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Julius Caesar Reading Guide

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					                       Julius Caesar Reading Guide

Act I, Scene i

Setting the Stage
William Shakespeare used Roman history as the source for Julius Caesar. The Roman
empire lasted over 500 years, but Shakespeare chose to focus on events that occurred
from 44 B.C. to 42 B.C. (Caesar had total power from 46 B.C. to 44 B.C.)
        First Caesar shared the rule of Rome with two others: Gnaeus Pompey and
Marcus Crassus. But this triumvirate (rule by three) was weakened when Pompey and
Caesar quarreled. Then Pompey was murdered by a former officer in his army, and
Crassus died in battle. So Caesar ruled alone – and that’s the way he wanted it.
        The common people saw Caesar as a great warrior and strong ruler. Some of the
senators, however, feared that he would become too powerful and rule like a king.
        Caesar had won battles in Greece, Asia Minor, Africa, Egypt, Spain and Gaul
(France). His final victory was over Pompey’s two sons. Shakespeare begins his play in
44 B.C., when Caesar returned to Rome as a great hero.
        In Scene i, watch Flavius and Murellus, two tribunes. It is their duty to speak in
the Senate for the common people. However, you might not guess that from the way they
treat the citizens.

The play begins February 15 on a street in Rome. The common people are celebrating
Caesar’s victories.

1.     Give two reasons why Flavius scolds the citizens.
       a. ________________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________
       b. ________________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________

2.     List 2 words or phrases Murellus uses to describe the crowd of working people.
       a. ______________________________ b. ______________________________

3.     Murellus reminds the crowd that not long ago they had cheered ______________
       _______________. Now they cheer _____________________, who defeated
       Pompey’s sons.

4.     What does Flavius suggest that he and Murellus do to stop the celebration?
       a. ________________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________
       b. ________________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________




Ms. Van Den Bussche                         1                                   ELF 40S
5.     Flavius uses a comparison to explain what must be done about Caesar. He says,
       “If we can pluck these growing feathers out of Caesar’s wing, we can force him to
       fly lower.”
       a. What are Caesar’s “feathers”? _______________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________
       b. What do you think Flavius wants to do about Caesar? ____________________
       __________________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________

6.     There are conflicting views of Caesar in Scene i. The common people see him as
       a ______________. But Murellus and Flavius consider Caesar a _____________.


Act I, Scene ii

Setting the Stage
In Scene ii, we learn that Rome has not always been a republic. (A republic is a type of
government where people are elected to represent voters.) Until 509 B.C., Rome was
ruled by a king. In fact, Brutus’ ancestors helped defeat the last king and set up the new
government.
       The Roman Republic was meant to give more power to the voters (upper-class
males). The government was to be ruled by two consuls, and senators were elected from
the upper class (aristocrats). These men were to be powerful advisors to the consuls.
       However, after his military conquests, Caesar became the only ruler of Rome.
This made many senators uneasy. They feared Caesar would take away their wealth and
power. They even believed Rome might return to rule by a king.
       This is the situation in Scene ii. The common people love Caesar, but some
senators and tribunes would like to end his rule. Under these circumstances, Caesar
cannot be sure who his friends are.

Scene ii again opens on a Roman street. We meet several important characters: Julius
Caesar; his wife, Calphurnia; Mark Antony; Cassius; and Brutus. They have gathered for
the Lupercal festivities.

1.     The Fortune-Teller warns Caesar to “beware the ides of March.”
       a. What do you think this means? ______________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________
       b. How does Caesar react to the warning? ________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________

2.     What reasons does Brutus give for being harsh and distant lately? _____________
       __________________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________




Ms. Van Den Bussche                          2                                   ELF 40S
3.     Cassius tells Brutus that many men wish that “noble Brutus had eyes in his head.”
       What does Cassius insist that Brutus cannot see? __________________________
       __________________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________

4.     What does Brutus fear when he hears the crowd shouting? __________________
       __________________________________________________________________

5.     Cassius says, “What a shame for this age we live in!” What does he mean by this?
       __________________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________

6.     Caesar is suspicious of Cassius. List 4 qualities in Cassius that Caesar does not
       like. a. ___________________________ b. ___________________________
             c. ___________________________ d. ___________________________

7.     Casca believes that Caesar’s behavior in the arena is a set-up to fool the people.
       Complete the sentences below that describe Caesar’s actions when he is offered
       the crown.
       First, Caesar __________________ the crown _____________ times. Caesar
       offers to let the crowd _______________________________. Then he falls to the
       ground. During this time, the crowd ________________ and ________________
       him as they do for ___________________________________________.

