(Julius Caesar Act V,Scene III from the Julius Caesar workbook by Xavier Pinto published by Morning Star.Suitable for students of class X of ICSE schools.If you have a query or comment,please post it below)
I(i) Where does this scene take place? Who was the coward? Why did Cassius slay the coward.
This scene takes place in the battlefield of Phillipi. The coward was the bearer of the flag for Cassius’s army. This flag bearer ran tried to run away from the battlefield. Cassius slayed the coward because he did not want anyone from his army to run away from the battlefield.
I(ii) What is meant by “ myself have to mine own turn’d enemy?
Cassius says this. Cassius means that he had to kill the flag bearer who tried to run away from the battle-field. He says that he became the enemy of this own people by killing one of them.
I(iii). What did Titinius say about the error committed by Brutus? What were the immediate consequences of the error.
Titinius says that the error committed by Brutus was that he ordered that attack too early. As a result, even though Brutus was able to defeat Octavius, Brutus was not able to help Cassius who was losing to Anthony. This is because after defeating Octavius the army of Brutus became unruly and started looting and plundering instead of helping Cassius.
I(iv) On what errand does Cassius now send Titinius? What does Cassius tell Pindarus to do for him.
Cassius asks Titinius to go and check if the soldiers on the other side of the hill belonged to their army or to the enemy. He asks Pindarus to climb up the hill and find out if Titinius was able to go to the other side of the to find out if the soldiers on the other side belonged to their army or the army of the enemy.
I(v) Pindarus, Cassius’s slave enters. What does he say? How does his information seem to confirm Cassius’s fears?
Pindarus, Cassius’s slave says that Titinus was completely surrounded by horsemen and is captured by the soldiers of the enemy. This information that Titinius was captured by the enemy soldiers confirms Cassius’s fears that Brutus had lost the battle with Octavius – which was his fear.
I(vi) What does Cassius think aloud while Pindarus is away? Why is the day significant to Cassius in more ways than one.
When Pindarus is away Cassius thinks that he would end his life the day he began it. The day is significant to Cassius because it happened to be his birthday.
Who are Titinius and Pindarus? Where are they at the moment?
Titinius is a friend of Brutus and Cassius and a soldier in their army. Pindarus is a servant of Cassius. At this moment, Titinius has gone to the other side of the hill to check whether the soldiers belonged to the enemy or their army. Pindarus is on the hill tracking the progress of Titinius.
II(ii) Explain the meaning “ even with a thought”. Why has Titinius to go?
“Even with a thought” means that Titinius would be back very quickly, as quickly as a thought. Titinius has to go because Cassius has asked him to go to the other side of the hill to see if the soldiers there were from their army or from the army of the enemy.
II(iii) What report did Pindarus now give about Titinius? How did Cassius interpret this report?
The report that Pindarus gave was that he said some horsemen were riding fast toward Pindarus. He said that the horsemen had reached Pindarus and had made Pindarus get down from his horse and Pindarus was captured by the horsemen. Cassius wrongly interpreted this to mean that the soldiers on the other side of the hill were the soldiers of Octavius. He interpreted this as the defeat of Brutus in the battle with Ocatvius. This incorrect interpretation changed the entire course of events.
II(iv) What action did Cassius take? How did the outcome of this action affect Pindarus? How did (a) Titinius and (b) Brutus react to what Cassius did?
Cassius took the extreme step of telling Pindarus, his slave to kill him with the same sword with which Cassius killed Caesar. On the basis of this instructions, Pindarus killed Cassius. Titinius was overcome with grief when he came to know that Cassius was dead. For him the death of Cassius was like the sun having set for Rome. He was very sad because he realized that Cassius has killed himself thinking that Titinius’s mission was unsuccessful. Brutus was very grieved when he came to know of Cassius death. He said that Julius Caesar in his death was even more powerful when he was alive. Julius Caesar had managed to kill his good friends Cassius and Titinius. He said that Cassius was the last man worthy to be called a Roman.
II(v) Refer to, or quote, what Cassius said to Brutus earlier in the play to prove that this tragedy could have been avoided. What had Brutus replied to him then? Refer to another occasion when a somewhat similar mistake had been made by Brutus. What is your opinion of Brutus and Cassius in this connection.
