Act II Review Questions

1. Why do the incidents of Scene I take place at night and on the last night before the Ides of March? Into what four divisions can Scene I be naturally divided?

These incidents take place on the last night before the Ides of March because they plan on killing Caesar the next day. They are sneaking around in the shadows of the night making their plans for the next day. Scene I can naturally be divided into these four divisions:

Brutus speaks to the audience/ himself and tires to convince himself that killing Caesar is indeed for the common good on Rome, not for his own selfish reasons.
The conspirators have a meeting about how they will proceed with the plan to kill Caesar. They work out all the details of the plan.
Portia confronts Brutus with reason and asks him about his strange behaviour, Portia knows when she is being lied to.

Brutus promises to tell her about his problems later because he interrupted by a knock on the door.Ligarius arrives late due to his sickness and speaks to Brutus. They leave together.
2. What evidence is there in Scene I that Brutus has been much perturbed about the problem of Caesar?

It is evident he has been perturbed about the problem involving Caesar because he hasn’t slept and he is going to his study where there are books so he can find answers.

3. By what line of reasoning does Brutus justify his decision to take part in the murder of Caesar? Do you believe his reasoning is sound or faulty?

“It must be by his death: and, for my part, I know no personal cause to spurn at him, but for the general.” Brutus says that he has no reason to kill Caesar for personal reasons, that he is killing Caesar for Rome. He is trying to prove that he is not killing Caesar for his own selfish reasons and that he not a murderer but a sacrificer. I believe that he truly believes that this is for the common good of Rome and that he is doing the right thing for the people. He has stayed true to this reasoning and I so no reason for him to change his ways now. Although, the commoners will not view this as a sacrifice they will see this as a murder.

4. Write down the talk, as you think it might have taken place, that went on between Brutus and Cassius while the other conspirators discussed the point of sunrise. (Use blank verse preferably, and try to catch the style of Shakespeare).

(Refer to Critical Response Assignment)

 

5. On what matters do you find Brutus and Cassius not in agreement after Brutus joins the conspiracy? How are their characters further revealed by the attitudes on these matters? How is the introduction of these points of dispute concerned with the development of the plot? Why do the conspirators permit Brutus to have his way on these issues?

Brutus believes that they should not take the oath, he wants to trust everyone and have everyone trust in him. Brutus wants everyone to be noble. Cassius wants to take the oath because he doesn’t trust everyone in the conspiracy and this way the men will stay true to their words. Brutus trusts others way to easily and Cassius is cautious when trusting others. The conspirators let Brutus have his way because tI believe they have a lot of faith in Brutus’s word and they probably did not even want to take an oath.

6. What dramatic purposes are served by the introduction of the conversation (a) between Brutus and Portia, (b) between Brutus and Caius Ligarius?

a) Conversation between Brutus and Portia

“Kneel not gentle Portia.” This shows that Brutus views them as equals shows that Portia is very good at using reason to persuade her husband
explains the relationship between Brutus and Portia and gives us an understanding of how they view one another.
b) Conversation between Brutus and Caius Ligarius: shows Ligarius’ dedication to the cause considering he comes even in sickness
makes the audience feel bad for Portia because Brutus leaves with Ligarius and Portia won’t get an explanation until after it’s too late and Caesar is already dead
shows that word of the conspiracy must be getting around for Caius to just show up unexpected
7. What is gained by reverting to the storm background in Scene 2?

The storm background sets the mood for the rest of scene 2, foreshadowing what is to come. It adds more suspense to the dreams Calpurnia speaks of in this scene. I also believe that it represents the storm before the calm, before everything will be calm Caesar must die and it will be messy but eventually it will resolve.

8. Where in Scene 2 do you find evidence of Caesar’s superstition, arrogance, fatalism, vacillation, susceptibility to flattery?

Superstition: “Go bid the priests do present sacrifice and bring me their opinions of success.” Caesar believes that by sacrificing a bull it will help tell what is happening with Calpurnia.
Arrogance: “The things that threaten’d me ne’er look’d but on my back; when they shall see the face of Caesar, they are vanished.” Caesar tells Calpurnia that no one would dare hurt him once they see his face.
Fatalism: “What can be avoided whose end is purposed by the mighty gods?” What ever the gods plan to happen is inevitable and there for there is no point in him not attending work.
Vacillation: Caesar tells Calpurnia that he will stay home from work that day but after being flattered by Decius he is easily convinced to go to work. He doesn’t stay true to his word.
Susceptibility: His plans were influenced so easily when the conspirators flattered him. He was not supposes to attend work that day but after Decius flattered him for a brief moment he was convinced that going to work was the right thing to do.
9. Compare the characters of Portia and Calpurnia.

Portia succeeds where Calpurnia fades. Portia was able to show reason in her argument with her husband and discovered that there was something wrong. Portia was able to get her husband to show respect towards her and treat her as an equal. Calpurnia was whiny and needy in her argument with Caesar however. When Calpurnia begged on her knees for Caesar to stay home he allowed her to beg. Instead of telling her to rise and treating her as an equal, like Brutus did to Portia, he left her on the ground as though she was bellow him. Both of these women wanted to keep their husbands safe, but Portia succeeded unlike Portia.

10. Discuss the thought in Caesar’s speech, beginning, “Cowards die many times before their deaths”.

It is saying that he is unsure of why other men fear death since only the mightiest and bravest die once, as well as the fact that death is unpredictable. Sometimes we see it coming and other times not so  much. The main point of this speech is that Caesar is trying to convince himself that he is not afraid of death, but we know that he truly is.

11. Is it good drama for Caesar to be represented at the end of Scene 2 as being so friendly towards those who are shortly to assassinate him?

Yes it was very dramatic for Caesar to act so friendly towards the conspirators at the end of scene 2. It’s ironic for Caesar to be acting all buddy buddy with the conspirators and wanting them to stay close to him when they are the ones trying to kill him.

12. If you were producing the play, would you include or omit the Artemidorus Scene? Why?

If I was producing this play I would include this scene. It makes the audience more suspicious of Antony and curious of why Artimidorus didn’t mention Antony in the letter even though he knows that Antony is indeed a shrewd contriver.

13. Define “suspense.” How is the suspense of Scene 4 increased over that of Scene 3?

Suspense: a state or feeling of excited or anxious uncertainty about what may happen. The suspense of scene 4 was increased over that of scene 3 because it starts off with Portia panicking and being very worried about what Brutus is doing right after we learn that Artemidorus has written a letter to Caesar.

14. Aside from the increased suspense in Scene 4 over that of Scene 3, why could this scene be less justifiably omitted from a stage presentation of the play than Scene 3?

Scene 3 could be justifiably omitted after being compared to scene 4 because scene 4 answers questions and forces us to ask new ones. It forces us to feel sorrow towards Portia and how her love for Brutus is pulling her apart. Scene 3 talks of things that we already knew and basically just restates the obvious. But it also intrigues us and asks knew questions which makes us want to read further.

 

 

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