Sunday, July 6, 2008

Julius Caesar - Act III,Scene I


(Questions from Julius Caesar Workbook for ICSE Schools, India by Xavier Pinto published by Morning Star.If you need a clarification from me,just post a comment below.I will respond as soon as possible.)

1(i) This conversation takes place near the Capitol. Caesar told the soothsayer that the “ides of March are come” because the soothsayer had earlier told Caesar that he must be careful around the ides of March. He had met the soothsayer earlier at his palace during the feast of Lupercal.

1(ii) Artemidorus is a teacher of rhetoric in Rome. He is also well versed in the art of predictions and tries to warn Caesar to be careful of Brutus. He tries to give this warning in the form of documents, but Caesar does not take it and does not get the benefit of the second warning. The importance of Artemidorus’s schedule is that it tries to warn Caesar of the conspiracy by Brutus.

1(iii) Artemidorus requests Caesar to read his schedule first because it was very important the Caesar read this schedule to get warned about an assassination attempt on him.

1(iv) The two reasons given by Caesar for not reading the schedule given by Artemidorus are :
-Artemidorus kept insisting that Caesar read his schedule first. This irritated Caesar and therefore he did not read it.
-Caesar felt that anything that pertained to him personally should be given least priority. Therefore, he did not read the schedule.

1(v) The two people who try to warn Caesar are the Soothsayer and Artemidorus. The people who try to defeat the efforts of the soothsayer and Artemidorus are Decius and Publius.

1(vi) Artmidorus’s fears are justified because just that morning when the Soothsayer had met Portia he had told Portia that the would ask Caesar to look after himself well as the foresaw trouble for Caesar.

1(vii) Caesar is in a confident mood at this point in this scene. He mockingly tells the soothsayer that the ides of march, of which he was warned earlier, has arrived. He does not want to read the documents offered to him by Artemidorus saying that what pertains to him must be dealt with last.

2(i) “This” refers to the plan made by the conspirators to kill Caesar. “ If it would be known what could happen”. This is said by Cassius. He says this to ask Brutus as to what would happen if their plan were discovered by Caesar. Cassius also say that if the plan is discovered by Caesar he would attack Caesar and that either he or Caesar would survive the attack.

2(ii) The duty that was assigned to Casca was to attack Caesar suddenly in case their plot was discovered. He should be sudden so that Caesar was taken by surprise.

2(iii) Popilius Lena wished Cassius great success. Cassius thought that this meant that Popilius Lena has discovered the plot to kill Caesar. They thought that Popilius Lena was telling Caesar about the plot to kill him. Brutus showed that the was nothing to fear since Lena was smiling when he was talking to Caesar and that Caesars expression had not changed when Lena was speaking to him.

2(iv) The task which was assigned to Trebonius was to take Mark Anthony out of the way so that the attack on Caesar could be carried out more easily.

2(v) Metellus Climber presented a petition for recalling his brother from exile. Metellus Climber tried to flatter Caesar by calling him the “most high, most mighty and most powerful Caesar” He also said that “ I throw my humble heart before your throne”.

2(vi) The two arguments that Caesar gave to reject the petition of Metellus Climber are :
- that he was immovable like the pole star. That once he had taken a decision he would not change his decision without good reason.
- that Publius Climber, the brother of Metellus Climber was exiled because he had not followed the laws of the land and that this crime could not be pardoned.
The trait of Caesar that is highlighted in this is that Caesar was a firm decision maker and that he stood by his decision when made.

3(i) The Northern Star is also called the pole star. Unlike other stars it has a fixed position in the sky. Here Caesar means that like the pole star he was firm on his decisions. He also meant that there was no other decision maker who dealt with issues strictly and firmly.

3(ii) Caesar compares himself with the pole star because he feels that like the pole star which has a fixed position in the sky he is very firm in his decision making. The occasion for such comparison is the petition by Metellus Climber to recall his brother Publius Climber from exile.

