Essay on Cicero’s Pro Caelio
In order to deflect attention from the actual charges, charm and amuse his audience, and to attack publicly both Clodia and Clodius, Cicero employs a number of rhetorical strategies, which include humour, frequent references to the Roman comic theater and on more than once occasion what Quintilian calls a prosopopoia (a speech in character) where Cicero impersonates both the most famous member of the gens Claudii, Appius Claudius, and his contemporary inimcius Clodius Pulcher, the tribune of the plebs and brother of Clodia. In well-organized essay discuss Cicero’s overall strategy in crafting his defense of Caelius from lines 354 to 482 and show how he manipulates the Latin language to implement this strategy point by point.
As you analyze these lines, you should also discuss how Cicero incorporates the persona or actual words of various father figures from Roman comedy, especially concerning patres and adulescentes. Show how Cicero crafts and manipulates the Latin language to make his impersonations convincing and an effective strategy for both the acquittal of Caelius and the public damnation of the gens Claudia. Analyze the language carefully and make sure that you quote and translate the appropriate Latin words and phrases to support you argument. A consideration of figures of speech, word order, and phonetics should be tools of your analysis, not part of your overall thesis. Your essay should be built from precise and detailed textual analysis that is sensitive to nuances created from both choice of diction and use of rhetorical devices.
Make an outline of your argument and textual evidence before you begin writing. Rabbits of A/A+ ambition may wish to discuss this outline with me.
Grading Rubric or Check List for a “A” paper.
1) Quality and precision of textual analysis. Work with and quote Latin words and phrases.
2) Your paper displays a close and detailed reading of Caesar’s Latin and make all the points that are to be made from analysis of the Latin.
3) Sensitivity to diction, phonetics and figures of speech or rhetorical devices.
4) Introduction and conclusion are appropriate to the argument presented in your paper.
5) Argument and evidence are presented in an organized format and structure.
6) Paper presents a clear and coherent argument that is supported by textual analysis and citation of Latin words and phrases.
7) Quality and clarity of your English prose.
8) Correct format. Latin goes in italic font. Not: “italic”
Value 200 points.
Due Friday, January 13, 2015. Late papers will be immolated along with their writers.