Persuasion is the process or an instance of persuading, according to Merriam-Webster. Humans have been convincing each other to shine a light on their ideas and beliefs for a long time and will continue doing so. It is an underrated skill that if polished, can bring an individual great success. This ability is essential in running society and its power has often been used to create history, like Brutus in William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar can reveal to us.
A notable act of persuasion would be when Brutus persuades the conspirators not to kill Mark Antony. He points out that killing Antony would make their course “seem too bloody” (II.I.169). Brutus underestimates him: “And for Mark Antony, think not of him, / For he can do no more than Caesar’s arm / When Caesar’s head is off” (II.I.188-190). The conspirators listen to Brutus as he uses logos and they trusted him to make the right decisions for them. Brutus feared that killing Antony would make them look brutal and power-hungry. This decision proves harmful when Antony forms a Triumvirate with Lepidus and Octavius, seeking revenge. This act helps shape the plot of the story where Brutus and his followers fight the Triumvirate. His second mistake was made while delivering his eulogy for Caesar’s funeral.
During Caesar’s funeral, Brutus made the mistake of giving his speech before Antony, giving him a chance to counter Brutus’ points. Brutus did a good job of convincing the plebeians that Caesar was dangerous, even though Antony changed their minds when he got his turn. He uses ethos when he starts his speech: ‘Hear me for my cause,/ and be silent, that you may hear. Believe me for mine/ honor, and have respect to mine honor, that you may believe’ (III.II.15-17). He also uses logos by adding ‘but as he was ambitious,/ I slew him’ in lines 27-28. Despite all these efforts, Antony uses pathos to influence the people. An example would be when Antony describes Caesar as a person who was his ‘friend, faithful and just’ (III.II.93). This part was also important in the development of the story.
The persuading skills of Brutus affected the outcome of the assassination and created an event to be remembered by mankind. His skills determined his fate when Antony became a threat to him. The power of persuasion is the greatest tool an individual has and can help him achieve just about anything.