1. What purposes are served by having the citizens appear in the opening scene of the play?
Having the citizens in the beginning in the scene shows how much the citizens of Rome love and worship Caesar because they believe what they are told (epicureans). It also lays out the major conflict of the play that is people disliking Caesar and people liking Caesar and all od the different opinions and views currently in Rome.
2. What special contribution does the Second Citizen make to the appeal of the scene?
The second citizen fills Marullus and Flavius in on why they out celebrating instead of working. This reveals how Marullus and Flavius are very stoic and are not in favor of people not going to work just to celebrate Caesar’s victory. The second citizen also adds some humorous effect to this scene which diffuses the seriousness the other characters provide.
3. Define “pun.” Give two instances of the use of the pun by the Second Citizen.
A pun is a joke exploiting the different possible meanings of a word or the fact that there are words that sound alike but have different meanings. The second citizen shows the use of a pun when he says he is “a mender of bad souls” and again when he refers to fixing Marullus’s soul, when he really means the sole of his shoe.
4. What do you learn from the first scene of the conditions in Rome?
The people in Rome are either on Pompey’s side and are Stoics, or else are on Caesar’s side and are Epicureans.The stoics are the ones who believe everything happens for a reason and wants to know the reason for everything. The epicureans are very naive making it easy for Caesar to appeal to them and convince the people to follow him. Rome at this time is also split up into 3 classes, the patricians, the plebs, and the slaves. The patricians were the only ones who were able to vote at this time and were the only ones who could afford to be a part of government and own land. On those who were wealthy took part in government. The underclass (plebs) didn’t own anything and couldn’t vote. Slaves were won in battle, traded, and given as gifts and played with as toys.
5. By what devices has Shakespeare made Marullus’ long speech to the citizens a most inspiring one?
Shakespeare makes Marullus’ speech inspiring by displaying the loyalty Marullus’ has towards Pompey and by having Marullus refuses to leave his job to celebrate the arrival of Caesar. It inspires the audience to stay true to what they believe in no matter how many others are doing the opposite. He tells the citizens to go to their homes and pray to be forgiven because of how easily persuaded they were to flood the streets to worship Caesar on such a holy day when they should be celebrating the Feast of Lupercal.
6. Do you think the play gains from having Caesar introduced only indirectly in Scene I and then directly in Scene 2? Discuss.
Yes, by indirectly introducing Caesar in the first scene it allows the audience to begin imagining who Caesar is and how he acts. It also gives us and idea of how the other characters in the play think of Caesar and how different people have different opinions of him. It gives us a sense of curiosity to learn more about this character encouraging us to read on. When he is directly introduced in scene 2 it shows us who Caesar really is and why the Characters feel the way they do about him.
7. How would you stage the opening scene if you were directing a production of the play?
If I was the director of the production of this play I would have had the scene start off with Marullus and Flavius standing on the streets away from the rest of the people gathering to welcome and congratulate Caesar. Then I would have the plebs interact with them on the way to the celebration.
8. Why is it fitting that Caesar’s first appearance should be in the Feast of Lupercal procession?
It is fitting for Caesar’s first appearance to be during the Feast of Lupercal because he is making people go against tradition and celebrate his victory on this day when the people should be celebrating the feast instead. It also forces those who do not follow Caesar to laugh and smile because it is part of the festival, even though he has just defeated Ponpey who they should be mourning. It shows that Caesar has the power in his hands and makes it seem as though he is mocking the Stoics who do not follow him.
9. How does Shakespeare make dramatic the introduction of the Soothsayer?
Shakespeare makes the introduction of the Soothsayer dramatic by having the Soothsayer call out Caesar in a large crowd as if the message was so important that he couldn’t wait to tell him in private.
10. Which speeches of Cassius and Brutus inform us that Brutus has been disturbed recently by conditions in Rome?
In scene two Cassius is trying to convince Brutus to join the conspiracy against Caesar without directly telling him his true plans. It is obvious that Brutus is unhappy with how Rome is being run and he can see what is going to happen to it if Caesar gains more power than he already has, he affirms this when he says: “I do fear, the people choose Caesar for their king!”. It is clear that Brutus is considering murdering Caesar when he says “I have good aim.”
