(Julius Caesar Act III,Scene II. Question taken from the Julius Caesar workbook by Xavier Pinto, published by Morning Star.Suitable for ICSE students of class X)
1(i) Brutus is at the marketplace. He is about to address the citizen of Rome to give an explanation to them about why he and his associates killed Julius Caesar. He asked the people assembled there to be patient so that they can listen to him fully before making any judgement on the act of killing Julius Caesar. This speech is made on after the killing of Julius Caesar just before his funeral.
1(ii) Honour was important for Brutus for he considered himself to be fair and impartial. He also considered himself to act in the best interests of the citizens of Rome. In order to be honourable, Brutus allowed Mark Anthony to address the citizens of Rome at the funeral of Caesar. Had he not been honourable he would not have allowed Mark Anthony this privilege to addressing the citizens since he had been warned by Cassius that Mark Anthony speech could cause trouble for the conspirators. His commitment to honour lead Brutus to a crisis because after hearing the speech of Mark Anthony, the citizens of Rome turned against Brutus and his fellow conspirators.
1(iii) “Hear me for my cause” His cause was the prevention of the enslavement of the people of Rome in the hands of Julius Caesar. Brutus’s motives were genuine. We can say this for the following reason:
- Brutus truly believed that Caesar would become a tyrant once he was crowned as the Emperor of Rome.
- Brutus had no personal motive in the killing of Julius Caesar. That is why he did not object when Mark Anthony spoke of Caesar in glowing terms, after he was killed.
- Brutus was respectful of all people. We can note from his interaction, with his wife Portia, that he had a lot of respect for women, in a society which did not respect women too much.
- Brutus had no personal enemity with Caesar. In fact he had a lot of respect for Caesar in many ways.
1(iv) The reaction of the listeners at the beginning of the scene, when Brutus address the audience, is one of agreement with the reasoning given by Brutus for the killing of Julius Caesar. At the end of the scene the reaction of the audience changes completely. From agreement to the killing of Caesar it changes to hate for the conspirators. The change of attitude is a result of the speech of Mark Anthony. He convinced the audience that Caesar was neither greedy nor did he lust for power. So convincing was his oratory that the citizens of Rome decided to finish off Brutus and his fellow conspirators.
1(v) “Censure me in your wisdom”. Brutus tell this to the citizens of Rome. He means that, after hearing his reasons for the killing of Caesar if the citizens disagree with reasons they may punish Brutus for the killing. The citizens of Rome passed censure on him. This censure changed the course of action in the play since, Brutus instead of becoming hero for the killing of Caesar, is treated like the villain who wrongly killed Julius Caesar.
2(i) Brutus intended to depart alone because he was convinced that the citizens or Rome were in agreement with the reasons for the killing of Julius Caesar. He did not see any need to stay back to hear Mark Anthony as the did not anticipate any trouble after Mark Anthony speech.
2(ii) This means the Brutus urged the people of Rome to stay back after his speech in order to pay respect to Caesar’s death by spending a little more time with his dead body as well as to stay back to listen to Mark Anthony tribute to Caesar.
2(iii) The explanation that Brutus gave in his speech for the murder of Caesar are as under :
- he said Caesar would have made the citizens of Rome his slaves on becoming the Emperor.
- He said that Caesar was greedy for power.
The reaction of the listeners to this was of complete agreement with the reasoning of Brutus. They agreed with the reasons and the need for the death to Caesar.
2(iv) Anthony was given permission by Brutus, to speak. The conditions under which Anthony was allowed to speak are as under :
• Anthony should not blame Brutus and his friends for the death of Caesar.
• That Anthony should speak from the same pulpit from which Brutus would speak.
• That Anthony should speak only after Brutus had finished speaking.
2(v)Caesars glories that Anthony would refer to in his speech later are:
• He was faithful and fair to his friends.
• He worked hard to fill the fill the government treasury.
• He was not greedy for power. He refused the crown thrice during the feast of Lupercal.
His objective behind the speech is to generate sympathy for Caesar and to turn public opinion against Brutus and his friends.
3(i) As Anthony ascends to the platform to speak the citizens were all praise for Brutus and wanted to carry him to his home, make his statue and make him Caesar. They felt that Caesar was ruthless, greedy and ambitious and that he was rightly killed. They were neutral about Anthony and did not know what to expect from Anthony. They expected Anthony to be anti Brutus.
3(ii) The citizens stayed behind to listed to Anthony only because Brutus had asked them to do so. At the beginning of Anthony speech the citizens were a little suspicious of the intentions of Anthony. However, by the end of Anthony’s speech all the suspicions disappeared and they approved of what Anthony spoke.
3(iii) This means that the good deeds that a person does during his lifetime is not recognized and the wrongs that they do is highlighted.
3(iv) The evil that Caesar did that lives after him are :
• He was considered to be greedy.
• He was considered to be power hungry.
• It was said that he wanted enslave the people of Rome after becoming Emperor.
The two examples of good done by Caesar are:
• He brought prisoners of war with him to Rome so that other nations would pay money to Rome to have them freed.
• He, in his will, had given every citizen of Rome seventy-five drachmas.
3(v) Anthony say “the noble Brutus” because Brutus had completed this speech before Anthony has begun his speech. Brutus’s speech had generated a lot of respect for him and public opinion was in favour of Brutus. In order not to earn the wrath of the audience, Anthony addressed Brutus respectfully as noble Brutus. He uses the term “if it were so” because he did not agree with the assessment of Brutus that Caesar was ambitious. Anthony could not have been frank about his remark since in the beginning of Anthony’s speech the mood of the audience was overwhelmingly in favour of Brutus and against Anthony.
