Saturday, August 16, 2008

Julius Caesar Act II Scene I

(Julius Caesar Act II, Scene I. Question taken from Julius Caesar workbook by Xavier Pinto,published by Morning Star. Suitable for ICSE students of class X)

Portia - Wife of Brutus and daughter of Cato

i.Where does this scene take place?Who is Lucius?What has he been asked to do?
This scene takes place in Brutus's garden. Lucius is a servant of Brutus.Lucius has been asked to light a candle by Brutus.

ii.In what mood is Brutus? What does 'it' refer to? Whose death is suggested?
Brutus is in a thoughtful and pensive mood. 'It' refers to the freedom for the people of Rome. Brutus and his co-conspirators are of the firm opinion that only the death of Julius Caesar will ensure that democracy and freedom prevails in Rome. The death of Julius Caesar is suggested in this extract.

iii.Who has convinced Brutus to take such a step? What is the motive of Brutus for taking such a decision as expressed in this extract? What does it reveal about Brutus?
The entire task of convincing Brutus to take part in the killing of Julius Caesar was masterminded by Cassius. The motive of Brutus in taking such a decision was to protect the people of Rome from the tyranny of Julius Caesar. Brutus was convinced that once Julius Caesar became king he would enslave the people of Rome and that they people of Rome would lose their freedom. This decision reveals that Brutus was completely against a dictatorial rule. He believed in democracy. This decision also reveals that Brutus can take any decision, even if apparently incorrect, if he believes that it is for the good of the people of Rome. This decision also reveals that Brutus was not personally greedy for power.

iv.What danger does Brutus foresee if the person is crowned as a king? How is this danger expressed by referring to the " bright day" and the "adder".
The danger that Brutus foresees is that if Julius Caesar is crowed as king then Caesar would become a dictator and would take away the freedom from the people of Rome. This danger is expressed by referring to the "bright day" and the "adder" because Brutus feels that just like the snake (adder is a type of snake) comes out during bright sunshine to hunt for food, the crowning of Julius Caesar appears to be a bright (happy) occasion but is actually going to lead to the loss of freedom of the people of Rome.

v.Give the meaning of : "And that craves wary walking"
This means that the decision of kill Julius Caesar must be taken with a lot of thought.This means that the killing of Julius Caesar would have a lot of repercussions (people of Rome may not agree to this act and may turn against the killers. These repercussions must be considered carefully before going ahead with the decision.

vi.What are your feelings about Brutus at this juncture? Give a reason to justify your answer.
At this point I have sympathy for Brutus. His thoughts are at cross-roads at this point. On one hand, he does not really want to kill Julius Caesar - he has nothing to gain from it personally. On the other hand he is eager to ensure that the citizens of Rome are not subjected to dictatorship in case Caesar became king. I sympathize with Brutus because he has an important decision to take and is agonizing about it at this point in the play.

i."So Caesar may" What may Caesar do? Your answer must refer to the metaphor of the ladder, used by Brutus in his speech. How does Brutus intend to prevent Caesar from doing so?
"So Caesar may". This means that Caesar may become arrogant and a tyrant once he is crowned as the king of Rome. Brutus says a person who is climbing a ladder stays humble while he is climbing it but become arrogant when he reaches the top. Brutus believes that Julius Caesar was humble only because he was not yet crowned the king of Rome. Once he was crowned the king - he would become arrogant.
Brutus intends to prevent Julius Caesar from becoming a tyrant by killing him. Just like snakes are prevented from being born by destroying their eggs, Julius Caesar must be prevented from being a tyrant by killing him when he is not as powerful as he would be on becoming king.

ii.Give the meaning " And, since the quarrel/Will bear no colour for the thing he is/Fashion it thus".
According to Brutus, the behaviour of Julius Caesar has always been reasonable.Therefore, the killing of Julius Caesar cannot be justified on the basis of his current behaviour. He therefore says that in order to justify the killing of Julius Caesar one has to say that if Julius Caesar became king he would become arrogant and a tyrant and in order to prevent him from becoming a tyrant, in future, he had to be killed.

iii. What is meant by "augmented"? How can Caesar be augmented? How had there already been an attempt to augment him?
The word "augment" here means "more". That is, if Caesar became king his powers would get augmented (increase). If his powers got augmented, he would become a tyrant and would enslave the people of Rome. There was an attempt my Mark Anthony,earlier, to augment him earlier by offering him the crown.However, at this point Julius Caesar had declined the crown.

