Cicero's Defence Speeches Essay

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Cicero's Defence Speeches coursework assignment – Comments on 1st extract. This commentary will examine the context of the speech, summarise and evaluate the argument being made, examine the rhetorical devices and reasoning used to support it in the passage, and give an explanation for why Cicero would use this line of argument to defend his client and why exactly this argument could work, examining the passage as a piece of classical history and what it reveals about Roman society and concluding by evaluating the passage as a contemporary argument and how well it would have worked, Much of Cicero's arguments made in this passage require firm understanding of the context of the case to be understood fully. Cicero's own enmity against the family of Clodia stemmed from his rivalry with her brother, Publius Clodius Pulcher, and as such would provide Cicero with the drive to destroy her character publicly, and the scandal of being accused of incest with Clodius and of having generally loose morals gave him the evidence to do so, something he references when “accidentally” naming Clodius her husband, not her brother.…show more content…
He is supposing that if she were to be removed from the case, then there would be no one left to accuse Caelius and so the charges would be dropped. This is a line of reasoning Cicero continues to persue throughout his speech and is his main defence for Caelius, rather than refuting the claims with evidence he repeatedly questions and attacks the character of Clodia in order to have her reputation so ruined she would have no support in her accusations. This plan of attack had merit in that if it worked it would draw attention away from the actual questions raised in the case and instead effectively put Clodia on trial, something that despite his words to the contrary would most likely have been pleasing to Cicero

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