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Julius Caesar Study Questions
Andrew Kokanoutranon

Julius Caesar Study Questions

15. On his arrival at the Senate, Caesar has 30 lines (Act III Scene 1, lines 35-48; 58-73) to speak before Casca strikes his first blow.  Find examples in those lines of:

 

a.       his pomposity – Caesar says he is not a rebel and that he is too good and important to be ordinary

 

b.      his vanity – He thinks he is too good for “these couchings and these lowly courtesies.”

 

c.       his arrogance – Caesar thinks he has not done anything wrong to deserve this

 

d.      his affection – Caesar cannot take the stab of Brutus because he trusted and loved Brutus

 

e.       his prideHe is above the “ordinary man”

 

 

9. In his address to the mob in the forum (Act III Scene 2, lines 12-44), Brutus speaks in prose, not blank verse.  His words have been described as “a lecture”.

 

a.       Show from the speech that Brutus knows he enjoys the respect of Roman citizens.

 

            Brutus wants honor from the people and he get it by praising Caesar and having the crowd cheer for him

 

b.      Show that he believes the crowd is capable of making rational and just decisions.

 

            Brutus asks the audience “Who is here so rude that would not be a Roman?” and “Who is here so vile that will not love his country?” and of course no one in the audience wants to be the rebel so they agree to Brutus and praises him.

 

c.       Show that his speech is based on an appeal to reason and logic.

 

            Brutus speaks of Caesar’s death with reason and logic by telling the audience that it was   for the best for Rome which makes sense in this case.

 

d.      Show that he is proud of his patriotism and his republicanism.

 

            Brutus praises Caesar as if his death was for the better, and Brutus shows that he cares more about Rome and that Rome should care less about Caesar.

 

e.       Show that he wishes to act magnanimously.  Comment on the wisdom of his approach and assumptions.  Do you think it is reasonable to describe him as politically na´ve?

 

            Brutus praises Caesar, rallies up the audience, and speaks of his good experiences with Caesar. I think that Caesar is na´ve for even letting Antony speak, even though he had the crowd within his hands but he blew it by letting Antony make his speech.

 

6. In Act II Scene I, in which Cassius wins over Brutus to the conspiracy, show evidence of

 

a.       his tact – Cassius tells Brutus that his is very noble and that he should do what’s right for Rome

 

b.      his ability to strike the right note when making his approach – Cassius approaches Brutus with charm and makes Brutus feel more important than he really is.

 

c.       His willingness to take a second place when it suits him – Cassius wanted to kill both Caesar and his right hand man, Antony, but makes final that he’ll only assassinate Caesar and not Antony.

 

 

4. Antony shows a masterly control over the fickle nature of the common people.

 

a.       Before Antony ascends to the Public Chair to make his oration, which remark typifies the commoners’ dull-wittedness?

           

            Antony says “For Brutus' sake, I am beholding to you” which confuses the crowd.

 

b.      Whereas Brutus’s speech appealed to the intellect, Antony’s is emotional.  He ends his opening remarks by choking back tears.  How do the people react?

 

            The people take the side of Antony because he plays with their emotions and the people’s emotion overcome their reason.

 

c.       Marullus says of the commoners, “You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things” (Act I Scene I, line 36).  Antony says, “You are not wood, you are not stones, but men” (Act III Scene I, line 140).  Explain why Antony’s oratorical approach shows a greater understanding of crowd psychology.

 

            Antony makes the audience feel as though they were important and appreciated. Antony knows that the crowds aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed and that he can play with their emotions. 

 

d.      Why does Antony mention the will to the crowd, but decline at first to read it?

 

            Antony mentions to the crowd Caesar’s will to get their respect and attention.

 

g.   The commoners forget the will till Antony reminds them of it (line 236).  What does this tell us of their powers of concentration?

 

            The commoners’ powers of concentration are very weak and dull; they depend on their emotions to make decisions instead of their reasoning and intellects.

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