Sunday, August 17, 2008

Julius Caesar - Act III, Scene III

(Julius Caesar Act III Scene III.Questions taken from the Julius Caesar workbook by Xavier Pinto published by Morning Star.Suitable for class X, ICSE students)

1(i) Cinna was a poet who lived in Rome. His name was the same as that of a conspirator in the group of Brutus. He wandered forth (went out ) even though he did not want to. He felt that a strange power was compelling him to go out. He dreamt that night that he had a feast with Caesar.

1(ii)” Things unluckily charge my fantasy” means that Cinna saw some unlucky omens in his dreams. The ironical thing about this statement is that normally one sees only good things in a fantasy. A fantasy is usually associated with desirable things.

1(iii) Cinna had no desire to go out as he had seen some bad omens in his dreams. This extract shows that people in the Elizabethan age were very superstitious and believed that what they saw in their dream indicated events of the future.

1(iv) The mob asked Cinna questions like :
- are you married or a bachelor?
- What is your name?
- Where are you going?
- Are you Caesars friend or foe?
- Where do you live?

1(v) The mobs reaction to his answers was calm till he told them that his name was Cinna. The moment they learnt that he was Cinna the mood of the mob turned destructive and they decided to kill him immediately. Even after Cinna clarified that he was Cinna the poet and not the Cinna conspirator, the mob did not relent and killed Cinna.

1(vi) Shakespeare has given only a brief description of the actions of a frenzied mob. He has not described the gory (terrible) action of the frenzied mob in detail.

2(i) The mob which is trying to seek out Brutus and the conspirators ask Cinna all the questions. Upon hearing that the name of the person was Cinna – which is also the name of one of the conspirators in Brutus’s group – they become confused and irrational and attack Cinna to kill him.

2(ii) This conclusion is not logical because Cinna had only said in jest “cleverly I am not married” . Cinna did not intend to say or mean that those who marry are fools.

2(iii) The pun intended in the word “ directly” is that the mob wanted Cinna to give them a straight forward answer as well as look at them “directly”in their eyes while answering. Those who look at people in the eyes directly do not lie.

2(iv) It was unfortunate for the man to have Cinna as his name since Cinna was also the name of one of the conspirators and the mob was in a destructive mood and did not care to distinguish the fact that this Cinna was a poet who has no role in the conspiracy. The citizens dealt with him by killing him.

2(v) The scene tell us that a lot of destruction and death was about to follow as a result of the speech of Mark Anthony.

2(vi) The significance of this short scene in the play is that it set the mood and expectation of the reader of what is about to follow. Dramatically, it change the mood of the play from being conspiratorial (planning the killing ) to more action oriented like causing death and destruction.

(Useful web resource on Julius Caesar :

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