iv.To whom is the serpent's egg compared? What does Brutus want to communicate by using comparison of a serpent's egg?
Julius Caesar is compared to a serpents egg. By comparing Julius Caesar to a serpent's egg, Brutus want to communicate that that at this point Julius Caesar was like a serpent's egg - that he he was potentially dangerous. Also, like a serpent's egg,it was relatively easier to destroy him now. Once he was crowned king, it would be very difficult to kill him.

v.What price would Brutus pay later by preventing a "serpents egg" from being hatched?
The price the Brutus would pay later by preventing a "serpents egg" from hatching would be a war with Octavius and Mark Anthony in which hundreds were killed. The price that he would pay would be his own deaths and the death of many of his co-conspirators. He would thus pay a heavy price for preventing a "serpents egg" from being hatched.

i.Who is knocking at the gate? Why has he come?
Cassius, the brother-in-law of Brutus along with some of the other (Trebonius,Decius Brutus,Casca,Cinna and Metellus Cimber)people who were part of the conspiracy were knocking at the gate.Cassius has come there to confirm their plans to go ahead with the conspiracy against Julius Caesar. His objective was also to introduce the other conspirators to Brutus.

ii.What is the impact of Cassius's earlier discussion on Brutus?
Cassius has had a profound impact on Brutus. Cassius's earlier discussion with Brutus has convinced Brutus to carry out the plan to execute Julius Caesar. Ever since Cassius first raised the issue of killing Julius Caesar, Brutus has not been able to sleep well.He feels that the time interval between the first thought of the conspiracy against Caesar and its execution is like a nightmare. It is an internal turmoil for Brutus.He compares the state of his mind like that of the situation in a civil war.

iii.In what type of mental frame is Brutus? Why does he compare this mental condition to a nightmare or a horrid dream.
Brutus is in a mental turmoil. Ever since Cassius discussed the plan to kill Julius Caesar, Brutus has not been able to sleep at all.He is torn between the need to kill Julius Caesar (as he feels that Julius Caesar is becoming a dictator) and the desire not to take such a ruthless action against Caesar. He compares his mental state with that of a horrid dream or a nightmare because just like a nightmare scares a person and disturbs his state of mind - in the same way Brutus's state of mind is very disturbed. He is not able to think clearly. He is not even able to sleep.

iv.In the last lines of the extract, the mental condition of Brutus is compared to a civil war.Explain how the comparison is made.
The mental condition of Brutus is compared to that of a small kingdom.His mental state is compared to that of a revolt in a kingdom. Just like an "insurrection" (revolt) causes turmoil in a kingdom, the thought of killing Julius Caesar is causing a turmoil (insurrection) in Brutus's mind.

i.Who comes after this extract? How are they dressed? Who informs Brutus of their arrival?
The conspirator (other than Cassius) come after this extract. They are Trebonius,Decius Brutus,Casca,Cinna and Metellus Cimber. They are dressed to hide their faces.Their hats are pulled over their ears.Half their faces are hidden in their cloaks.They are dressed so that they cannot be recognized.Lucius the assistant of Brutus informs Brutus of their arrival.

ii.What is meant by the 'faction' and 'thy' dangerous brow?
'Faction' means people who are part of the conspiracy like Trebonius, Decius, Brutus, Casca, Cinna and Metellus Cimber. "Thy dangerous brow" refer to the face of the consipirators.The conspirators have covered their face so well that even their eye-brows are not visible.

iii.How does the conspiracy disguise itself at night and during the day?
The conspirators hide themselves in smiles and friendliness during the day.At night, when evil creatures roam freely, the conspirators disguise themselves by wearing hats will covers their heads till their ears and with cloaks which covers their faces.

iv.What is referred to as Erebus? If conspiracy were to appear with its 'native semblance on', what would happen?
Darkness is referred to as Erebus. Erebus is a mythical region where it is always pitch dark. Brutus means that if the conspirators did not disguise themselves (during the day or at night) not even the darkness of Erebus can prevent them from being detected as planning a conspiracy.

v.Why is it necessary to disguise the conspiracy? Give two of the precautions taken by the conspirators to hide the conspiracy.
It is necessary to disguise the conspiracy because if the conspiracy is known to others it is possible that their plans to kill Julius Caesar may leak to people who are friendly to Julius Caesar. This will ruin their chance to kill Julius Caesars. During the day the conspirators hide themselves in smiling and friendly faces. At night they hide themselves in hats which cover their ears and cloaks which cover their faces.