11. Why was the day of the Feast of Lupercal an opportune time for Cassius to approach Brutus on the subject of Caesar?
Because Cassius knew that Brutus would already be upset that Caesar was arriving in this holy day. This would make it that much easier to persuade him to join him in murdering Caesar.
12. What traits in the character of Brutus provide Cassius with soul to work on when he endeavours to turn Brutus against Caesar?
Brutus will do anything that benefits the general good, Cassius is confident he convince Brutus this is for the general good. Also, Brutus is seen as a very honourable Roman and respected by the people of Rome. This might make it easier to put more of the blame of the murder on Brutus because he might be more easily forgiven.
13. What features do you find in the character of Cassius that are not evident in that of Brutus?
Cassius wants to kill Caesar for his own selfish reasons whereas Brutus wants to do it for the common good of the people. Brutus portrays more selfless characteristics whereas Cassius is almost polar opposite.
14. What do we learn of Cassius, of Antony, and of Caesar himself from Caesar’s famous speech beginning, “Would he were fatter”?
The meaning of Caesar saying he needs to be fatter is that he needs to be dumber and less observant. It is said that Epicureans are fat and dumb and the Stoics are skinny and smart. Caesar is worried about Cassius and how smart he is and confronts Antony about it. Antony dismisses it though and convinces Caesar that he doesn’t have to worry about Cassius. This makes Antony either the dumbest guy in Rome or the smartest guy in Rome. The fact that Caesar is so quick to trust Antony without question shows that he is a true epicurean, believing whatever he is told.
15. What is gained or lost by having Casca tell of the offering of the crown to Caesar rather than by having the incident take place on stage?
By having Casca tell of the offering of the crown to Caesar rather than the incident taking place on stage we are able to hear the other characters opinions and thoughts of the incident, how they really feel rather than how they would act when put on the spot in front of a large amount of people. Also by it not taking place on stage don’t get to know how the plebs would have reacted what Caesar was really thinking when he was offered the crown. Also, Casca was probably the worst person to choose to rely on getting information from others because he can’t speak Greek.
16. Define “soliloquy.” Why is the soliloquy seldom used in modern drama? Mention at least two purposes it serves when used in the final speech of Scene 2.
Soliloquy is an act of speaking one’s thoughts aloud when by oneself or regardless of any hearers, especially by a character in a play. This is seldomly used in modern drama purely for the fact that they have become outdated. It does however serve purpose when used in Cassius’s speech because it allows us to kind of step back and see what Cassius is truly thinking compared to what he is saying to the other characters.
17. How does Cicero serve as a foil for Casca in the Storm Scene?
Cicero acts as a foil for Casca by explaining to him that all of these “signs” and unusual events are all signs that the execution of Caesar is what they need to do and what the God’s want them to do. He calms down Casca and allows him to interpret these signs as favourable towards them.
18. Why does Shakespeare introduce the prodigies described by Casca? Do you know of any other Shakespearean play that resorts to the use of unnatural happenings for a similar purpose?
Casca introduces the prodigies because he is not smart enough to think of them as more than strange weather, and bad stories. This allows the audience to interpret the storm in their own because Casca doesn’t really give a concrete reason for these events. I haven’t read any other plays written by Shakespeare so I would not know of any other instances like this.
19. Why is Cassius seeking to have Caesar destroyed? What is your opinion of the means to which he resorts to gain his ends?
Cassius is seeking to have Caesar destroyed because Cassius is jealous of Caesar’s power, he knows that Caesar is capable of making it all the way to the top and he does not believe that he deserves to. Cassius plans on getting what he wants by convincing other people to join him in the conspiracy. He will then use those people to do his dirty work. His final goal is to have Caesar killed. It’s hard to have an opinion about the means he wishes to resort because in Rome 44BC killing people was more accepted. Obviously I think killing him is not the answer, especially manipulating others to join him in the killing.
How far has the First Act advanced the plot of the play?
The first act had advanced the plot of the play a lot by introducing us to different characters and the relationships the obtain with each other. And we have been introduced to conspiracy that is forming to kill Julius Caesar. It has barely given the audience time to have their opinions/ beliefs straightened out before something changes your opinion. The first act has advanced the play a significant amount.