8.     How does Cassius plan to get Brutus to join the plot against Caesar?
       __________________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________


Act I, Scene iii

Setting the Stage
As Scene iii opens, Casca says that he’s never seen such fierce thunder and lightening.
Casca suggests that humans may have made the gods so angry that the gods will destroy
the earth.
        In Roman times, people were haunted by the fear that the gods might destroy
humankind. (Romans worshipped more than one god.) They believed storms, disasters,
and unnatural events signaled the gods’ anger.
        Christians in the Elizabethan Age held somewhat similar beliefs. They thought
God had created a world with perfect harmony between humans, animals, and nature, and
that humans could upset this delicate balance. For instance, if a ruler were murdered, God
might show his anger through fearful storms.




Ms. Van Den Bussche                         3                                    ELF 40S
        In Scene iii, notice the events that might warn Elizabethans that Rome is “a nation
that has become monstrous.”

This scene begins the night before the ides of March. A month has passed since the end
of Scene ii. Cicero (a senator and friend of Caesar) and Casca discuss the unnatural
events of the stormy night.

1.     Note 4 unusual happenings that Casca observed.
       a. ________________________________________________________________
       b. ________________________________________________________________
       c. ________________________________________________________________
       d. ________________________________________________________________

2.     According to Cassius, what is the real cause of these unnatural events?
       __________________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________

3.     What does Cassius threaten to do if Caesar is made king? ___________________
       __________________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________

4.     Cassius complains that Caesar would not be a ____________ or a ____________
       if Romans did not act like _____________ or _____________. What do you think
       Cassius means by this? _______________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________

5.     Explain why Casca wants Brutus to join the conspiracy. ____________________
       __________________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________


End of Act Questions

1.     Read Cassius’ description of Caesar.
       a. What does Cassius’ speech tell you about his character?
       __________________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________
       b. What does Cassius’ speech tell you about Caesar’s character?
       __________________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________

2.     In Scene ii, Casca says that after being offered the crown, Caesar “fainted and fell
       down on the ground.”
       a. Do you think that Caesar really fainted? Why or why not?
       __________________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________



Ms. Van Den Bussche                         4                                    ELF 40S
     b. If Caesar’s fainting was an act, what does this say about his character?
     __________________________________________________________________
     __________________________________________________________________

3.   One literary device Shakespeare uses is foreshadowing. This means that the
     author gives hints about future events in the play. (Remember the Fortune-Tellers
     words, for example.)
     a. Find an example of foreshadowing in Act I.
     __________________________________________________________________
     __________________________________________________________________
     b. What do you think it means?
     __________________________________________________________________
     __________________________________________________________________
     c. What is your opinion of the use of foreshadowing? Does it add to or get in the
     way of your understanding or enjoyment of the story? Explain.
     __________________________________________________________________
     __________________________________________________________________
     __________________________________________________________________
     __________________________________________________________________




Ms. Van Den Bussche                      5                                  ELF 40S
                       Julius Caesar Reading Guide

Act II, Scene i

Setting the Stage
In Scene i, Portia is worried about Brutus’ strange behavior. She has noticed her
husband’s bad humor and ill temper for several days.
       “Humour” had another meaning to Elizabethans. They believed that there were
“humour,” or body fluids, that controlled a person’s physical and emotional health. The
body fluids were supposedly blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile. In healthy
person, these fluids were properly balanced, but when they weren’t balanced, a person
grew sick or moody. For example, too much yellow bile was thought to cause a bad
temper.

This scene begins a few hours before daybreak on March 15. Brutus is walking home
alone in his orchard. Thoughts about the conspiracy have disturbed his sleep for several
weeks.