3(vi) I admire Anthony at this juncture because against all odds and in the presence of Brutus and other conspirators he had to generate sympathy for Caesar. The acceptance of the reasoning given by Brutus of the killing of Caesar had make Anthony’s job even more difficult. However, Anthony, without antagonizing Brutus and his men got them to give him a change to address the audience. When he got the chance to address the audience – the gently reminded them of all that Caesar had done for them. He told the audience about Caesar’s will – that Caesar had willed his fortune to the people of Rome. This generated sympathy for Caesar and turn the tide against Brutus and his men.
4(i). The testament refers to the “will” of Caesar. “Commons are the citizens of Rome.
4(ii) The means that once the citizens of Rome realize what Caesar had written in his will they would be ashamed that they did not mourn the death of their leader. Anthony told the Citizens of Rome that if they knew what Caesar had for them in his will they would kiss the dead Caesars wounds dip their napkins in his blood as a mark of respect. They would beg to get a strand of his hair and keep this strand of his hair like a heirloom and pass it on to subsequent generations of their families.
4(iii) Anthony uses hyperbolic expressions like “sacred blood”, kiss dead Caesars wounds” The effect that this language has on the commons is that they are swayed by the oration of Anthony and their mood changes. From support for the killing of Caesar, the mood of the audience changes to sympathy for Caesar and contempt for the conspirators.
4(iv) The two reasons why the commons would dip their napkins in Caesars blood and beg a hair of his are as under :
- because they now viewed Caesars death as a sacrifice and as a result his blood and hair was viewed as holy.
- They would dip their napkin in Caesars blood and beg for his hair as an mark of respect to Caesar and as a sign of atonement for having earlier supported his killing.
Caesars blood was considered holy since the had sacrificed his life for the people of Rome. Sacrificial blood was considered holy then.
4(v) Other than the “will” Anthony showed the audience the cloak that Caesar wore for the first time when he conquered Nervii. He also showed them the dagger that Cassius used to stab Caesar. He pointed out to the Romans how mutilated the body of Caesar had become. This incited the commons because they, upon seeing these thing, now realized that Caesar was killed unfairly.
4(vi) Anthony cleverly played on the emotion of people to make them react as he desired. He began by showing a lot of respect to Brutus and his men as the mood among the audience was one of agreement to what Brutus had done. Later, he cleverly gave examples to the audience of why Caesar was neither greedy, ambitious or that he had any intention to enslave people after becoming Emperor. He told his audience that, after a person’s death, the evil he had done is remembered. Using this as the pretext he reminded the audience of the good that Caesar had done for the welfare of Romans. This influenced the audience in favour of Caesar. He couched his praise for Caesar by saying that he was upset with the death of Caesar therefore was very sentimental. He cleverly asked the audience why they were not mourning for Caesar and if there was something wrong with their sense of judgement. He brought our the issue of Caesars will to show to the people that Caesar was generous and had asked for his fortune to be divided among Romans. These issues generated a lot of sympathy for Caesar and the opinion of the audience shift from hatred for Caesar to sympathy for Caesar.
5(i) The wounds of Caesar are referred to as poor dumb mouths because they are not able to tell the world the brutal manner of Caesars death caused by people who Caesars loved and trusted. Mark Anthony, in order to incite (anger) people told them if he had been Brutus he would have ensure that every wound in Caesar’s body would have been given a tongue to tell the world how Caesar was killed through treachery. Anthony cleverly tell the people, using Brutus as the shield, how they must react to the brutal killing of Caesar.
5(ii) In order to say that there should be mutiny on Caesars death, Anthony cleverly says that if he and Brutus had exchanged places, Brutus would have talked about every wound in Caesar’s body to generate sympathy for Caesar and would have incited the citizens of Rome to revolt against the conspirators.
5(iii) Anthony indirectly says that if he were Brutus, he would have ensured that all wounds in Caesars body would have spoken about the unjust and inhuman manner in which Caesar was killed. The irony of the words in this extract is that he uses Brutus as a shield (saying “ if he were Brutus”) incite the people of Rome to mutiny.
5(iv) The mob leaves the scene in a destructive mood. They leave with sympathy for Caesar and contempt for the conspirators. They decided to loot and burn everything in their path. They decided to burn the conspirators. After the departure of he mob Anthony says the Goddess fortunate is with him and that the Goddess would grant him anything given the mood of the people. The then asks the servant to take him to Octavius.
5(v) At the end of the scene, Anthony decides to go to Caesars place where Octavius and Lepidus are waiting. Brutus and Cassius had to flee Rome in order to escape the fury of the mob.
5(vi)The tactics that Anthony used to make the common people slaves of passion and resentment are :
- Continuously referring to the goodness and greatness of Caesar. This make the Romans believe that Caesar was unfairly killed.
- Not directly criticizing Brutus and his team of conspirators. This leads the Romans to believe that Mark Anthony had no ulterior motives in praising Caesar.
- Constantly referring to the wound on the body of Caesar, thereby creating sympathy for Caesar.
- Referring to the will of Caesar to prove that Caesar was not greedy but wanted good things for the people of Rome and that is the reason why he had willed seventy five drachmas for every citizen of Rome.