Lee Wilson, Prairiland High School in Pattonville, Texas.
Julius Caesar 1.2 and 1.3
What's On for Today and Why
Students will examine the different tactics of persuasion they use in their own lives and see how those tactics are used in the language of Julius Caesar. Through improvisation, analysis, discussion, reading, and writing, they will help to examine the tone and tactics of persuasive speech.
This lesson will take one class period.
What You Need
Folger edition of Julius Caesar
Available in Folger print edition and Folger Digital Texts
What To Do
1. Separate your students into groups of 3 or 4 and give them the following prompts. Ask one student to play the part of the persuader, and another the object of the persuasion. The remaining students in the group should try to note three different tactics and tones used by the persuader(s).
Prompt 1: Persuade your best friend to loan you money.
Prompt 2: Persuade your parents to let you stay out later.
Prompt 3: Persuade a teacher to take your late homework.
Prompt 4: Persuade a potential boyfriend/girlfriend to go out with you.
2. Now give the objects of the persuasion some specific instruction. Have them react first in a positive, next in a negative, and finally in a neutral manner.
3. Engage the group in discussion of the activity. How do the tactics of persuasion change? In what ways does the tone of the encounter change?
4. Now compare these tactics to the ones Cassius uses in 1.2 and 1.3. Are there any similarities? Does Cassius cross any moral boundaries? What would your students add or subtract from Cassius's ideas?
5. Optional extensions: Have your students read excerpts from Cassius's speeches while trying out different tones. Have your students model the types of body language Cassius uses while trying to persuade Brutus and Casca. Or, ask your students to write a comparison/contrast essay examining the persuasive tactics that they and Cassius both use.
How Did It Go?
Were students able to identify the different tactics they used to persuade? Were they able to see relationships between those tactics and the ones used by Cassius? Did the comparison give them some understanding of Cassius and his challenges in these scenes?
If you used this lesson, we would like to hear how it went and about any adaptations you made to suit the needs of YOUR students.