Influence of the Roman Theater on Cicero’s Oration Pro Caelia By
Cicero’s oration in defense of M. Caelius Rufus shows many substantive and stylistic borrowings from the Roman Theater, particularly the comedies of the 2nd century b.c.e. This would scarcely seem remarkable to Cicero, to employ such devices is only to make use of the tools of his trade, as a practical and practicing rhetorician. In this case using the theater as a framing device to guide his audience’s response.
So too would the judgments and emotions existing in the cultural reservoir of Greco-Roman, or Attic-Latin stage have met his division of purpose as he considered the permanent written speech, he would set down in the wake of the trial, however it was decided. Half a year back from exile and taking a case where he faced by proxy a personal enemy. Cicero wanted a note that would not only sound loudly when struck, but continue to reverberate. His message needed to rise clear of the verdict of the particular case.
Cicero was formally trained as a rhetorician - in Athens -at the Academy. To Cicero oratory was an all pervading endeavor. It was speaking to an audience for a purpose. He seems to accept the prevailing Greek definition of oratory as that division of speech concerned with legal cases and public debates (Cicero, Orator I 6, 22-23). without seeing it as distinct or separate from other speech as not to involve commonality.
In On the Orator I it is debated at one point whether oratory truly involves a comprehensive search for the good, or does the Orator merely use an appearance of the truth for effectiveness as part of a natural art or learned set of techniques (Cicero, Orator I 10, 42). Crassus’ somewhat dry answer to Scavola is to observe that the opinion of the Greeks was not to allow the rhetorician inclusion in genuine government affairs or learning (Cicero, Orator I 11, 46).
Cicero, by example of his own life takes a broad inclusive approach to Oratory. In a earlier statement we encounter words which probably reflect his own view closely: But the fact of the matter is that oratory is a much more considerable activity and depends on a far wider range of different arts and branches of study, than people imagine (Cicero, Orator I 4,16).Particularly Cicero seems interested in holding on to the orator’s special sphere - the third branch of Philosophy life and behavior of human beings which is to say, human nature (Cicero, Orator I 15, 69).
We hear of the orator’s special strength - to rouse men’s hearts to anger, hatred, and indignation (Cicero, Orator I 12,53), a not dissimilar goal to that of the dramatist. We find that a speaker’s job is to ensure that the feelings of his audience are affected just the way he wants them to be (19, 87). His Five Tasks of the orator (and to keep within the dignity of the theme) (Cicero, Orator I 38, 142-44) given in a following paragraph, are suitable instructions for any playwright or actor. Even at the beginning of...