3(iii) The comparison made by Caesar between the firmament and the world of men is that Caesar says that like countless stars in the sky which shine bright there are many bright people on earth. However, in the sky there is only one star, the pole star, which stays in a fixed position. Like the pole star, which is the only star of its kind, Caesar was the only man on earth who stood firm on his decisions.

3(iv) Caesar is stubborn in this attitude towards the conspirators because he feels that they are raking up an issues which did not require a review. He felt that once a decision was taken the king must stand by that decision and not keep on changing it. The stubbornness of Caesar creates a dramatic effectiveness because it creates a natural rift between those making the petition an Caesar. This lead to a situation, where the killing of Caesar, appears to be a natural result of his continuing stubbornness.

3(v) The horrible event that is about to take place in a short time was that very shortly an attack was planned on Caesar to kill him. The first to strike was Casca and Brutus was next. Anthony was away from the scene as Trebonius has skillfully take away Mark Anthony from the scene just before the attack on Caesar. If Mark Anthony were present, he would have tried to prevent the attack on Caesar and would have attempted to save Caesar from getting killed.

4(i) This conversation takes place immediately after Caesar is killed by Casca and Brutus. Brutus and Casca are in the very fluid and fearful state of mind. After the killing of Caesar they do not know what destiny has in store for them. They do not know I they too will be killed by others of whether they would survive the killing of Caesar.

4(ii) Fates refers to the three goddess of destiny. According to me Fates will be responsible for either rescuing and protecting Casca and Brutus after the death of Caesar or fate will also ensure that Casca and Brutus will die upon killing Caesar. According to the extract the men know that it is possible that they too may be killed by others in the manner in which Caesar was killed. They fear that they may not be killed but may have to live the rest of their lives in fear of being killed by those who are sympathetic to Caesar.

4(iii) The positive not that Casca strikes in the death of Caesar is that if they too are killed at least they would be saved of the trouble of living the rest of their lives in the fear of being killed by others. Brutus agrees to this. He says that if they are killed then they would become Caesars friends and not his enemies.

4(iv) Brutus, after the killing of Caesar, asks the Romans to bend and immerse their hands, upto their elbows, in Caesars blood and spread this blood on their swords. Then to go out into the marketplace waving the red swords over their heads screaming “ Peace Freedom and Liberty. This seemed to fulfill Calphurnia’s dream because she had dreamt of blood dripping from Caesars statue.

4(v) The role of the assassination of Caesar in the storyline of Julius Caesar is very vital. It is the turning point of the play. Rome was a peaceful and well managed city before the assassination of Caesar. After the assassination of Caesar Rome became a city of death destruction and anarchy.

5(i) When Cassius says “stoop and wash” he is speaking to Brutus and the other conspirators. He means that they should bend and cover their arms till their elbow with the blood of dead Caesar. He also means that they should dip their swords on Caesars blood. Brutus had earlier suggested the washing.

5(ii) When Brutus says “how many times shall Caesar bleed in sport” he means that like Caesar now lies dead – in the future too other men like Caesar may have to be killed. The way Caesar was lying at the base of the statute of Pompey’s statue, it almost appeared as if he was killed for the entertainment of the people of Rome.

5(iii) “States unborn” refers to countries which have not yet been formed or those that may be formed in future. “Accents” means language. The reference is to languages that are not yet spoken buy may be spoken in future.”Pompey’s basis” refers to the statue of Pompey.

5(iv) The “lofty scene” is the scene of Caesar like dead below the statue of Pompey and the conspirators celebrating their victory over the dead body of Caesar. It also refers to the act of the conspirators soaking their hands and swords in the blood of Caesar and shouting “ peace, freedom and liberty”.

5(v) The servants entry may be considered the turning point of the play. The servant enters to ask the conspirators if Mark Anthony could meet them to understand why Brutus and his fellow conspirators decided to kill Caesar. This point is the turning point in the play because it is at this time that Brutus decides to invite Anthony to come there so that he can be explained the cause of the killing of Caesar. This proved to be a mistake for Brutus because this is the time when he agreed that Anthony could address the citizens of Rome. Anthony took full advantage of this and turned the opinion of people against Brutus.