1.     In a soliloquy (a speech to himself), Brutus states his doubts. Which of the
       following does Brutus consider good reasons for killing Caesar? You may circle
       more than one answer.
       a. Caesar had once wronged Antony.
       b. Caesar is too emotional and flighty.
       c. Caesar’s power may make him a dishonest ruler.
       d. Caesar will become king.


2.     What is written in the letters that Lucius finds on Brutus’ bed? _______________
       __________________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________

3.     What reason does Brutus give for not swearing an oath of secrecy? ____________
       __________________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________

4.     Cicero, an old and honoured man, was once Rome’s greatest orator (public
       speaker). Why does Brutus object to including Cicero in the conspiracy?
       __________________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________

5.     Cassius suggests that Antony should also be killed. Why does Brutus oppose this
       idea? _____________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________



Ms. Van Den Bussche                         6                                   ELF 40S
6.      How will Decius persuade Caesar to go to the Capitol? _____________________
        __________________________________________________________________
        __________________________________________________________________

7.      When Portia asks Brutus what has been bothering him lately, what is his reply?
        __________________________________________________________________
        __________________________________________________________________

        Does Portia believe him? Explain. ______________________________________
        __________________________________________________________________
        __________________________________________________________________


Act II, Scenes ii-iii

Setting the Stage
Ancient Romans looked for signs in the natural world to predict their fate. For example,
thunderstorms were supposed to reveal the gods’ anger. Dreams and horoscopes were
studied to predict the future. Even the flight of birds, the internal organs of animals, and
the movement of snakes supposedly had meaning.
        People who interpreted these signs were called fortune-tellers or augers.
Government officials often consulted augurs. Caesar asked as many as sixteen augurs for
advice on a problem.
        Many Elizabethans – including royalty – also believed in signs, omens, and
astrology. (Astrology is fortune-telling based on the stars.) For example, an astrologer is
said to have picked a good day for Elizabeth to be crowned.
        In Scene ii, Caesar asks the augurs if he should go to the Capitol. Notice what
their answers predict about Caesar’s fate.
Caesar is at home deciding whether he should go to the Capitol. He struggles with his
fears and superstitions.

1.      Several strange events from the night before frightened Calphurnia. List 4 of them
        below.
        a. ________________________________________________________________
        b. ________________________________________________________________
        c. ________________________________________________________________
        d. ________________________________________________________________

2.      What reason does Caesar give for not being afraid of death? _________________
        __________________________________________________________________

3.      Why do the fortune-tellers advise Caesar to stay at home? ___________________
        __________________________________________________________________
        __________________________________________________________________

4.      What message does Caesar tell Decius to give the senators? _________________



Ms. Van Den Bussche                          7                                    ELF 40S
       __________________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________

5.     According to Decius, what is the real meaning of Calphurnia’s dream? _________
       __________________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________

In Scene iii, Artemidorus reads a letter he has written to Caesar.

6.     List the 8 people Artemidorus names as conspirators. ______________________
       __________________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________

7.     How does Artemidorus hope to deliver his message to Caesar? _______________
       __________________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________


Act II, Scene iv

Setting the Stage
In ancient Rome, upper-class males usually married for wealth or political power rather
than love, and when a wife was no longer useful to her husband’s career, he might
divorce her and look for a new mate.
        Nearly every upper-class Roman in Caesar’s time was married more than once.
Historians say that Julius Caesar married four times. Plus, he had affairs with several
other women, including the wives of Pompey and Crassus. In real life, both Brutus and
Portia had been married to others before they became husband and wife.
        You’ll note, however, that the married couples in the play show great devotion to
each other. This is probably because Shakespeare was more concerned with portraying
interesting characters than historical facts.

This scene opens outside Brutus’ home after he has left for the Capitol. Portia is frantic
with worry. She asks Lucius and the Fortune-Teller for news of events at the Capitol.

