Act III Review Questions

1. By what means is the suspense increased as Caesar goes towards the Capitol?

The suspense continually increases as the play progresses because of the dramatic irony We are all in on the plan to kill Caesar, even some random citizens but the only person who doesn’t know is Caesar. In one of his last scenes when he is walking to the Capitol, most of the conspirators are with him. Caesar believes that they are his good friends.  The conspirators are continually throwing hints as they talk with him about just how “good” they are. Not only is the walk to the Capitol suspenseful, but there is also a lot of irony present.

2. In the Popilius Lena incident how is Brutus made to appear in a better light than Cassius?

Because, Cassius immediately thinks up a lie and become very weary and uncomfortable. He acts irrationally without full acknowledgment of the situation. Brutus stays calm and doesn’t think much of it making him appear less suspicious.

3. “Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.” How is this statement applicable in the closing minutes of Caesar’s life?

Before the gods would kill anyone, there has to be something that makes them mad. This statement applies to the last words that Caesar says. He speaks about how he is greater than God and as constant as the north star. He shows his anger and hubris, and is quick tempered. Caesar’s statements show that the Gods would want him destroyed, as he is boastful and shows his pride.

4. How and why does Shakespeare make Caesar especially unappealing to us just before his assassination?

I believe that Shakespeare creates the most selfish speech Caesar has ever said right before the assassination because, as the play has gone on Caesar’s only getting worse, in the sense of thinking he still knowns best. We can see right through this though considering he is the most clueless character present in the play.

5. What words uttered by Brutus in the confusion after Caesar’s death best indicate the reason for his having joined the conspiracy?

After Caesar was dead a many people began to worry, but Brutus responded to their actions by saying, “stand still.” He would rather reflect on what has just happened and focus on the real reasons the conspirators were a part of the conspiracy. Brutus also quotes during his funeral speech, “Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more.” Right from the beginning Brutus always does what in best for the general good, whether the commoners see it or not. Joining the conspiracy and being apart of the assassination of Caesar was just another one of these times for Brutus.

6. What was the significance of the conspirators dipping their hands in Caesar’s blood?

Brutus wanted the men to bathe in the blood to make it appear like a ceremony and a sacrifice. This way the plebs would view them as sacrificers and not murderers.

7. How does Shakespeare reveal new depths to Antony’s character in the assassination scene?

To us Antony was a shrewd contriver who would have been happy to see Caesar killed. To most audience members he seemed clueless. But in the end, when we get a better look at him he is just completely insane. It appears he was a lot more loyal to Caesar then I thought and he was actually clueless the whole time.

8. Upon what prophecy has the plot of the play been built down to the point where Caesar is killed? Around what new prophecy uttered in this scene is the second half of the play likely to be built?

During the Feast Day of Lupercal I could tell that Brutus felt frustrated about Caesars decisions lately and couldn’t handle this for much longer. Cassius sneakily started gathering people who he thought were on the same page as him and Brutus, which was to kill Caesar. Once the conspiracy was formed there was little obstacles along the way, but it did eventually lead to the death of Caesar. Even before he could become a full-grown serpent, which was the goal all along.

The scene when Antony is on stage alone reveals a lot. We are told about what the future of this play consists of, which is very important since the first half of the play mainly evolved around Caesar, and Caesar alone. I do not know how the play will end, but I can predict that everything will get way worse for the next little while, until anything gets better.

9. Select at least two eulogistic remarks by Antony which reveals Caesar in a light distinctly different from that in which the conspirators viewed him. Do you think that public men of today are regarded with such a divergence of opinion as was Caesar?

Antony tries to use Caesar’s greatness, such as bringing slaves home to Rome, as an example of how “good” he was. Mark Antony does this in order to persuade the plebs into thinking that the assassination was a murderous act rather than a sacrifice like Brutus just mentioned. Honourable and ambitious are repeated thoroughly throughout his speech and he was continually flipping the means of them. At the end of Antony’s rant it is obvious that he was trying to make Brutus’ honour sound bad, and Caesar’s ambition good. Which is false, and the complete opposite of what Brutus said before he spoke.

Like any other situation when there are people with higher power, especially through politics, there will always be people who disagree or feel differently about a political leader than majority of the population. Not everyone is going to be satisfied all the time. With that being said I do think that there are other public men of today who are regarded with such a divergence opinion towards others.

10. Contrast the respective attitudes of Brutus and Cassius towards Antony in the latter part of Scene I. What evidence is there in the scene that Cassius’ attitude is justified?

