Saturday, November 26, 2016

The City Against Catiline

Irene Chen
Figurative Analysis

In Cicero’s First Oration Against Catiline, he makes the argument that Catiline should exile himself from the city of Rome for his conspiracies against the Roman government.  The reason ultimately being that the hatred the people of Rome have for Catiline is the highest incentive to leave.  By giving the city multiple identities, through various comparisons, Cicero depicts an overarching circumstance in which there is no place in Rome for Catiline to be, nor should there be any desire for him to stay.
At the end of paragraph 11 Cicero uses an antithesis to directly state his stance on Catiline’s banishment, that it is not ordered, but advised.  This allows him to lead into a plethora of rhetorical questioning in which Cicero’s authority to actually banish Catiline is irrelevant amidst the evident logic that Catiline should be banished anyway, deserved by the hatred all have for him.  This begins with asking Catiline the hypophoric question of what “pleasure” he can now afford in this city, as there is “no one who does not hate you”.
In explicating this hatred for Catiline, Cicero uses the word “city” to include all who inhabit within; for example in the beginning of paragraph 11, employing metonymy through substituting “all Italy” to include “the temples of the immortal gods, the houses of the city, the lives of all the citizens”.  This hyperbolic sentiment of the destruction and devastation of the whole city is carried through the following paragraphs as the most significant rationale for Catiline’s exile.  Cicero makes it to be of the highest importance in paragraph 13, as he continues to illustrate Catiline’s infamy in all areas, domestically and nationally, in which the inside home affairs only add to his corrupt character.  
Catiline’s attempt at endangering Cicero’s life and others of the Senate is equated to endangering the lives of everyone in the city.  With the use of epistrophe, “You execute… you devise nothing that can be kept hid”, Cicero asserts his power and intelligence over Catiline.  He then becomes the protector of all within the city, in so that Catiline should no longer be welcome by the city.  This notion is presented as a simile in paragraph 15 in which Cicero compares his, himself to Catiline, his “house” to the “city”, and his “slaves” to the “fellow citizens” of Rome.  Here the logic of his exile is evident again, as Cicero even places himself in Catiline’s shoes with his claim that he would not want to stay in a city where he is hated by everyone.  His rhetoric is pushing Catiline to actually desire exile.
Further encouraging this desire, Cicero finally likens the city to the comfort of the home and personified as the “parent”.  Such intimate relations solidifies Cicero’s affection and relationship to the city he holds dear, and therefore increases the stakes of Catiline’s presence in further endangering such a personal attachment.  He feminizes Rome as the parent at the end of paragraph 15, in which he personifies the city using the pronouns “she” and “her”, the motherly female figure who Catiline disparages and disrespects.  So now the city, as a home and as a parent, both of which are expected to provide feelings of love and care, “hate and fear” Catiline.  
If the city, in all its different interpretations and presentations, hold nothing but contempt for Catiline, what reason is there for him to stay?  By presenting the people of Rome as various types of collective entities, all pitted against the corruption of Catiline, Cicero is able to formulate that the only clear option for Catiline, is to leave.

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