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Good Techniques Go a Long Way

By , Brush Prairie, WA
Do you ever feel as though you are out of the loop because no one will tell you what is going on? Many instances in life consist of having to persuade someone to do something differently using various techniques. Literature outlines these techniques through various stories and plays. One such play is Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare. In this play, people use persuasion throughout the entire context. A specific example is when Brutus is hiding from his wife a very large fact, the fact that he is planning to assassinate Caesar. With persuasive techniques like emotional appeal, logical appeal, loaded words and refuting the opposition, Portia successfully convinces Brutus to tell her this devious secret.

To begin, in Julius Caesar, Portia uses the persuasive technique of emotional appeal to try and get Brutus to tell her what is going on. You can see her use this technique when she says, “Think you I am no stronger than my sex, being so fathered and so husbanded? Tell me your counsels, I will not disclose ‘em,” on lines 296-298. This shows that Portia will stop at nothing to get what she wants because she is making Brutus feel bad for not telling her. Considering in the end, he tells her, this was obviously an effective technique.

In addition, Portia uses a fact (logical appeal)--that they are married-- to grasp hold of Brutus. She is saying that he is dishonorable because he won’t tell her what he is so bothered about and what is keeping him up at night. In lines 279-283, Portia says this to Brutus, “I should not need, if you were gentle Brutus. Within the bond of marriage, tell me, Brutus, Is it excepted I should know no secrets that appertain to you? Am I your self but, as it were, in sort or limitation.” She used logical appeal by stating the fact that they are married because that is legal. However, it seems as though she really said this to show that he is being dishonorable by not telling her. Portia twists his mind into believing these things and that is why this persuasion is effective.

The third tool Portia uses to persuade Brutus is by saying loaded words to show Brutus how much of a brute he is being for not telling her. She says a very distinct word to Brutus to prove what she is feeling. It all starts on line 287, “Portia is Brutus’ harlot, not his wife.” In this situation, she says harlot, which means tramp or prostitute, and she is implying that all she is good for is to eat meals, comfort his bed or talk to him a couple of times. By saying this word, and other words throughout her talk to him, Portia is finally awarded by knowing what is bothering Brutus.

Furthermore, Brutus tries to give Portia an excuse as to why he is acting the way he is, but Portia turns it around uses the persuasive technique of refuting the opposition to get him to tell the truth. Brutus tries to get off the hook by saying he is sick but Portia knows that is a lie. Brutus says on line 257, “I am not well in health, and that is all.” However, Portia replies in lines 260-270 and says,

“Is Brutus sick, and is it physical
To walk unbraced and suck up the humors
Of the dank morning? What, is Brutus sick,
And will be steal out of his wholesome bed,
To dare the vile contagion of the night,
And tempt the rheumy and unpurged air

To add unto his sickness? No, my Brutus;

You have some sick offense within your mind,

Which by the right and virtue of my place

I out to know of.”

By refuting the opposition, Portia proves to Brutus that she knows he is lying and that there is a different reason for his discomfort. In all, by using this persuasive technique, she successfully gets Brutus to tell her.

Without persuasive techniques such as, emotional appeal, logical appeal, loaded words and refuting the opposition, Portia probably wouldn’t have been able to get Brutus to tell her what is going on in his life. Portia was effective when she used emotional appeal because it gets Brutus to think about why he should tell her. Also, logical appeal was used when she brings up their marriage and how he is dishonorable. Third, a very descriptive word is used, which grabs Brutus’s heart. Last, she refutes the opposition because Brutus says that he is sick, when he really isn’t, and Portia turns this around on him. In the end, Brutus does tell Portia what is going on and these persuasive techniques are very effective. With the right techniques, you too can be in the loop when important events are going on during your life.





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