In rhetoric, the use of Aristotle’s three appeals is often viewed as a crucial component of any discourse. Implying that every argument must have ethos, logos, and pathos, the specified principle allows identifying a strong statement and determining the goals of a particular message. In Julius Caesar, William Shakespeare uses the Three Appeals to reinforce the message and make the overall impression made by the play even more powerful.
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In Brutus’s case, logos and pathos elements are intertwined in his statement as he addresses his audience. For example, he mentions his cause at the very beginning of his speech, therefore, framing his argument as logical and driven by the necessity to introduce change. However, at the same time, he mentions the issue of honor and persuades his audience to fight for his honor. Thus, he adds significant emotional weight to his words, i.e., develops ethos.
Furthermore, Brutus stresses his love for Caesar, claiming that they have developed a strong emotional bond. However, at the same time, he develops logos by mentioning the reasonability of his actions by emphasizing that he has done “no more to Caesar than you shall do to Brutus” (Shakespeare). Thus, he creates the impression of putting rational needs (i.e., the significance of logos) in front of his emotional struggles (i.e., the weight of pathos), making a very compelling case for his plight. The specified effect adds the element of ethics to his statement, therefore, completing the Three Arguments in his speech.
In a similar way, Antony structures his speech in accordance with the Three Appeals principle by combining pathos and logos into his speech. However, his reasoning seems to be more flawed than the one of Brutus due to the lack of connection between the three components. In Antony’s speech, logos and pathos are used separately. As a result, the cohesion between the elements of the appeal becomes tenuous. The presence of ethos component of the Three Appeals, however, is established much better in Antony’s speech since he denotes his ethical standards in a straightforward fashion at the very beginning of his monologue by mentioning the qualities such as “noble” (Shakespeare), “honourable” (Shakespeare), “faithful” (Shakespeare), etc. thus, Antony’s statement seems less forced than the one of Brutus, yet it lacks the passion that makes it prominent.
Although both Brutus’s and Antony’s speeches have all Three Appeals represented in them, Brutus’s argument turns out to be more compelling than the one of Antony’s due to the fusion of logos and pathos. Even though the ethos-related components based on which he makes a choice are less evident in his speech than in Antony’s one, it is implied, thus, appealing to his target audience. Antony, in turn, offers a more competent and better-structured statement, yet the failure to integrate all components efficiently makes his plight less persuasive. Incorporating each of the Three Appeals of discourse in Julius Caesar, Shakespeare creates the statement that will last for centuries since it remains relatable to all audiences.
The presence of ethos, logos, and pathos in the specified excerpt from the play makes the message thereof all the more poignant and adds depth to the characters. Owing to the Three Appeals, audiences can relate to the characters in the play at all of the three levels, i.e., ethos, pathos, and logos. Furthermore, the use of the identified technique helps add multiple dimensions to the arguments and intentions of the lead characters. As a result, none of the characters seems flat or simple. Instead, even though the essential ethical standards are evident in the play, the characters remain compelling and interesting.
Shakespeare, William. “Julius Caesar: Act III, Scene II.” SakespeareOnline, 2013. Web.
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