i. Who are referred to as the 'we'? What is 'our own cause'? State in your own words how the cause itself is a spur?
The 'we' are the group of conspirators. "Our own cause" refers to the plan hatched by the conspirators to kill Julius Caesar. The cause itself is the spur (motivation) to kill Julius Caesar. The cause itself is the spur because the cause was decided by the conspirators themselves. The cause was not imposed on them by somebody else. The conspirators had themselves decided that Julius Caesar would become a tyrant if the was crowned king.Therefore they had decided to kill Julius Caesar. Since they believed in the cause they were well motivated to execute the plan to kill Julius Caesar.

ii.Who had suggested the idea of taking an oath? Why did Brutus dismiss that idea.Was Brutus's decision wise? Why?
Cassius has suggested the idea of taking an oath. Brutus dismissed the idea of taking an oath as Brutus felt that "the cause itself was the spur". Brutus said that they were undertaking the conspiracy as they believed in the cause. He said that they (conspirators) believed that Julius Caesar would become a dictator once he was crowned king.He said that the group (of conspirators) was taking up the challenge of killing Caesar as they believe in the cause and were therefore bound by the cause so much that they did not require to take an oath. Brutus said that oaths are meant only for priests and cowards.
Brutus's decision was not wise. His decision was not wise because if they had taken the oath they would have been bound much better. They would have been able to include Cicero in their plans which would have helped them in the execution of their plans.

iii.Explain what is meant by 'honesty to honesty engage'd? Why is honesty very important for Brutus and his men?
"Honesty to honesty" engaged means one honest man committed to another honest man.That is, the commitment of all the conspirators to one another for executing the plan to kill Julius Caesar. Honesty is important for Brutus and his men because only if the conspirators are honest to one another will they be able to execute their plans. Brutus feels that if each member of the conspirators is honest to the other then they would not need to take an oath - which according to Brutus is only for Priest,cowards and untrustworthy men.

iv.Give the meaning of "that this shall be, or we will fall for it".
This means that Brutus and his co-conspirators have decided that they would either execute their task of killing Julius Caesar of they would die while executing their assignment of killing Julius Caesar.

v.According to Brutus, who normally takes an oath?
According to Brutus, only priests,cowards and untrustworthy men take oaths.They need to take an oath since these people do not trust each other.

vi. How does Brutus convince this group to uphold Roman nobility rather than depend on an oath.
Brutus tell the group that they are undertaking the task of killing Julius Caesar because they are convinced that this is required to save the common people of Rome from the tyranny of Julius Caesar. He tell them that when honest men set out to undertake an assignment they either complete it successfully or die while completing the task. He tells them that as long as they are convinced about the task on hand and its correctness and the benefits to the common people the task will bind the group. This binding is much stronger than an oath.

i.Who is 'him'. What did Brutus want to leave him out of? What reason had just been given in his favour?
The 'him' is a reference to Cicero. Brutus wants to leave him out of the conspiracy to kill Julius Caesar.Metellus was in the favour of including Cicero. He said that including Cicero would be beneficial as people would think think that the action of killing Julius Caesar has the blessings of a senior and elder person like Cicero. This would make the killing and death of the people more acceptable to the people.

ii.Explain "let us not break with him" Why does Brutus say this?
"Let us not break with him" means that Brutus does not want to share the plot to kill Julius Caesar with Cicero. Brutus does not want to share the plot with Cicero as Brutus feels that Cicero with not wholeheartedly participate in a plan which was not initiated by him.

iii.What is he meaning here of 'touch'd? Who else, does Cassius now mention, should be touch'd? What is his reason?
The meaning of being 'touch'd' is to be killed. Cassius mentions that Mark Anthony should be killed along with Julius Caesar.His reason for killing Mark Anthony is that he believes that Mark Anthony is a cunning plotter. He feels that after the death of Caesar Mark Anthony has the ability to harm them.

