The Persuasion of Caesar by Decius in Julius Caesar, a Play by William Shakespeare

In Shakespeare’s renowned play, Julius Caesar, Caesar is faced with a fatal decision. He must choose to listen to his wife’s, Calphurnia, advice or Decius’. Both appeal to logos, however, ultimately Caesar is persuaded by Decuis with his additional appeal to pathos and therefore goes to the Senate; where he meets his unfortunate fate.

Calphurnia desperately attempts to convince her husband to stay home. She recounts her dream, vividly describing the chaos she witnessed in the streets (imagery). To convince Caesar that even he, the great politician and general of Rome, cannot escape death, she mentions “when beggars die, there are no comets seen; the heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes”.

(logos) Her despairing tone and symbolic diction is, initially, enough to prevent him from attending the Senate.

However, Decius provides an alternative interpretation of her dream that entirely transforms it. He argues that Calphurnia’s dream is all just a misinterpretation and explains all the elements in her dream: the “spouting blood” symbolizes Caesar’s revival of Rome and later idolization (logos).

In a calm tone, he adds that if the Senate hears that Caesar did not come to them on that day because of some bad dream, the Senate might ridicule him and view him as weak (pathos). This was the final straw for Caesar, for he does not want to be viewed as someone who is “weak” and to be ridiculed. He decides to side with Decuis and attends the Senate.

Decius’ lure on Caesar’s pride and reputation is what made his argument more persuasive than Calphurnia’s.

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By understanding his audience, he was able to successfully perpetrate his plan. Ultimately, Decius is able to convince Caesar to attend the Senate, where he finally meets his death.

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The Persuasion of Caesar by Decius in Julius Caesar, a Play by William Shakespeare. (2023, Feb 15). Retrieved from

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