Act IV Scene III
(Questions from Julius Caesar Workbook for ICSE Schools,India published by Morning Star)
i.)Where are Brutus and Cassius at this time? Relate briefly what charge Brutus lays against Cassius.
Brutus and Cassius are in Brutus’s tent in Sardis awaiting the advancing troops of Mark Anthony and Octavius. Brutus and Cassius are quarreling. Brutus has accused Cassius of being corrupt. He has accused Cassius of selling positions in the Army to the highest bidder thus taking on people who are not fit to be in the army. He has accused Cassius or raising money illegally from farmers who are poor. He also accused Cassius of not sending him money when he sent a request for some money to Cassius.
ii.)What had Cassius just complained of, to make Brutus say “You wronged yourself” Expain the meaning of Brutus’s words.
Cassius had just complained to Brutus that he did not pardon Lucius Pella despite Cassius writing to Brutus seeking pardon for Lucius Pella. “ You wronged yourself” means that Brutus believes that Cassius did the wrong thing by writing to Brutus asking for pardon for Lucius Pella. Brutus believes that bribe taking by Lucius Pella was an unpardonable offence.
iii.)What advice is Cassius giving to Brutus in line 2 & 3? Do you think that Cassius was being practical?
The advice that Cassius is giving to Brutus in line 2 & 3 is that in a serious situations like this when their armies are preparing to go to war with Mark Anthony’s and Octavius’s army it was not correct to make a big issue out of the bribe taken by Lucius Pella. More so because Cassius himself has written to Brutus asking for pardon for Lucius Pella.
Yes, I think that Cassius was being practical because in a war like situation it was necessary for both Brutus and Cassius to be united. Brutus should have accepted Cassius appeal for pardon in view of the difficult and war like situation.
iv.)What did Brutus accuse Cassius of when he said “ Let me tell you yourself…”? How did Cassius react to this?
When he said this Brutus accused Cassius being corrupt himself. He accused Cassius of selling positions in the army for money. Cassius reacted very angrily to this allegation. He said that if this allegation has been made by anyone other than Brutus he would have killed that person. Cassius could not believe that Brutus was making such a serious allegation on him. He angrily cautioned Brutus to be careful about that allegations he was making else he would forget about their friendship and relationship and attack Brutus.
v.)In the argument which continues between these two, Brutus accuses Cassius of other faults. Point out two of these faults and say how Cassius reacted to these accusations. Do your think Brutus was being fair to Cassius?
The two other faults that Brutus accused Cassius are :
-that he has sent a messenger to Cassius for some money to pay for this army but Cassius declined to give him any money. Cassius reacted to this allegation by saying that he did not deny Brutus the money. He said that the messenger may have mis-communicated his message.
-that he has sold official position in the army to men who were not worthy. Cassius reacted to his by saying that had anyone else made this allegation, he would have killed the person making this allegation.
Brutus was not being fair to Cassius because the armies need money.Brutus was not capable of raising the money – yet he accused Cassius of raising money which was so desperately needed.
i.)What sort of corruption is referred to in the extract? What has been the reaction of Cassius, just before the extract, to this accusation?
The corruption that has been referred to in this extract is corruption by Cassius in selling positions in his army to the highest bidder. This extract also refers to the fact that Julius Caesar was killed due to his corruption. The reaction of Cassius was of anger. He angrily told Brutus that if someone else had accused him of corruption he would have killed the person.
ii.)What does the ides of March signify to them? What which purpose did Brutus say that Julius bled “ for justice sake”?
Ides of March signifies a period when a renowned person was killed for the sake of justice. It represents a period of cleansing. Brutus said that Julius bled “for justice sake” because the wanted to remind Cassius that they had killed Caesar because he was patronizing corrupt officials. He said that having killed Caesar for corruption, they could not indulge in corrupt activities.
iii.)State briefly how the dispute between Cassius and Brutus was resolved.
The dispute between Cassius and Brutus flared up initially. Later Cassius told Brutus to stab him as he was tired of the world. He was hated by his friend, scolded and corrected like a slave and has all his faults observed and recorded. He said that Brutus did not love him. This calmed Brutus a bit. He asked Cassius to put his dagger back in its cover. Brutus said that his anger was as brief as a flint which gave fire only when struck with great force. He also accepted that he was not in a good mood when he spoke the harsh words to Cassius. This cooled down Cassius who then shook hands with Brutus. Cassius too told Brutus that he had inherited his anger from from his mother and requested to be patient with him. This ended the arguments between the two.
iv.)Give two examples from this scene to indicate that Brutus was really angry with Cassius.
The two examples from this scene that indicates that Brutus was really angry with Cassius are:
-Brutus tell Cassius that the association of corrupt people with Cassius makes corruption seem respectable enables the corrupt escape punishment.
-Brutus says that he would rather be a dog howling at the moon than be a corrupt Roman.
i.)Give the meaning of “ You shall digest the venom of your spleen,/Though it split you.” What does Brutus say he will use Cassius for?
