reminiscent of the modern jury, because it combines the opinions of many to establish a sense of legal justice.

Finally, it's important to address the fact that we have the speech that caused Cicero's downfall. In that speech, the skill of Cicero's silver-tongue is put to the test as he attempts to undermine Marc Antony's authority. Ultimately his death is an indication that he has succeeded in changing Antony's reputation, a sin for which he pays with his own life. Antony's decision to have Cicero tried and killed is an indication that Cicero was more than formidable—he was scary.

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