Cassius has feared Antony for a while. Now that Caesar is dead, he is even more concerned about where Antony’s behaviour will take him, and possibly the rest of Rome. Even after Caesar is dead Brutus does not see Mark Antony as a threat, only laugher. Tension grows between Brutus and Cassius especially when Brutus continues to give Antony bargains. I believe that a time will come when Cassius can confidently go up to Brutus and say I told you so, or prove just how correct he was about Antony.

11. What significance do you attach to the announcement at the end of the scene that Octavius is nearing Rome?

The significance of announcing that Octavius is on is way to Rome, is more so there to increase suspense and cause Antony to panic. He is feeling very hubris; proud/confident at the end of his speech and is then given bad news. Therefore, changing his mood again, and drawing the audience in closer.

12. Write out (preferably blank verse) Cassius’ speech to the mob as you think he might have delivered it in the “other street.”

I believe that he would have echoed Brutus and Antony’s speech to be identical as they would have said them, since he wasn’t given permission to give his personal opinion. Cassius’ jobs was to only speak the same words to his mob of people, that were being spoken to the other mob. I think that he will fulfill his duty in doing just this.

13. Write a precis of Brutus’ address to the crowd. What qualities are evident in Brutus’ speech that are lost in a precis?

Brutus’ funeral speech is very surprising to us since his speech does not follow the Shakespearean style. It looks raw, unfinished, broken, and improvised. It’s very poor considering Brutus is suppose be an exceptionally good speaker considering his profession.

14. Why did Shakespeare have the crowd express approval at the end of Brutus’ speech?

Shakespeare made the crowd look like they approved what Brutus was saying because they always do as they are told. Also, it will make Brutus feel as though he has accomplished what he had hoped, by saying a great speech and getting all the plebs on his side, but then Antony will turn the plebs on his sad displaying more of Brutus’s tragedy.

15. Trace the stages by which Antony in his speech gradually turned the mob against the conspirators.

First, Antony questioned the plebs on why they attended the parade. The only answer given was because they were told too. If they will always do what they are told, why shouldn’t they listen to Antony’s plan of revenge

Second, even though Brutus said a few minutes ago that the assassination was a sacrifice, he also refused the crown. Antony is now standing before them saying that the death of Caesar was a murderous act and war should strike out against the conspirators. The commoners know nothing else, but to do as they are told. Since Antony understands this he will use it to his advantage and get them on his side.

Third, Mark Antony tells the plebs that he has Caesar’s will. Us, as the audience, wonder if this could be true, but in a few short lines we justify that it is not. The clueless commoners stay intrigued in the rest of his speech just so they can find out what it is Caesar has in his ‘fake’ will.

16. What are some of the devices – other than that of argument itself – by which Antony influenced his listeners?

The main device used to influence Antony’s audience was when he was waving around the fake will, that he claimed he’d found in Caesar’s closet.

17. “The behaviour of the mob in this scene of the speeches links naturally with its behaviour in Act I, Scene I.” Discuss.

The mobs behaviour at the funeral, links very well with their actions at the parade, because they are displaying their nature of doing exactly what they are told, when they are told without thinking anything through. Caesar told them to take a day off work to celebrate his victory and they did so without realizing that they wouldn’t get paid for anything that day. Now at the funeral Brutus says it was a sacrifice and they offer him the crown, but Antony takes the stage next to say the complete opposite and they cheer for his ‘wise words’ as well. I personally don’t like majority of the plebs and feel as though they add more conflict to any situation.

18. “The dramatic crisis is that point in a play where the rising action ceases and the falling action begins.” Where in Scene I or Scene 2 of Act 3 would you say the dramatic crisis occurs? Why do modern plays have this point much later than the mechanical center of the play?

The dramatic crisis appears after Caesar is dead and Antony is on stage alone. He tells us exactly what his wishes are for the future. I’m not sure if I can speak for others, but I do know that Antony went from being someone I was curious in getting to know more, to a psychotic figure. This happens in the blink of an eye and doesn’t seem to be letting up any time soon. I believe that in these days modern plays have this “crisis point” much later, because by the time you get to it the outcome is normally predictable. You have to be a very good writer, such as Shakespeare, to be able to get to one of these points and still leave us completely lost in how the play will end.

19. What dramatic purposes are served by the third scene of Act 3?

The third scene shows us the murderous mindset that Antony has placed upon the plebs. Even though the commoners know who was on the conspiracy according to Antony’s list, they still killed Cinna the poet anyways. Antony’s behaviour that has appeared since the death of Caesar is beyond ridiculous to me, and it is even more upsetting that it has rubbed off on the plebs.

 

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