1.     Write Portia’s words below that show Brutus has told her his secrets. __________
       __________________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________

2.     What information does Portia ask Lucius to bring from the Capitol? ___________
       __________________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________

3.     What does Portia blame for her weakness? _______________________________
       __________________________________________________________________




Ms. Van Den Bussche                          8                                    ELF 40S
End of Act Questions

1.    In Act II, Brutus decides to join the conspiracy.
      a. Is Brutus happy about his decision? ___________________________________
      __________________________________________________________________
      b. What do you think might be the results of this decision? __________________
      __________________________________________________________________
      c. Do you think he made the right decision? Explain. _______________________
      __________________________________________________________________

2.    Do you see any flaws or weaknesses in the conspirators’ plans? Have they
      overlooked or underestimated anything? Also, what – if any – are the strengths of
      their plans? Explain your opinions.
      __________________________________________________________________
      __________________________________________________________________
      __________________________________________________________________
      __________________________________________________________________
      __________________________________________________________________


3.    Why do you suppose Brutus first refuses to tell Portia about the conspiracy?
      __________________________________________________________________
      __________________________________________________________________
      __________________________________________________________________



      What might cause him to change his mind and confide in her?
      __________________________________________________________________
      __________________________________________________________________
      __________________________________________________________________

4.    Caesar says, “Cowards die many times before their deaths; valiant men only taste
      death once”. Explain what you think this famous line means. Then discuss the
      truth of the statement.
      __________________________________________________________________
      __________________________________________________________________
      __________________________________________________________________
      __________________________________________________________________
      __________________________________________________________________
      __________________________________________________________________




Ms. Van Den Bussche                       9                                  ELF 40S
5.   Many people warn Caesar against going to the Capitol on March 15. What do you
     think is the main reason Caesar decides to go despite all the warnings? Use
     evidence from Acts I and II to support your response.
     __________________________________________________________________
     __________________________________________________________________
     __________________________________________________________________
     __________________________________________________________________
     __________________________________________________________________
     __________________________________________________________________
     __________________________________________________________________
     __________________________________________________________________




Ms. Van Den Bussche                   10                                ELF 40S
                      Julius Caesar Reading Guide

Act III, Scene i

Setting the Stage
What was the real Caesar like? Was he a popular leader?
        The common people of Rome respected Caesar for improving their lives. For
example, Caesar’s military victories brought great wealth to Rome. Caesar also had roads
and bridges built to make traveling easier. In addition, under his direction, the Senate
passed laws that kept the upper class from taking advantage of the common people. He
even revised the Roman calendar to match the seasons.
        Caesar’s actions, however, didn’t please everyone. Many aristocrats were angered
by Caesar’s reforms. They most resented the laws that took away some of their wealth
and power. Many senators were worried because Caesar acted like a king. He wore
purple robes and had his image put on coins. He even placed a statue of himself next to
the statutes of Rome’s former kings.

Scene i opens in front of the Capitol on the ides of March. Caesar is surrounded by
several senators.
1.      Caesar receives two warnings as he walks to the Capitol. Identify who warns
        Caesar, and summarize what each person says.
        a. Person: __________________________
          Warning: _______________________________________________________
        __________________________________________________________________
        b. Person: __________________________
           Warning: _______________________________________________________
        __________________________________________________________________

2.     What does Caesar’s refusal to pardon Metellus’ brother show you about Caesar?
       __________________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________

3.     Write Caesar’s dying words on the following lines. ________________________
       __________________________________________________________________

4.     Brutus thinks the conspirators did Caesar a favour by killing Caesar because
       __________________________________________________________________

5.     Brutus and Cassius disagree about explaining their actions to Antony. Summarize
       their positions on telling Antony why they killed Caesar.
       Brutus: ___________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________
       Cassius: __________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________



Ms. Van Den Bussche                       11                                  ELF 40S
6.      Antony makes 3 requests of Brutus and Cassius. List his requests below.
        a. ________________________________________________________________
        __________________________________________________________________
        b. ________________________________________________________________
        __________________________________________________________________
        c. ________________________________________________________________
        __________________________________________________________________

7.      Antony warns that Caesar’s murder will cause terrible events to happen. List 3 of
        his warnings below.
        a. ________________________________________________________________
        b. ________________________________________________________________
        c. ________________________________________________________________

8.      How does Antony plan to discover the people’s reaction to Caesar’s death?
        __________________________________________________________________
        __________________________________________________________________



Act III, Scenes ii-iii

Setting the Stage
During Caesar’s time, it was customary to honour an aristocrat at death by carrying the
body to the Forum. There people would gather, and a relative or friend delivered a
eulogy. (A eulogy is a speech praising a dead person.)
        In real life, Caesar’s funeral began with speeches by Brutus, Cassius, and Antony.
(There is no real record of their actual words.) After these speeches, the people burned
Caesar’s body. People in the crowd threw their personal belongings into the fire as an
offering. Afterward, the common people were so upset by Caesar’s murder that three
days of rioting followed.
        In Scene ii, both Brutus and Antony deliver speeches in honour of Caesar.

Following Caesar’s death, the angry citizens demand an explanation from the murderers.
In Scene ii, Brutus and Cassius prepare to talk to the crowd.

1.      What reason does Brutus give the crowd for killing Caesar? _________________
        __________________________________________________________________

2.      After listening to Brutus’ speech, the crowd wants to _______________________
        __________________________________________________________________

3.      Antony names 3 of Caesar’s actions that prove Caesar wasn’t ambitious. List
        these 3 actions below.
        a. ________________________________________________________________
        b. ________________________________________________________________



Ms. Van Den Bussche                        12                                   ELF 40S
       c. ________________________________________________________________

4.     After listening to Antony, the crowd calls the conspirators __________________,
       _____________________, and _____________________.

5.     In his will, Caesar leaves each citizen ___________________. Plus to all of
       Rome, he leaves ___________________________________________________.

6.     Antony’s servant brings news that Octavius is ____________________________
       _______________________________________ and that Brutus and Cassius have
       _________________________________________________________________.

In Scene iii, Cinna the poet is on his way to Caesar’s funeral, but he is stopped by a group
of angry citizens.

7.     The mob attacks Cinna simply because of his name. What does this tell you about
       the mob? __________________________________________________________



End of Act Questions

1.     Caesar’s last words are “And thou also, Brutus? Then it is time for Caesar to fall.”
       a. What do Caesar’s words mean? ______________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________
       b. Why do you think Caesar reacts this way when he sees Brutus with the
       murderers? ________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________

2.     Antony’s speech turns the crowd against the conspirators, but what might have
       happened if Brutus and Cassius had refused to let Antony speak to the crowd?
       Think about some possible outcomes.
       __________________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________

3.     Cinna the poet is murdered on the street by the mob even though he is not Lucius
       Cornelius Cinna, the conspirator. Do you think a single citizen would have
       attacked Cinna? Why or why not?
       __________________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________

4.     In his funeral oration, Antony uses irony (saying the opposite of what he means)
       to sway the crowd. For example, he calls Brutus an “honourable man” several
       times when he means just the opposite. Find 3 other examples of irony in
       Antony’s speech.



Ms. Van Den Bussche                         13                                    ELF 40S
     a. ________________________________________________________________
     b. ________________________________________________________________
     c. ________________________________________________________________

5.   a. After Caesar’s murder, what kind of leader does Rome most desperately need?
     __________________________________________________________________
     b. What kind of leader is Rome most likely to get?
     __________________________________________________________________
     c. Which of the two funeral orators – Brutus or Antony – is the better leader in
     your view? Explain your opinions.
     __________________________________________________________________
     __________________________________________________________________
     __________________________________________________________________




Ms. Van Den Bussche                     14                                 ELF 40S
                        Julius Caesar Reading Guide
Act IV, Scene i

Setting the Stage
In Scene I, Antony and Octavius are making plans to fight the conspirators. The two men,
however, don’t see eye to eye.
         This was also true for the real Antony and Octavius. In fact, Octavius organized
his own army to oppose Antony after Caesar’s death, but the Senate backed Antony, so
Octavius joined him. Then Antony, Octavius, and Lepidus (Caesar’s former lieutenant)
formed the Second Triumvirate. Their rule was one of the most evil and violent periods in
Roman history.
         To get rid of their enemies and add to the treasury, the three new leaders made a
list of people to be killed. These unlucky people were called proscribed. A proscribed
person’s property belonged to the state. Anyone could kill a proscribed person. In fact, a
reward was offered for the head of a condemned man or woman. (Cicero’s head was
actually hung in the Forum.)
         Among those executed during this period were over 300 senators and 2,000
businessmen. Even children who might inherit money were killed.

As Scene i opens, Antony, Octavius, and Lepidus are meeting. They are busily making a
list of personal enemies and people they think are becoming too powerful.

1.     Which relatives of the three leaders are among the proscribed people?
       __________________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________

2.     How does Antony want to change Caesar’s will and why? ___________________
       __________________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________

3.     Antony and Octavius have different opinions of Lepidus. Summarize their views.
       Antony: __________________________________________________________
       Octavius: _________________________________________________________

4.     What does Octavius mean when he says, “we are chained to the stake”?
       __________________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________


Act IV, Scenes ii-iii

Setting the Stage
Paying for war was always a problem for Roman generals. All kinds of underhanded
methods were used to support Rome’s wars. To get needed funds, Roman troops often


Ms. Van Den Bussche                        15                                   ELF 40S
stole from people they defeated or sold captives to slavery. Money might also be raised
by selling high-ranking army positions to ambitious, rich men.
        The real Julius Caesar was a master at raising money for war campaigns. At his
own expense, he formed and supplied four extra legions to help him conquer Gaul. Later,
to protect his conquest, Caesar captured several cities in Gaul. Then he killed their
citizens and stole from their treasuries. The money he gained this way went to his
soldiers’ salaries and the purchase of supplies.
        In Scenes ii and iii, Brutus and Cassius have several disagreements. One
disagreement is over getting money for their war with Antony and Octavius.

Several months have passed since the Second Triumvirate came to power. In his camp at
Sardis, Brutus waits for Cassius to arrive.

1.     Brutus refers to Cassius as a “warm friend cooling.” What does Brutus mean?
       __________________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________

2.     Why do Cassius and Brutus go inside Brutus’ tent to talk? _________________
       __________________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________

As Scene iii opens, Brutus and Cassius face each other inside Brutus’ tent.

3.     Cassius says Brutus has wronged him by ________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________

4.     Of what does Brutus accuse Cassius? ___________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________

5.     Cassius says he is “weary of living.” What does he ask Brutus to do?
       __________________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________

6.     How do Brutus and Cassius react to the news of Portia’s death?
       Brutus: ___________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________
       Cassius: __________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________

7.     Brutus wants to march to Philippi to attack Antony and Octavius, but Cassius
       believes that the journey would tire the soldiers and use up their supplies. Circle 3
       arguments that Brutus uses to persuade Cassius.
       a. The people of Sardis will not help the armies of Brutus and Cassius.
       b. Antony and Octavius will use the people of Sardis to strengthen their troops.



Ms. Van Den Bussche                         16                                    ELF 40S
      c. Antony and Octavius are afraid to fight, so they will not come to Sardis.
      d. Cassius and Brutus should take action now before the enemy increases its
      ranks.
      e. Cassius and Brutus would lose many soldiers on the journey to Philippi.

8.     What message does the ghost of Caesar give Brutus? _______________________
       __________________________________________________________________
End of Act Questions

1.    How has Antony changed since he delivered the funeral oration? How are his
      actions, words, and goals different? Look for specific examples in Act IV to back
      up your views.
      __________________________________________________________________
      __________________________________________________________________
      __________________________________________________________________
      __________________________________________________________________
      __________________________________________________________________
      __________________________________________________________________
      __________________________________________________________________

2.    What do Cassius’ and Brutus’ reactions to Portia’s death reveal about each man?
      Does each man’s reaction seem consistent with his character? Why or why not?
      __________________________________________________________________
      __________________________________________________________________
      __________________________________________________________________
      __________________________________________________________________
      __________________________________________________________________
      __________________________________________________________________
      __________________________________________________________________