6(i) Mighty Caesar lies at the base of the statue of Pompey. “ This little measure” means that the mighty Caesar is now lying on the ground covering only a very small portion of it. This is the same Caesar who was known for his vast conquests of many lands. An example of Caesars conquest is his defeating Pompey in what is known as the battle of Pompey. An example of Caesar’s glory is Caesars conquest of Nervii.

6(ii) The “gentlemen” that Anthony addresses are Brutus and his group of conspirators. He implores them to kill him there and then if they had any plans of doing so. He says that there could not be a more appropriate time for him to die even if the lived for a hundred years more. This tells us that Mark Anthony was not only very sincere to Caesar – even after the death of Caesar but he was also very skillful in his speech and knew how to tackle the conspirators through the use of appropriate words.

6(iii) “ Who else must let blood, who else must rank” means that Anthony ask the conspirators which other important person they want to kill. He means that if killing him (Mark Anthony) is part of their plan, they should do so immediately.
6(iv) “The most noble blood of all this world” indicates the high esteem in which Mark Anthony viewed Caesar, even after his death.

6(iv) Brutus told Anthony that they had no personal enmity against Caesar. They had killed Caesar only so save Rome from the cruelty of Caesar. He said just like one fire is required to kill another fire, the killing of Caesar was required to save Rome from his cruelty. Brutus told Anthony that while they appeared to be blood thirsty and violent, this was not actually the case. Brutus was honest in his statement to Anthony. He was honest because Brutus took part in the conspiracy only because he was convinced that Caesar coronation as emperors was not good for the citizens of Rome.

7(i)Anthony says these words to Brutus,Cassius, Decius and Metellus. He speaks these words after shaking his hands with Brutus,Cassius and the other conspirators. He says these words because he thinks that the conspirators would treat his handshake with them as either flattery or cowardice.

7(ii)The word "credit" means reputation. This credit now stands on slippery grounds because Anthony had to shake hands with the conspirators which could be viewed by the conspirators as flattery or cowardice.

7(iii)Anthony shakes the blood stained hands of the conspirators after Caesars death.Anthony says that the conspirators may treat this act of shaking hands with the conspirators as flattery of the conspirators - or cowardice on the part of Anthony.

7(iv)Anthony's actions completely changes the mood of this listeners.The listeners were earlier supportive of Caesars killing but are now lead by Anthony to believe that Caesar was not power hungry and and greedy. They now believe that Caesars killing was not right and want to punish the conspirators.

7(v)Brutus made the mistake of letting Anthony address the audience in praise of Caesar.Cassius had warned Brutus not to let Anthony address the audience.Cassius had warned that Anthony's address of the citizens might influence and change the opinion of the citizens against the conspirators.

7(vi)Anthony proved that he could be a coward and a flatterer.He proved that he was a coward by shaking hands with the conspirators after they had killed Caesar. He proved he was a flatterer by singing praises of Caesar in order to turn public opinion against the conspirators.


8(i) These words are spoken by Mark Anthony. “Here was thou bay’d means that “this is the place where you were hunted down like a deer is hunted down by a pack of hounds”. The comparison that is used in the expression is that Ceasars death is compared to the death of a deer in a deer hunt where hounds tire the deer and then mercilessly tear it apart. The custom of hunters that is referred to here is the killing of deer but first tiring it out and then killing it.

8(ii) The Double meaning in the terms “brave hart” is that “brave hart” refers to the courage that Julius Ceasar showed and also is also used to compare Caesar with that of a Stag which bravely confronts the hounds after it has been cornered by them.

8(iii) The hunters in the present crisis are the conspirators who have plotted to kill Julius Caesar. They include Brutus, Cassius, Casca, Cinna and others. “Sign’d in thy spoil and crimsion’d in thy lethe” means that Caesar in lying in a pool of his own blood. There are stab marks all over his body – almost as if each of the conspirators who stabbed him wanted to leave his signature on Cesar's body.

