Julius Caesar Act I 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 his wife. 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 dictator. 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 Gaul. 10. What does the Soothsayer say to Caesar? “Beware the ides of March” (famous lines) foreshadowing How does Caesar react? Caesar - “He is a dreamer; let us leave him. Pass.” (I.ii.28) 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 himself? “. . . poor Brutus, with himself at war,” inner conflict suspects and respects Caesar honorable man 12. How does Brutus say the eye sees itself? “the eye sees not itself/ But by reflection, by some other things.” literary foil Brutus/Cassius 13. How does Cassius describe Brutus? “Your hidden worthiness into your eye.” Cassius is flattering Brutus, in order to win Brutus into his conspiracy. notice rhetoric art of persuasive speaking on the part of the main characters politics and intrigue 14. How does Cassius describe himself? “I, your glass,” establishes Cassius as a literary foil for Brutus and vice versa also rhetorical strategy flattering Brutus 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 rebuilt cities laws passed that would strengthen the moral fabric of society TRAGIC HERO Oedipus 16. What is Brutus’s major conflict? Brutus is also suspicious of Caesar, but he is loyal to him. a lieutenant in Caesar’s army and served him loyally might have actually been Caesar’s illegitimate son 17. What does Brutus love more than he fears death? “The name of honor more than I fear death.” 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 unhappy life 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 power 19. How does Cassius describe Caesar? “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 Brutus? 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.” metaphor satisfaction for food compared to satisfaction for power wants satiated men rhetorical strategy persuasive speaking 22. What was offered to Caesar three times? the crown 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 rhetorical strategy politics 23. How does Casca describe Cicero’s speaking? “It was Greek to me.” famous lines 24. How does Cassius describe Caesar? “Caesar’s ambition shall be glanced at.” foreshadowing Caesar’s tragic flaw planning the conspiracy 25. What does Cassius vow? “For we will shake him, or worse days endure.” will assassinate Caesar intense, rapid unfolding of events 26. What is the weather like? thunder, lightening storm, unlike any other ever seen, is raging in Rome literally and figuratively creates a suspenseful, somber mood foreshadowing 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 FORESHADOWING DISRUPTIONS IN NATURE 29. What does Cassius say he has arranged? “an enterprise of honorable-dangerous consequence.” conspiracy still trying to convince Brutus oxymoron 30. What does Cinna ask Cassius to do? “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 “worthiness.” politics corruption Tragic Hero Good people (heroes) who fall due to error in judgment change in the hero’s fortune from happiness to misery due to some great error on his part Julius Caesar Brutus Oedipus Foreshadowing lots of hints at the conflict weather unnatural events Conflict between officials/commoners Flavius and Marullus vs. Cobbler and Carpenter points out difference between officials’ and commoners’ views of Caesar points out officials’ concerns about Caeasar’s power points out gullibility of the crowd mob mentality Rhetorical Devices 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 Puns Cobbler - mender of bad soles comic relief built in at the beginning audience appeal establishes conflict shows up the difference between commoners’/officials’ feelings about Caesar begins w/comedy - ends w/tragedy Allusion historical allusion - The Feast of Lupercal ancient fertility celebration honoring the god Pan literary allusion - The Aeneid (ancient Roman epic) 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.
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