Calpurnia And Decius’s Arguments In The Tragedy Of Julius Caesar By William Shakespeare

December 9, 2020 by Essay Writer

Tragedy of Julius Caesar

In the play Tragedy of Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, both of these characters Calpurnia and Decius try to persuade Caesar either into continued life, or into betrayal and death. Calpurnia had a vision that Caesar would die if he went to Senate. Opposing to Calpurnia’s dream, Decius promised Caesar the crown if he went to Senate. Calpurnia had to support her argument with her appeal to ethos and her fear for Caesar’s life. She spoke from her heart, but lacked logic in her dream. Decius took advantage of her vision and knew that Caesar would not turn anything down that guaranteed power, success, and wealth. Decius was able to persuade Caesar with alluring lies and evil tactics.

Calpurnia used vivid detail and made strong appeals to ethos to support her argument. Calpurnia’s credibility was established by her simply being the wife of Caesar, one of the greatest men in Rome. She hoped to capture Caesar’s attention by warning him of the terrors she saw in her dreams. For example she tells us, “A lioness hath whelped in the streets, and graves have yawned, and yielded up their dead; Fierce fiery warriors fought upon the cloud” (5-7). Caesar was influenced by Calpurnia’s dream, but it was not enough to make Caesar stay home. Calpurnia concluded her argument to Caesar by stating, “Your wisdom is consumed in confidence. Do not go forth today. Call it my fear” (29-30). Unfortunately, Calpurnia’s appeal to ethos was not able to affect Caesar. Being married to an over confident person, Calpurnia should have known that Caesar would not believe her. He had very few fears; he especially did not fear his death because he knew the God’s had control over it. Caesar was too sure of himself, and as a result Decius took advantage of his arrogance. Decius’s motivation for getting Caesar to go to Senate was based on his ethos. He was a member of a group of conspirators, whose plan was to kill Caesar at Senate. Decius was able to manipulate Caesar by turning everything in his wife’s dream into a positive “This dream is all amiss interpreted; it was a vision fair and fortunate” (45-46). Decius appeals to the ethos of Caesar. He knows that Caesar is greedy, and in a quest for everlasting glory. Decius concluded his argument explaining to Caesar, “And know it now, the Senate have concluded to give this day a crown to mighty Caesar. If you shall send them word you will not come, their minds may change” (56-58). The promises of wealth and success were all Decius needed, in order to influence Caesar. Decius explains what Caesar will be missing if he stays at home. Decius uses ethos because he appeals to the character of Caesar. He knows that Caesar is greedy, in search of glory, and striving to become a legend. Decius simply tells Caesar everything he wants to hear, and tricks him easily in this way.

Both arguments were strong, but in this case, Decius knew Caesar better. Calpurnia and Decius each had a close relationship with Caesar, and they were both equally capable of persuading Caesar. Caesar was neither fearful nor emotional, and as a result, Calpurnia’s emotional argument had little effect on him. Decius was sure that Caesar would not turn down anything that would make him prosperous or greater than the others. Decius was correct, and in the end believing Decius’s lies would cost Caesar his life.

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