Julius Caesar

Decius vs. Calpurnia: Argumentation and Caesar's Choice 10th Grade

Arguments are the pinnacle of progress, development and change. People with conflicting ideas and beliefs engage in this activity constantly. However, did you know that arguments actually come down to a science? In 4th century B.C.E, Aristotle theorized that a well formed argument must include the following: ethos (an appeal to ethics, what is right vs. what is wrong), pathos (an appeal to emotion), and logos (an appeal to logic and sense). This theory, so widespread, has even shaped the success of arguments in Shakespeare's plays. In act II of Julius Caesar, Decius and Calpurnia butt heads on whether Caesar should attend Senate. Although Calpurnia used strong pathos, Decius used pathos and logos in combination which turned out to be more powerful (as he appealed to Caesar’s pride and provided logical reasoning), and ultimately led Caesar to attend Senate.

Calpurnia's first attempt to convince Caesar to not attend Senate comes in the form of very detailed imagery of her terrifying dream. She hopes that by using pathos, she can scare him out of attending the meeting. One part of her description says, “Which drizzled blood upon the Capitol” (9). She is trying to tell Caesar that her dream foreshadows the death of him in a way...

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