(Julius Caesar Act V,Scene IV from the Julius Caesar workbook by Xavier Pinto published by Morning Star. Suitable for students of class X of ICSE schools)
I(i) Who is young Cato? What reference was made in the play earlier about his father?
Young Cato is the brother-in-law of Brutus. The reference that was made earlier about his father was that his father has committed suicide. Brutus was against committing suicide to escape the difficulties of life.
I(ii)In what respect is the death of young Cato similar to that of Titinius.
The death of young Cato was similar to that of Titinius because Titinius went to the other side of the hill on the instructions of Cassius to see if the soldiers there belonged to them or the enemy. Titinius knew of the great risk he was facing when he acted on the instructions of Cassius. Luckily for Titinius, the soldiers he found there were not enemy soldiers. However, Titinius later killed himself on knowing that Cassius had died under the wrong impression that Titinius’s mission had failed. Similarly, young Cato too went into battle on the instructions of Brutus knowing that death was almost certain.
I(iii) Why should the enemy soldiers not wish to kill Lucilius? Why would Lucilius want to be killed? How does Lucilius escape death?
The enemy soldiers, on the instructions of Anthony, do not kill Lucilius. They do not kill Lucilius because Anthony realizes that Lucilius was impersonating as Brutus so that the enemy may kill him mistaking him for Brutus thus giving Brutus a chance to escape. Anthony wanted such a person to be his friend and therefore allowed Lucilius to escape death. Lucilius want to be killed because he is pretending to be Brutus. He knows that if enemy soldiers kill him thinking him to be Brutus then Brutus will give him a chance to escape. Lucilius escapes death because Anthony wants such a loyal person to be his friend.
I(iv) What is meant by “Only I yield to die”?
This means that “ I am surrendering only for you to kill me”. Lucilius is impersonating as Brutus. He wants enemy soldiers to kill him so that they will think that they have killed Brutus thus giving Brutus a chance to escape.
I(v) Who discovers that Lucilius was pretending to be Brutus? What does that person think of Lucilius?
Mark Anthony discovers that Lucilius was pretending to be Brutus. Mark Anthony thinks of Lucilius as a person very loyal to Brutus. He want such a loyal person to be his friend and not his enemy. He therefore spares the life of Lucilius.
II(i) In what sense was Brutus safe enough? How are the second and third lines of the extract prophetic, ie indicative of what is going to take place?
Brutus is safe to the extent that it is unlikely that he could be captured by the enemy. If the enemy had got close to Brutus, Brutus would have killed himself rather than be captured by the enemy. The second and third lines of the extract are prophetic because Brutus killed himself before the enemy could reach him.
II(ii) Who has just been killed when Lucilius is captured? Who has captured Lucilius? What have they done with him?
Young Cato has just been killed when Lucilius is captured. Lucilius is captured by the troops of Anthony. After capturing Lucilius, they mistook him to be Brutus. However, Mark Anthony recognizes Lucilius. On recognizing Lucilius, he pardons Lucilius.
II(iii) “The gods defend him from so great a shame!” What was considered shameful according to the Roman custom.
Being captured, chain and being paraded through the street of Rome was considered shameful according to the Roman custom.
II(iv) What is happening on the battlefield? Who is emerging victorius?
On the battle field young Cato is killed. Lucilius is captured. Brutus is exhausted in the battle and know that defeat is staring him in the face. Mark Anthony and Octavious are emerging victorious in the battle.
II(v) There seems to be two objectives in Lucilius’s impersonating Brutus. What do you think are these objectives.
The two objectives in Lucilius impersonating Brutus are :
- By impersonating as Brutus, Lucilius was trying to buy some time for Brutus to escape. If the army of Mark Anthony thought that Brutus was killed, Brutus would get a change to escape.
- The other objective in impersonating Brutus was to show to Mark Anthony how loyal he was to Brutus, even in defeat.