8(iv) The world was “the forest to this hart” means that Mark Anthony compares Caesar to a stag which roamed on the earth as if the earth was his forest. This conveys that Caesar was as comfortable in this world and in Rome as a Stag would be in a forest. Mark Anthony also says “O world the heart of thee” which means that he compares the Caesar to the to the heart of a human being. This indicates that he considered Caesar to be the heart of Rome – without whom Rome would not survive.

8(v) Anthony arouses Cassius’s suspicion because Anthony asks Brutus for permission to take Caesars body to the market place. He also asks Brutus for permission to speak to the citizens of Rome at the funeral of Caesar. As a result of this suspicion Cassius asks Brutus not go give Anthony permission to speak on Caesars funeral.


9(i) Caesars spirit is raving for revenge because Caesar was killed by people whom he considered his friends. He was killed when he was unarmed and not expecting an attack. When Brutus was resting with Lucius, Varro and Cladio the Ghost of Julius Caesar appeared which only Brutus could see.

9(ii) Ate is the Greek Goddess of revenge and destruction. Her name is used here by Mark Anthony because he feels that since Caesar was killed unfairly, he (Caesar) would use the help of the Ate to take revenge on the conspirators for killing him unfairly. Confines means “place”. Mark Anthony means that Caesar will from the place where he is lying dead declare revenge on the conspirators.

9(iii) With a monarch’s voice, “Cry Havoc” – this foretells that a lot of gory and vicious destruction is expected in the days ahead. The terms “Havoc” is normally used by the king to proclaim all-out war against the enemy.


9(iv) “Dogs of war” refers are the soldiers who go into war on the instructions of the king. “ Let slip the dogs of war” refers to the command given to the soldiers in the kings army to go forth and cause destruction to the enemy in all possible manner using weapons, fire etc. The foul deed referred to here is the conspiratory killing of Julius Caesar. This foul deed will “smell above the earth” because according to Mark Anthony, the killing of Caesar will cause a lot of death destruction and killings. The smell of dead bodies in the forthcoming destruction will lead to foul smell so bad that it will even “smell above the earth”.

9(v) The consequences of these happening would lead to danger to the lives of the conspirators and Anthony. It was very likely that the supporters of Anthony would attempt to kill the conspirators. Likewise the supporters of the conspirators would like to kill Anthony and his men.

10(i) Anthony is speaking to the servant of of Octavius Caesar. He had come to inform Mark Anthony that Octavius was about to reach Rome as he had been called to Rome by Julius Caesar. They are at the location where Julius Caesar was killed and the place where his body lay.

10(ii) Anthony told the person “stay awhile” because Anthony did not want the servant to go and tell Octavius Caesar to enter Rome. Anthony wanted him to wait till he moved the body of Julius Caesar to the market place and till he had swayed the mood of the crowd to sympathize with the death of Julius Caesar and turned the crowd against the conspirators. The servant helped Anthony to delay the entry of Octavius Caesar in Rome till Anthony had made the climate more conducive for Octavius to enter Rome.

10(iii) Oration refers to a powerful, emotion moving speech in public. This passage reveals to us that Anthony, through his oration, proposed to change the mood of the people from contempt for Julius Caesar to sympathy for Julius Caesar.

10(iv) The three point of Mark Anthony’s prophecy are as under :
1)Cruel deeds will become common in Italy
2)Mothers will not even cry when their children are killed.
3)There will be death and destruction in Italy all the time.

10(v) The trait of Mark Anthony which are clear from this passage are :
a)That he has a good powers of oration.
b)He is determined to take revenge for Julius Caesars death. Determination is a trait is clear in this passage.

The other occasions where his other traits become clear are when :
a)he says “ pardon me that I am meek and gentle with these butchers”.

This shows that he can adapt himself to current circumstances. That his he appeared to be friendly with the conspirators and kept them in the belief that he was siding with them , though he was plotting to revenge against them.

b) “O mighty Caesar! dost thou live so low?”
Even in the presence of the conspirators he shows his grief over Caesars death. This shows his courage and loyalty towards Caesar.

1 comment:

nikhil said...

hey can u help me with this question...

Trace the origin,development and conclusion of the conspiracy leading to the asssasination of julius ceaser..??/

my email is nkhatri92@gmail.com