Earlier in the play Cassius had told Brutus that because Brutus had not listened to Cassius not to allow Mark Anthony to address the citizens of Rome they were now in trouble. According to Cassius if Brutus had listed to him, Mark Anthony would not have been allowed address the citizens of Rome and the citizens of Rome would not have revolted against Brutus and the other conspirators. If this had happened, their situation would not be as bad as it was now. When Cassius had objected to Anthony addressing the citizens of Rome, Brutus had told him that allowing Anthony to speak would only enhance their reputation. He only cautioned Anthony not to blame Brutus and the others for Ceasars death. Other than that he could say anything else. There are other occasions where a similar mistake had been by Brutus. One of these occasions was when Cassius advised Brutus to wait for the armies of Octavius and Anthony to reach Sardis rather than go to Philipi to attack them. Brutus did not listen to him and ordered that their armies go to Phillipi. This was also a mistake. Had he listened to Cassius, the outcome of the battle may have been different.
My opinion of Brutus and Cassius in his connection is that Cassius has a lot of wisdom. He is however, not always able to impress on Brutus to take his opinion very seriously. Brutus is also very wise, but he is not good at taking sound advice even from close associates.
III(i) What had Pindarus been looking at? What did he report on what he thought he saw?
Pindarus had been looking at Titinius riding toward the other side of the hill to find out if the soldiers there belonged to them or to the enemy. He saw that Titinius was being followed by other horsemen and then being surrounded by them.He then saw Titinius dismounting before those horsemen. He therefore, reported to Casssius that Titinius was captured by the enemy.
III(ii)What is meant by,” I swore thee”? What had Pindarus promised to do? What is he asked to do now?
Cassius tell Pindarus “ I swore thee”. This means the in exchange for Cassius sparing the life of Pindarus, when he has captured Pindarus in an earlier battle, Cassius had asked Pindarus to do for Cassius whatever Cassius wanted him to do. Pindarus had promised Cassius that he would do whatever he was asked to do for him
Pindarus is now asked to kill Cassius with the same sword that Cassius used to kill Julius Caesar.
III(iii)Narrate what has happened a few minutes earlier which makes Cassius desperate. Was Cassius noble in taking the final decision about himself? Give a reason to justify your answer.
A few minutes earlier Pindarus had informed Cassius that Titinius was taken prisioner by the forces of Ocatvius. Cassius was not noble about taking the final decision about asking Pindarus to kill him. This is because Cassius decided to kill himself even without knowing what was the fate of Brutus in his battle with Octavius. Cassius was in no immediate danger of being killed by the enemy. However, in order to escape the pain to agony a possible defeat, Cassius kills himself leaving others to their own fate.
III(iv)What makes it difficult for Pindarus to keep his oath now?
It make it difficult for Pindarus to keep his oath because he had been a faithful servant of Cassius. Cassius orders Pindarus to kill him. For a faithful servant to kill his master is a difficult task.
III(v)What is the evil influence which drives Cassius towards self-destruction? Should one believe in such influence? Why?
The evil influence that drives Cassius toward self-destruction is his understanding that the presence of crows, ravens and kites hovering above his army indicates defeat for his army. One should not believe in such influences and omens as there is scientific basis for such omens.
IV(i)Where does this scene take place? Who are Titinius and Messala? Why have they come to the scene?
This scene takes place on the hill near the battlefield of Phillipi. Titinius is a friend of Brutus and Cassius and also a soldier in their army. Messala is a devoted friend of Cassius. They have come to the scene to inform Cassius that that the army of Brutus has defeated Octavius.
IV(ii)Where has Pindarus gone? What has made him go away?
Pindarus was so upset that he had to kill Cassius, on the request of Cassius, that he leaves the place to go so far away that no one could ever find him. His grief about having to kill Cassius makes him go away.
IV(iii)What report is Messala going to give to Brutus? Why would the report be like thrusting something into Brutus’ ear?
The report that Messala is going to give Brutus is that Cassius is dead. This report would be like thrusting something into Brutus’s ears as Brutus would not want and be not able to hear such a sorrowful news.
