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Julius Caesar Essay Prompts

PROMPT 1. In William Shakespeares famed tragedy Julius Caesar, the


citizens of Rome are quick to follow the words of whoever gives the most
effective public speech. Think about the funeral speeches that are given after
Julius Caesars assassination in Act 3, Scene 2 and the effect the speeches
have on the Roman people. In a five-paragraph essay, contrast Brutus and
Antonys use of the rhetorical devices of ethos, pathos, and logos, and
analyze the effectiveness of those devices in swaying the crowd.

Reason (logos), Ethics (ethos) or Emotion (pathos)


Reason (logos) supports the speakers general claims with concrete,
specific data.
o Uses two or three different strong reasons to support argument.
o Supports reasons with evidence.
Facts can be proven.
Expert opinions or quotations
Definitions statement of meaning of word or phrase
Statistics offer scientific support
Examples powerful illustrations
Anecdote incident, often based on speakers personal
experiences
Emotional appeals to provide support for reasons,
carefully chosen loaded words, carrying positive or
negative connotations, sway readers emotions
Present opposition and give reasons and evidence to
prove the opposition wrong
Conclude with call to action urge the reader to do
something
Ethics (ethos) convinces listeners that the speaker is fair, honest,
and well-informed. They will then trust the speakers values and
intentions.
o Avoid over-use of negatively charged loaded words.
Emotion (pathos) a carefully reasoned argument will be
strengthened by an emotional appeal.
o Uses description or narrates an example, often from the
speakers own experience.
o The speakers point of view is demonstrated in an emotional
appeal and is important to the listener.
o Careful word choice presents the speakers position accurately.
TIME TO THINK:

BRUTUS ANTONY
(LIST THE DEVICE/S AND LOCATE (LIST THE DEVICE/S AND LOCATE
QUOTES TO PROVE THAT DEVICE WAS QUOTES TO PROVE THAT DEVICE WAS
USED) USED)

(LIST THE CROWDS REACTION TO (LIST THE CROWDS REACTION TO


THE DEVICE/S) THE DEVICE/S)
(WHAT MAKES THE DEVICE/S (WHAT MAKES THE DEVICE/S
EFFECTIVE?) EFFECTIVE?)

Considering all youve noted above, what can you conclude about the
effectiveness of the different rhetorical devices, and what can you conclude
about Brutus and Antonys uses of those devices? The answer is your Main
Thesis. Write it below.

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

How will you break down your argument? What positions can you take about
the different rhetorical devices? About Brutus and Antony? Remember, youre
being asked to contrast (that means show the differences between) the two
speakers. Brainstorm ideas here:

Can you make any connections between the ideas you listed above? Do they
build upon each other? Is one the most convincing of them all?

BT1:

BT2:

BT3:
PROMPT 2. One of the themes found in Julius Caesar is ambition. While
todays world might suggest ambition is a good quality, Shakespeare depicts
it as dangerous and alarmingso much so the mere threat of it costs Julius
Caesar his life. Consider the following characters in the play: Cassius, Brutus,
and Antony. Which man is most ambitious? In a five-paragraph essay, analyze
the ambition of these men and explain whose ambition is the most to be
feared.

TIME TO THINK:

CASSIUS BRUTUS ANTONY


(HOW IS HE (HOW IS HE (HOW IS HE
AMBITIOUS?) AMBITIOUS?) AMBITIOUS?)

(LOCATE QUOTES (LOCATE QUOTES (LOCATE QUOTES


WHERE YOU SEE HIS WHERE YOU SEE HIS WHERE YOU SEE HIS
AMBITIONS IN THE AMBITIONS IN THE AMBITIONS IN THE
PLAY?) PLAY?) PLAY?)
Considering all youve noted above, what can you conclude about the
ambitions of these three men? Whose ambition is the most dangerous? The
answer is your Main Thesis. Write it below.

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________
How will you break down your argument? What positions can you take about
each mans ambition? Is one worse than the other? What makes his ambition
so bad? Brainstorm ideas here:

Can you make any connections between the ideas you listed above? Do they
build upon each other? Is one the most convincing of them all?

BT1:

BT2:

BT3: