8. Why does Caesar excuse
Antony for touching Calpurnia?
might cure her barrenness
Caesar wants an heir.
The feast of Lupercalia calls for a race to be run.
Caesar tells Antony to touch Calpurnia during the
race because it may “shake off their sterile curse.”
Caesar mentions that Calpurnia is “barren” or
sterile, which means she is unable to have
children. This comment shows that Caesar wants
children and also that he is inconsiderate toward
9. How does Antony describe Caesar on line 14?
What does this description show about his
relationship to Caesar?
“When Caesar says do this, it is performed.
Antony is a loyalist to Caesar. Caesar is a
Marc Antony, who is related to Caesar on
his mother’s side, is a staunch supporter of
Caesar during the conflicts with Pompey
and served in Caesar’s army when he was in
10. What does the Soothsayer say
“Beware the ides of March” (famous lines)
How does Caesar react?
Caesar - “He is a dreamer; let us leave him. Pass.”
The ides of March is the 15th; the feast of
Lupercal is supposedly celebrated on February
15th, and Caesar’s victory actually occurred in
October, so history is a bit off here.
11. How does Brutus describe
“. . . poor Brutus, with himself at war,”
suspects and respects Caesar
12. How does Brutus say the eye
“the eye sees not itself/ But by reflection, by
some other things.”
13. How does Cassius describe
“Your hidden worthiness into your eye.”
Cassius is flattering Brutus, in order to win
Brutus into his conspiracy.
art of persuasive speaking on the part of the
politics and intrigue
14. How does Cassius describe
“I, your glass,”
establishes Cassius as a literary foil for
Brutus and vice versa
also rhetorical strategy
15. What does Brutus fear?
fears the people choose Caesar as their king
Caesar historically did do much good for Rome.
much needed reforms in the Roman senate
instituted the first public library
improved the system of taxation
laws passed that would strengthen the moral fabric of
16. What is Brutus’s major
Brutus is also suspicious of Caesar, but he is
loyal to him.
a lieutenant in Caesar’s army and served
might have actually been Caesar’s
17. What does Brutus love more
than he fears death?
“The name of honor more than I fear
Brutus is an honorable man.
subscribed to philosophy known as Stoicism
Virtue, being the attainment of valor, moral
excellence and righteousness is the only key
to a happy life; vice is evil and leads to an
18. Summarize the anecdote that
Cassius tells Brutus.
Cassius saved Caesar from drowning.
underscores Cassius’s relationship with Caesar as
formerly father/son, Cassius’s strength, and
Caesar’s physical ailments, which metaphorically
represent the sickness in the state of Rome
allusion to the Aeneid (Roman epic)
Caesar is actually just as weak and as mortal as
anyone else; although, he has grandiose notions of
19. How does Cassius describe
“Why man, he doth bestride the narrow
world/Like a colossus . . .”
Caesar’s power is unwieldy.
The senators are powerless.
rhetorical strategy (simile)
use of persuasive speaking
20. Why is Cassius flattering
He wants Brutus to join the conspiracy.
He is a rhetorician, like the other politicians
in Julius Caesar.
21. How does Caesar describe the kind of
senators he wants to work with him?
“Let me have men about me that are fat.”
satisfaction for food compared to
satisfaction for power
wants satiated men
22. What was offered to Caesar
Caesar refused the crown all three times.
Show of humility
The crowd so cheered Caesar’s refusal of the crown that he
had no choice but to continue to refuse the laurel wreath on
three separate occasions.
In Casca’s view, Caesar desperately wanted to accept the
crown, and his refusal was an act for the adoring crowd
23. How does Casca describe
“It was Greek to me.”
24. How does Cassius describe
“Caesar’s ambition shall be glanced at.”
Caesar’s tragic flaw
planning the conspiracy
25. What does Cassius vow?
“For we will shake him, or worse days
will assassinate Caesar
intense, rapid unfolding of events
26. What is the weather like?
storm, unlike any other ever seen, is raging
literally and figuratively
creates a suspenseful, somber mood
27/28. What strange natural
phenomena does Casca describe?
a. Fire drops from the skies.
b. slave not scorched by fire
c. lion friendly; roams the capitol
d. ghostly women walk the streets;
supposedly saw men walking in fire
e. night owl shrieking in the daylight
DISRUPTIONS IN NATURE
29. What does Cassius say he has
“an enterprise of honorable-dangerous
still trying to convince Brutus
30. What does Cinna ask Cassius
“win the noble Brutus to our party”
Cinna, the conspirator not Cinna, the poet
Cassius, having forged several letters meant to influence Brutus’s decision to join the
conspiracy, instructs Cinna to place the letters where Brutus will be sure to find them.
Cinna exits to leave the letters in Brutus’s office, to place on on the statue of Brutus’s
ancestor and throw others in Brutus’s window. Just as the conspirators plan to destroy
their friend Caesar, they plot against their friend Brutus as well. Using dishonest means
to persuade Brutus to join in the group shows a blatant disregard for the true meaning of
friendship. Brutus is not being wooed to join the conspiracy because of a sense of
brotherhood coming from these other men. He is being used because the common
people see him as “noble.” His presence in the conspiracy will make the vile and
immoral act of murder appear to be an acceptable deed teeming with “virtue” and
Good people (heroes) who fall due to error
change in the hero’s fortune from happiness
to misery due to some great error on his part
lots of hints at the conflict
Flavius and Marullus vs. Cobbler and
points out difference between officials’ and
commoners’ views of Caesar
points out officials’ concerns about
points out gullibility of the crowd
Anaphora (The deliberate repetition of a word or phrase at
the beginning of several successive verses, clauses, or
paragraphs; for example, “We shall fight on the beaches,
we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the
fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills”
(Winston S. Churchill).
Act I, scene i, lines 51-53
“And do you now . . .”
repetition for emphasis
lots of persuasive speaking
Cobbler - mender of bad soles
comic relief built in at the beginning
shows up the difference between
commoners’/officials’ feelings about Caesar
begins w/comedy - ends w/tragedy
historical allusion - The Feast of Lupercal
ancient fertility celebration honoring the
literary allusion - The Aeneid (ancient
Historical Background (in brief)
Over the course of a decade, Caesar subdued great portions of Gaul, built roads, captured a million
prisoners, and took vast amounts of the region’s wealth. Caesar’s enormous success did little to
appease his enemies, who waited for him to leave his command in Gaul before launching the
customary prosecutions for corruption. Caesar would not relinquish his armies until he was given
immunity, but in the Senate Cato opposed any compromise. Pompey was the other possible military
leader who could oppose Caesar, so Cato and the Senate relied on him for support and naively
expected Italy to rise up against Caesar. Caesar felt that the optimates in the Senate intended to
humiliate him and that he had to fight to preserve his honor. In January of 49 bc, Caesar marched his
army across the Rubicon River, the boundary between his Gallic province and Italy. With the words
“The die is cast,” he began a civil war.
Pompey withdrew his troops to Greece; Caesar pursued and soon defeated them. Pompey fled to
Egypt where he was murdered, and Cato went to Africa, where he lost another battle before
committing suicide. In death as in life, Cato haunted Caesar. Cato was honored by sentimental
supporters of the republic as “the last of the Romans.” With hindsight, he seems more clearly a man
who helped to bring about the destruction of the republic he professed to hold so dear.