Pro Sulla §§18–19 demonstrates a tactic of self-depiction unique in Cicero's speeches; the orator represents an internal dialogue in which his natural kindness towards the Catilinarian Autronius is overcome by arguments that his audience can recognize as the prosecutor's stock tactics of emotional amplification prescribed in De Inventione. By ostentatiously persuading himself to sternness with the stock appeals designed to persuade a normative audience, the orator can justify his actions against the Catilinarians while asserting that his essential nature is kind and compassionate. This tactic is both essential for Cicero's persuasive strategy and useful for his broader self-depiction for the reading audience of the speech.

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