3.    Why might Shakespeare have included the ghost of Caesar in Scene iii? What are
      some effects of the ghost’s appearance? Do you think the ghost is meant to be real
      or is it just a product of Brutus’ imagination? Do you think Shakespeare meant to
      leave the reader in doubt? Explain your answer.
      __________________________________________________________________
      __________________________________________________________________
      __________________________________________________________________
      __________________________________________________________________
      __________________________________________________________________
      __________________________________________________________________
      __________________________________________________________________




Ms. Van Den Bussche                       17                                  ELF 40S
                        Julius Caesar Reading Guide
Act V, Scene i

Setting the Stage
The Roman legions were one of the best organized and trained fighting forces in history.
        The legions contained two types of troops: foot soldiers and cavalry (or
horsemen). There were between 4,000 and 6,000 men in a legion, and legions were
divided into smaller units (centuries) of 100 men.
        Roman troops were made up of professional soldiers and drafted men. Foreigners
and commoners were as quickly welcomed to the ranks as citizens and nobles.
        Discipline was tough in the legions. Soldiers took an oath to obey – even if doing
so meant death. And death could come on or off the field. Sometimes to punish troops,
commanders would decimate them. This meant that one of every ten soldiers was
executed – at random.
        Battles were tough too. Roman wars were fought with bows and arrows, swords,
spears, and catapults. Since these weapons had a short range, rival armies often camped
near one another. Often a soldier could hear foes sharpening swords and repairing
shields. Soldiers even knew when their rivals went to sleep.
        Tactics were just as important to Romans as courage. One tactic was to call a
parley – or meeting – with opponents. At that meeting, generals would discuss the
coming battle and try to size each other up.
        In Scene i, just such a parley is about to take place at Philippi in October 42 B.C.

As Scene i, opens Antony and Octavius meet Brutus and Cassius to discuss the upcoming
battle.

1.     How does Antony know what Brutus and Cassius are planning?
       _________________________________________________________________

2.     What does Antony say is the conspirators’ reason for challenging him and
       Octavius at Philippi? ________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________

3.     List 2 signs that show Antony and Octavius are not getting along.
       a. ________________________________________________________________
       b. ________________________________________________________________

4.     What does Cassius mean when he says, “Now Brutus, you have only yourself to
       thank”? ___________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________

5.     Octavius draws his sword against the conspirators and vows not to sheathe again
       until _____________________________________________________________

6.     What sign makes Cassius fear the coming battle? __________________________


Ms. Van Den Bussche                          18                                    ELF 40S
       __________________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________

7.     What do Cassius and Brutus agree to do if they lose the battle and why?
       __________________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________




Act V, Scenes ii-iii

Setting the Stage
During Caesar’s time, most Romans did not believe in any kind of life after death.
Therefore, they thought pleasure, wealth, and power in this world were all-important.
        Romans sometimes welcomed death because it ended all their troubles. In the face
of dishonour, it was even considered noble to commit suicide.
        This attitude may help explain Portia’s suicide. In fact, she may have been
imitating her father, Cato. Cato was a Roman political leader and an opponent of
dictators, so he fought on the side of Pompey against Caesar.
        When Cato realized that Caesar was certain to win, he decided to commit suicide.
Cato’s friend tried to stop him, but he stabbed himself. A doctor arrived in time to sew up
his wounds, but when left alone, Cato tore out the stitches, pulled out his intestines, and
died.

In Scene ii, Brutus sends Messala to order the troops to attack the enemy.

1.     Why does Brutus order an attack at this time? ____________________________
       __________________________________________________________________
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Scene iii opens on another part of the battlefield. Cassius and Titinius are discussing their
position.