“You shall digest the venom of your spleen,/Though it split you.” Brutus says this to mean that he would not change his mind about his being upset with Cassius on issues of corruption. He said that the anger that Cassius displayed would not make him change his mind. He said that the only option before Cassius was to swallow his own temper – even if he died of it. He said that he would use Cassius’s bout of anger for getting entertained.
ii.)Give two examples of taunts which Brutus had indulged in earlier which make Cassius say “Is it come to this”?
The two examples of taunts which Brutus used against Cassius are:
-Brutus told Cassius that he was a worthless man.
-He called Cassius a mad man.
-Brutus said that he would rather be a dog howling at the moon than be a corrupt Roman – thus indicating that Cassius was corrupt.
iii.)Under what conditions had Cassius made the statement that he was a
better soldier than Brutus. How accurate is Casssius’s assessment of himself as a soldier? Give reasons for your answer.
When Brutus accused Cassius of auctioning positions in the army to the highest bidder and said that they had killed Caesar because Caesar was dishonest Cassius said he was a more experience soldier than Brutus and was able to take important decisions. Cassius’s assessment of himself as a more experienced soldier than Brutus appears to be correct. This is clear when he advices Brutus that they should let Anthony’s and Octavius’s army reach Sardis rather than their going to Philippi to meet the enemy. Cassius wanted the army of the enemy to reach Sardis since this would make their soldiers tired and stretch their supply lines. However, Brutus rejected this suggestion and asked Cassius to move to Philippi to engage the enemy.
iv.)What is meant by “ vaunting”? How could Cassius prove his vaunting
at this point of time?
Vaunting means that “claim” of Cassius that he was a better soldier than Brutus. At this point of time Cassius could prove his vaunting true by leading his troops and the troops of Brutus to a victory over the army of Mark Anthony Octavius.
v.)While Brutus and Cassius are arguing, a strange visitor enters the scene.Who is he? What is the purpose of his visit? How does Brutus react to his arrival.
While Brutus and Cassius are arguing, a poet tries to enter the tent. The purpose of his visit is to settle the quarrel between Brutus and Cassius. The poet felt it was a shame that the two generals were quarreling among themselves. Brutus reacts very angrily to his arrival. He felt that the poet was being very rude is coming to the tent. He also said that a poet has no role to play during a war and that the poet should be entertained only when there is no war like situation.
i.)In what state is Cassius? Why is his heart richer than gold?
Cassius very upset that Brutus has accused him of denying gold. He is also very emotional about the fact that Brutus has been taunting him about being dishonest. This coupled with the fact that Cassius feels that Brutus does not love him make Cassius very emotional. He says that his heart is richer than gold to convey to Brutus that when he could give up his life for Brutus – he could never have denied Brutus some gold, which Brutus is accusing him of.
ii.)Who is Pluto? Why is Cassius’s heart compared to Pluto’s mine.
Pluto is the god of wealth. Cassius compares his heart with that of Pluto’s mine because Pluto’s mine has a lot of gold. Cassius wants to convey to Brutus that his heart was as pure as gold and that he was willing to sacrifice his life to prove to Brutus that he could not have denied Brutus some gold when he is willing to give his pure as gold heart to Brutus.
iii.)When did Cassius deny gold to Brutus? Why did the latter need the gold. What explanation did Cassius give for not giving the gold?
According to Brutus Cassius denied the gold to Brutus when Brutus sent his messenger to Cassius asking for some gold. Brutus needed the gold to pay salaries to the men in this army. The explanation that Cassius gave was that the told Brutus that he did not deny Brutus the gold. He said that the messenger may have mis-communicated Cassius message to Brutus about the gold.
iv.)What reply does Brutus give to Cassius after this extract?
After this extract Brutus tells Cassius to put his dagger back into its sheath. He says that he will treat Cassius’s outburst as a passing bad mood. Brutus also tells Cassius that he did not normally get upset easily. Brutus admits that he was also moody during Cassius’s outburst. This calms down Cassius and both men made up.
v.)What is the dramatic importance of this dialogue. In what way does it influence the subsequent course of action in the play.
The dramatic influence of this dialogue is that it has a sobering influence on Brutus. Brutus tries to pacify and makes up with Cassius. He tell Cassius that he would treat Cassius’s outburst like a passing bad mood. This dialogue influences the subsequent course of action in the play because after the two men make up – they had to take a decision to either meet the enemy in Sardis or move to Philippi and meet them there. Cassius advices Brutus to wait for the ememy in Saridis. Brutus want to meet them in Phillipi. However, since they had just patched up, Cassius does not want to upset Brutus again by going against Brutus’s decision. This decision of meeting the enemy in Philippi alters the outcome of the battle.
i.)Where has Portia gone? Why is Brutus so abrupt as to wave aside the thought of Portia? What does its show us of his nature?
Portia has died. Brutus is abrupt to wave aside the thoughts of Portia because this mind was preoccupied with the problems of war. This tell us that Brutus was very focused on his objectives and even the death of a near one could not shake his focus from his task. This also shows that perhaps he did not love Portia very deeply as he was not greatly disturbed by her death.
ii.)Who is Messala? What is the “self-same tenor” of which Messala speaks?
