Thursday, May 1, 2008
Julius Caesar - Act IV Scene I Q&A
For students studying Julius Caesar in Indian schools
(Questions from ICSE Workbook by Xavier Pinto published by Morning Star)
i.) What is meant by “their names are prick’d? Why are these names prick’d? What does this show regarding the custom of Elizabethan times?
“Their names are prick’d” means that their names are ticked in the list of people who have to be killed because they sided with Brutus and Cassius in the killing of Julius Caesar. These names are prick’d because these people are being viewed by Mark Anthony and Octavius as people who helped Brutus and Cassius in toppling Julius Caesar. This act of marking off the names of people in a list to have them killed shows that in the Elizabethan times, honour was very important. This type of killing of people who betrayed the trust of rulers was called honour killing. This tells us that people of that era did not value human life and did not have much remorse and sympathy for people who were killed in the name of honour.
ii.)What was Anthony’s reply to the condition put forward by by Lepidus?
In the list of people to be killed by Anthony, Octavius and Lepidus was the brother of Leipidus. Lepidus agreed to his brother being killed. However, Lepidus put forth the condition that if his brother had to be killed, then Mark Anthony’s sisters son should also be killed for the same reason – that is, taking part in the plot to kill Caesar. Anthony in his reply agreed to the killing of his sisters son and prick’d the name of his sisters son, Publius, in the list.
iii.) What opinon does Anthony hold of Lepidus?
Though Lepidus was part of the Triumvirate which came to power after Caesar was killed – Anthony did not want to give Lepidus his due and did not really consider Lepidus as a part of the triumvirate. He had a low opinion of Lepidus and wanted Lepidus to be part of triumvirate only so that he could pass the blame to Lepidus should the need arise. He wanted Lepidus only to errands for him just as an ass which did the bidding of its master and following every instruction of his master. After their job was done Anthony wanted to release Lepidus with a few crumbs as reward for the job done.
iv.) Anthony has an action-plan for Lepidus. What does he propose to do with him after making use of him?
Lepidus was part of the triumvirate that came to power after Caesar was killed. However, Anthony had Lepidus as part of the triumvirate only for selfish reasons. He wanted to Lepidus to do all those jobs which, if found out, would give them a bad name. For example, he give Lepidus the job of getting Caesars will from the palace so that they could take away the money that Caesar had left for the citizens of Rome. Anthony told Octavius that Lepidus should
be only used by them to do their bidding – like an ass does the bidding of its master – unquestioningly. His plan was that after they came into complete control – they would get rid of of Lepidus in the same way that the master gets rid of his ass after the ass had completed the job of lifting the masters heavy loads.He said that Lepidus would get some crumbs from them just as an ass is sent to graze in the commons after it does the job.
v.) What does Octavius say about Lepidus to Anthony?
Octavius is not happy to hear from Anthony that he did not consider Lepidus as an equal. He was very unhappy to know that Anthony considered Lepidus as a beast of burden – the ass. Octavius told Anthony that Lepidus was tried and tested valiant soldier and that he must be treated with more respect. Octavius reminded Anthony that they had taken Lepidus’s opinion in creating the list of people who had to be killed for participating in plot to kill Caesar. Finally, Octavius told Anthony that even though he considered Lepidus considered Lepidus to be sincere and valiant, Anthony could treat Lepidus in the any way that Anthony wanted.
i.)Where are the three persons? What have they formed? Who shall not live?
The three persons are in the house of Mark Anthony. They have a triumvirate to take control of Rome after the death of Caesar. Anthony, on the suggestion of Lepidus agreed that his sisters son Publius shall not live.
ii.) On a previous occasion, Anthony has referred to Caesar’s will, when talking to Roman citizens. Show the contrast between that reference this.
The previous occasion when Mark Anthony talked about Caesars will was when he was allowed to address Romans, by Brutus, on the occasion of the death of Julius Caesar. On that occasion he created sympathy for Caesar, in the minds of the people of Rome by saying Caesar always considerate to the people of Rome. He said that Caesar, in his will, had left a large fortune for the people of Rome to be divided among them equally. On that occasion, he used the will of Caesar to create an impression that he was loyal to Caesar as would like to protect the fair name of Caesar. On this occasion, he wanted to use Caesars Will to usurp the money that Caesars had left for the citizens of Rome. Thus, on both occasions he used Caesars Will for personal gain.
iii.) Explain the meaning of “determine” and “charge”. What trait of Anthony’s character is shown in lines 3 & 4?
The word “determine” here means that Anthony would decided on how the money in Caesar’s will would be utilized. The word “charge” here means that Anthony would decided how to change the use of the money left in Caesars will. In lines 3 and 4 we see the crafty and devious character of Anthony.
iv.) State any two of the three things that Anthony says about Lepidus after his departure.
The two thing that Anthony says about Lepidus are as under :
- that Lepidus was undeserving to be part of the triumvirate and that he should be used to get the unpopular jobs done for the triumvirate.
- that Lepidus as like an ass which did exact what its master asked him to do – yet did not get rewarded for the work it did.