2.     Cassius says, “I have become the enemy of my own soldiers.” What does he
       mean? ____________________________________________________________

3.     Why does Cassius sent Titinius to the battlefield? _________________________
       __________________________________________________________________

4.     What does Cassius believe happened to Titinius? __________________________
       __________________________________________________________________

5.     How does Pindarus, a prisoner, earn his freedom? _________________________
       __________________________________________________________________



Ms. Van Den Bussche                          19                                    ELF 40S
6.     According to Titinius, what caused Cassius’ death? ________________________
       __________________________________________________________________

7.     Why does Titinius take his own life? ____________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________

8.     Why does Brutus refer to Cassius and Titinius as “the last of all the Romans”?
       __________________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________
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Act V, Scenes iv-v

Setting the Stage
In the final scenes, Brutus faces almost certain defeat. Thoughts of being paraded through
the streets of Rome as a defeated enemy terrify him.
         In reality, Roman generals were allowed victory parades only after they had killed
at least 5,000 of the enemy, and the victims had to be foreigners, not Romans.
         To honour such a general, a procession led by trumpeters would enter Rome
through the triumphal arch. First came the floats. Then followed wagons filled with
captured gold, silver, and artwork. Next the captured enemy leaders were paraded past
the crowd. Finally came the victorious general and his troops.
         When the parade reached the Capitol, the general made an animal sacrifice. He
often ordered the enemy leaders slain, as well. Enemy soldiers were sometimes given to
Roman legionnaires as slaves.

As Scene iv opens, Brutus is shouting encouragement to his troops.

1.     Circle the reason Lucilius pretends to be Brutus.
       a. to steal the honour of victory from Brutus.
       b. to give Brutus a chance to recover from the battle.
       c. to take for himself any punishment which would be given to Brutus.

2.     How does Antony order that his captive Lucilius should be treated and why?
       __________________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________

In this final scene, a disheartened Brutus makes an unusual request of his friends.

3.     What does Brutus ask Clitus, Dardanius, and Volumnius to do? How do they
       respond? __________________________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________

4.     How does Brutus die? _______________________________________________
       __________________________________________________________________




Ms. Van Den Bussche                         20                                    ELF 40S
5.    What are Brutus’ dying words? ________________________________________
      __________________________________________________________________

6.    Why does Octavius invite all ob Brutus’ soldiers to join his own men?
      __________________________________________________________________
      __________________________________________________________________

7.    In what way does Antony honour Brutus? ________________________________
      __________________________________________________________________


8.    How does Octavius show respect for Brutus? _____________________________
      __________________________________________________________________


End of Act Questions

1.    How has the relationship between Brutus and Cassius changed since the
      beginning of the play? What are some possible causes for this change?
      __________________________________________________________________
      __________________________________________________________________
      __________________________________________________________________
      __________________________________________________________________
      __________________________________________________________________
      __________________________________________________________________
      __________________________________________________________________
      __________________________________________________________________

2.    Julius Caesar is a tragedy. This type of drama features a tragic hero – a man or
      woman who is destroyed by personal weaknesses and poor decisions. At the end
      of the tragedy, the hero recognizes his or her mistakes and accepts the blame for
      the results. By doing so, the hero regains some nobility.
      First explain Brutus’ major character flaw or personal weakness that causes his
      downfall. Then identify several errors in judgment that Brutus makes. Which
      error would you call his “fatal” one, or the one that leads to his downfall and
      death?
      __________________________________________________________________
      __________________________________________________________________
      __________________________________________________________________
      __________________________________________________________________
      __________________________________________________________________
      __________________________________________________________________
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Ms. Van Den Bussche                      21                                  ELF 40S
3.   How does Caesar continue to influence the character in the play even after his
     death? Whom does he seem to influence most deeply? Give evidence for your
     views.
     __________________________________________________________________
     __________________________________________________________________
     __________________________________________________________________
     __________________________________________________________________
     __________________________________________________________________
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     __________________________________________________________________
     __________________________________________________________________

4.   Although Julius Caesar dies in Act III, Shakespeare titled his play Julius Caesar.
     Why do you think the playwright chose Caesar’s name for his drama?
     Read the following statements and pick the one you most strongly agree with.
     Defend your argument with examples from the text.
     a. Shakespeare’s title is good. Julius Caesar is a main character in his play.
     b. The title Julius Caesar is a weak one. A better title could be found for this play.
     (Suggest a title, and give reasons for your choice.)
     __________________________________________________________________
     __________________________________________________________________
     __________________________________________________________________
     __________________________________________________________________
     __________________________________________________________________
     __________________________________________________________________
     __________________________________________________________________
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Ms. Van Den Bussche                       22                                    ELF 40S

				
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