Messala is a servant of Brutus. “Self-same tenor” means that Messala had also received letters which conveyed the same information that the letters Brutus had received, contained. The information conveyed in both letters was that the army of Octavius and Anthony was moving quickly towards Philippi.
iii.)What other news does Messala give just after this extract?
The other news that Messala give just after this extract was that Octavius and Anthony had put to death a hundred senators. He said that Cicero was one of the senators who was executed.
iv.)What does Brutus come to know (from the letters he received) about Octavius and Anthony? Where does Brutus plan to meet the enemy.
From the letters that he received, Brutus comes to know that the Army of Anthony and Octavius is advancing towards Philippi. He also comes to know that they have executed a hundred Senators which includes Cicero. Brutus plans to meet the enemy in Philippi – against the advice of Cassius who wants them to meet the enemy is Sardis.
v.)How strong had Octavius and Anthony made themselves? What was the fate of Cicero?
Octavius and Anthony had made themselves very stong. They were moving to Philippi with a very stong army. They were so strong that they had executed a hundred Senators. Cicero had also been executed by them.
i.)To whom is Brutus giving the arguments in the extract? What is meant by “Our Legions are brim-full, our cause is ripe”?
In this extract Brutus is giving the arguments to Cassius to convince him that they must attack the enemy in Philippi and not in Sardis. “Our legions are brim-full, our cause ripe” means that the armies of Brutus and Cassius were at the peak of their strength and that there was support from people for their cause and therefore it was the right time to attack the advancing enemy.
ii.)Give two arguments of Brutus to indicate that his military strength is in an advantageous position.
The two arguments of Brutus to indicate that his military strength is in an advantageous position are :
-That the people between Philippe and Sardis are on the side of
Brutus and Cassius. This fact will help the armies of Brutus and Cassius.
-That the allies of Brutus and Cassius are ready to provide all the
help that is required by Brutus.
-The morale of the armies of Brutus and Cassius was very high.
iii.)Brutus says, “ The enemy increaseth every day.” State how it increases
The “enemy increaseth every day because with each passing day the army of Mark Anthony and Octavius get the support of people who did not support them earlier. With each passing day the sympathy that Brutus got from the people earlier is wearing off.
iv.)There is a tide in the affairs of men. What comparison is made between
voyage of life and the voyage of sea?
The comparison that is made is that like the seas have high tide and low tide, human life also has high tide and low tide. When a ship is launched in the sea – one has to wait for high tide. Only a high tide and push the ship into the sea. During low tide the ship will get stuck in the sand. Similarly, according to Brutus, even in the lives of men action must be taken at the appropriate time. When there is support for you from other people one must take action – this is similar to the high tide at sea. When there is no support from other people – our efforts will not succeed. This is like the low tide of life.
v.)According to Brutus, “ on such a full sea are we now afloat.” How is this
According to Brutus their position was akin to being on high tide. This statement is valid only because they had the support of some allies. This is also true because the people between Philippe and Sardis still supported Brutus and Cassius.
i.)To whom does Brutus speak in the extract? What is the setting of the
scene during this time?
Brutus is speaking to the ghost of Julius Caesar in the extract. The setting of the scene during this time is as under :
Brutus and Cassius have now reconciled their differences. They have also decided to march to Philippi. Brutus like the others is very sleepy and he has put on his dressing gown. He has bid everyone good night. He has asked his guards to sleep in his tent. Varro plays his musical instrument for Brutus for some time.The candle is burning dimly in the tent when Brutus sees an un-natural appearance. This was the ghost of Julius Caesar.
ii.)What is the apparition referred to in the extract? Why is it said to be
The apparition is referred to as some God, Angel or Devil. It was called monstrous because it was very large and very frightening to Brutus.
iii.)What does Brutus wonder about the apparition? What is the effect of
the apparition on Brutus?
Brutus wonders whether the apparition was some God, Angel or Devil. He earlier thought that the apparition was due to some weakness in his eyes. The effect of the apparition on Brutus is that Brutus is very frightened. His hair stands on its end and it seems that his blood had become cold due to fright.
iv.)What does the apparition say to Brutus? What is the significance of
what the apparition says to Brutus?
The apparition tells Brutus that Brutus was evil. The apparition also tells Brutus that Brutus will see the apparition once again in Philippi. The significance of what the apparition tells Brutus is that Brutus will be defeated in Philippi and that the apparition would meet Brutus then.
iv.)Who else was present at the scene? Did they see the apparition? State
whether the apparition was the product of Brutus’s imagination? Give a reason to justify your answer.
The other people present at the scene, when Brutus saw the apparition were Lucius ,Varro and Caudius who were guards. The apparition was a product of Brutus’s imagination. We can say that the apparition was a product of Brutus imagination for the following reasons :
-Brutus had not slept well for many days. When a person is deprived of sleep the person may see things that do not exist.
-That the others who were in the tent did not see anything.
-That Brutus was feeling guilty that he had killed Caesar using wrong means. This feeling of guilt could have lead to him seeing the apparition which came from his imagination.
-That Brutus himself was foreseeing defeat in Philippi. This subconscious understanding was manifesting as Caesars ghost and giving him this message of defeat.