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Cicero's First Oration Against Catiline

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Heather Fitch

on 16 October 2012

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Transcript of Cicero's First Oration Against Catiline

Who is Cicero actually trying to persuade?
What methods and arguments does he use to persuade them? Cicero's First Oration Against Catiline
Declares that they are being mocked by Catiline's attitude and actions
Reminds them of a time when "brave men" punished traitors appropriately
Suggests that their authority is "growing dull"
Affirms their superiority over the kind of person that Catiline is
Cicero appeals to the Senate's sense of pride Cicero's responsibility (and the Senate's) is to "watch...vigilantly for the safety of the state"
Catiline is a "public enemy" and the state has a responsibility to treat him as such
Catiline has escaped punishment for his crimes that the Senate is responsible to have administered
Cicero appeals to the Senate's sense of responsibility Declares that Catiline should already be dead
Offers precedents of execution for such traitors
Suggests exile as an alternative
Catiline is already willing to "exile" himself
Insists that Catiline has no intention of true exile; he will return with force Cicero presents the Senate with two choices: Execution or Exile Details of Catiline's October 21 plot
Details of men hired to kill Cicero
Details of Catiline's response in December consulship election
Uses Catiline's willing admittance to custody as evidence of guilt
Paints a picture of future destruction that Catiline will bring if allowed to live Cicero describes in detail Catiline's plot against himself and the state In addition to all the recent crimes against the state, Cicero informs the Senate of several personal indiscretions
Murdering his wife
Placing weapons in the hands of youth Cicero dredges up Catiline's past actions to establish his reputation Declares everyone in the city except the "pestilent bilge-water of the state" has turned against him
Speaks as the state against him, and as one against whom Catiline as acted
Cicero speaks as if the majority of the Senate already agrees with him so as to persuade those who are unconvinced that they are in the minority Cicero is at once trying to persuade the members of the Senate and Catiline. Questions to Ponder: What is Cicero trying to persuade Catiline to do or believe? What inconsistencies or contradictions do you see in what Cicero tries to persuade the Senate to do?
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