iv.Brutus over-rides Cassius.Why?
Brutus does not agree with Cassius that Mark Anthony too must be killed along with Julius Caesar.This is because Brutus feels that their objective was to end the tyranny of Julius Caesar. Brutus says that they must be 'sacrificers' (those who sacrificed Julius Caesar for the betterment of the people of Rome).He does not want them to be considered as butchers who killed for no significant reason

v.In his turn, Cassius does not agree with Brutus's ideas.State the objection put forth by Cassius and tell how his objection was later justified.
The objection put forward by Cassius to say that Brutus was not correct in deciding to kill Mark Anthony was that Mark Anthony had a deep rooted love for Julius Caesar.This deep rooted love for Caesar could cause them trouble once Julius Caesar was killed. However, Brutus disregarded this advice by saying that Mark Anthony was too fond of sports, merry making and friends to be of any serious threat to them.
We can say from the course of future events that Cassius was absolutely right. Because Mark Anthony was not killed with Caesar he revolted against the conspirators, after the death of Caesar, by instigating the people against the conspirators. He also teamed up the Octavius Caesar to wage a war against the conspirators. This was the war in which Brutus died.

i.What is the occasion for the dialogue?
The occasion for the dialogue is the discussion centered around the proposal by Cassius to kill Mark Anthony along with Julius Caesar. Cassius wants Mark Anthony to be killed along with Julius Caesar but Brutus is against it. Brutus prevails.

ii.What is meant by 'ingrafted' love.
Ingrafted love means deep love. According to Cassius Mark Anthony had a deeply rooted love for Julius Caesar.

iii.Name the person being talked about in the dialogue.
Mark Anthony is the person being talked in the dialogue.

iv.Why does Brutus dismiss Cassius' fear of that person?
Brutus dismisses Cassius's fear of Mark Anthony as Brutus says that even if Mark Anthony has deep-rooted love for Caesar then he would die of depression after hearing about the death of Julius Caesar. Brutus also felt that Mark Anthony was too fond of sports, merry-making and friends to do anything to rebel against the conspirators.

v. Which of the three men prove to be right and in what way?
Of the three men (Cassius, Brutus and Trebonius) Cassius was right. He was right that Mark Anthony would prove to be a thorn in their flesh. He was right that Mark Anthony had deep rooted love for Caesar. He was correct in saying that unless Mark Anthony was killed along with Caesar he would revolt against the conspirators. Brutus was completely wrong in not listening to the advice of Cassius.

i.Give the meaning of:'Dwell I but in the suburbs/of your good pleasure?
Portia asks Brutus if she live only in the outskirts of Brutus's affection. She wanted to know from Brutus why he appeared to be so disturbed. She was upset that Brutus was not letting her know the reason for his worries. She asked Brutus whether his not sharing his worries meant that Portia's role was restricted to just keeping him company at meals and talking with him sometimes.She wanted to know whether she was his wife or just his concubine.

ii.Explain briefly why Portia thinks that Brutus is worried about something?
Portia thinks that Brutus is worried.She thinks this for the following reasons:
- Brutus was out of the house very early in the morning exposing himself to the damp morning air with his jacket unfastened.
- He had left dinner the previous evening very abruptly and then was walking about thinking deeply sighing all the time.
- When Portia asked him what the matter was he looked at her unkindly.
- When Portia persisted in knowing what the matter was he signalled her to leave waving his hand angrily.

iii.What has Portia just said to indicate that she belongs to the inner circle of Brutus's life?
Portia said that she was Cato's daughter and Brutus' wife and thus she was entitled to know the secret that was worrying Brutus. She said that the position was not just of a woman who just kept him company at his meals,made his bed and talked to him occasionally.

iv. What does Brutus mean when he refers to the 'ruddy drops' and his 'sad heart'? Why is he feeling this despair.
Ruddy drops refers to the blood in Brutus' veins. 'Sad Heart' refers to the troubled state of mind of Brutus. He is in this state of despair because he has just taken the decision to kill Julius Caesar which is troubling him. He is also sad because he is not able to share this burden with his wife Portia.

v.Whose daughter is Portia? Why is she proud of being 'A woman well reputed'.
Portia is the daughter of Cato. She is proud of being a woman well reputed because whe is the daughter of Cato and the wife of Brutus. She is proud because she tell Brutus that she is stronger than other women. In order to prove this she inflicts an injury on her thigh and bear the pain without any treatment.

vi.What proof does Portia give of her strenght of character and power of endurance.
In order to give Brutus and indication of the strength of her charcter and her power of endurance she inflicts an injury on her thigh. She then endures this pain to prove to Brutus the strength of her character and the power of her endurance.

1 comment:

manju said...

can you please complete the answers of act 2 all scenes of julius caesar
i am also urgently looking for answers of poem king canute of icse syllabus
if you can reply at my e mail id
i will highly appreciate