IV(iv) Titinius recollects that Brutus has sent a wreath of victory to be given to Cassius. What victory is referred to?
The victory that is referred to is the victory of Brutus over the army of Octavius.
IV(v) State briefly how Titinius pays his respects to Cassius, his dead friend.
Titinius pays his respect to his dead friend Cassius by placing the wreath, which Brutus had given him, on Cassius’s head.
V(i) Where is Titinius at this moment? Whom is he talking to?Why?
Titinius is at the battlefield of Phillipi. He is talking to the dead Cassius. He is talking to the dead Cassius out of grief. He has realized that Cassius was dead because he had misinterpreted that Titinius was captured by enemy soldiers whereas the had actually been welcomed by the victorious soldiers of Brutus’s army. He then places the wreath, that Brutus gave him for Cassius, on Cassius’s head.
V (ii) Explain the meaning of “misconstrued”. What are the things that had been misconstrued? For what reason.
Misconstrued means misunderstood. That the army of Brutus had lost to the army of Octavius had been misconstrued by Cassius on the basis of feedback given by Pindarus. This was misconstrued as Pindarus wrongly interpreted Titinius alighting from this horse and surrounded by other horsemen as his being surrounded by enemy soldier. Actually, Titinius was surrounded by friendly soldiers of the victorious soldiers of Brutus’s army who had surrounded Titinius to convey him the good news.
V(iii) What was the “garland” a sign of? Why did Brutus send it?
The garland was a sign of victory of Brutus over Octavius. Brutus sent it to Cassius to convey to him his victory over Octavius.
V(iv) Explain the meaning of “regarded”. How did Titinius now show his regard? What did Brutus say about Titinius and Cassius when he arrived.
“Regarded” means respected. Titinius now showed this regard to Cassius by placing the garland which Brutus had given him on Cassius. When Brutus arrived he grieved the death of Titinius and Cassius. Even though Brutus had no time for the funereal ceremonies of Titinius and Cassius, he said that there were no other two people like Titinius and Cassius who were worthy of being called Romans.
V(v) This scene shows the beginning o the end for the conspirators. What reasons does Brutus give for what he saw? Explain how this reason is proved to be true in his own case later.
The reason Brutus gave for what he saw, that is the death of Titinius and Cassius was the spirit of Caesar was still strong and was causing their swords to go into their own bodies. This is proved in the case of Brutus also, because Brutus too uses his own weapon to kill himself.
VI(i) Where is Brutus? About whom is he speaking?
Brutus is a the scene of the battlefield where Cassius and Titinus have killed themselves. He is speaking about Cassius and Titinus who had killed themselves. He says that there are no other Romans as noble as these two.
VI(ii) What does he mean “ the last of all the Romans”?
By saying that Cassius and Titinius were “the last of all the Romans” Brutus means that there was no one else in all of Rome who were as honourable as these two.
VI(iii) Give a brief but clear account of the events which immediately precede this speech and give rise to it.
The immediately preceding events are as under :
Cassius has suffered defeat at the hand of Anthony. He takes a brief retreat to a nearby hill. There he sees that on the other side of the hill some tents have been put on fire and he sees some soldiers. He asks Titinius to quickly go across to see if these soldier belonged to Brutus or to the enemy. He also asks Pindarus go to the highest point on the hill and report the progress of Titinius. Pindarus incorrectly reports that Titinius had been captured by the enemy. Grief stricken Cassius asks his slave Pindarus to kill him. When Titinius comes back with the good news that Brutus had defeated Octavius, he sees that Cassius is dead. So grieved is he that the kills himself. When Brutus returns from the battle field, he sees that two of his closest men Cassius and Titinius are dead.\
Vi(iv) This event combined with another factor caused the death of Brutus a little later. Explain briefly.
The deaths of Cassius and Titinius demoralized Brutus. He lost his will to fight back strongly and avenge the defeat of Cassius. During the second round of battle when Cato and Lucilius went into battle, Brutus stayed back. He was do dejected that he asked Strato to kill him – which Strato did.
Vi(v) What instructions does Brutus now give to his friends?
The instructions that Brutus gave his friends was to put up a brave fight in the second round and to hold up their heads bravely.