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Julius Caesar. Act One Review . Act One, Scene One. The Role of “mob mentality” or “mob psychology” in the play. Flavius and Marullus (disgruntled patricians). Use of “pun”: A trade, sir, that, I hope, I may use with a safe conscience; which is indeed, sir, a mender of bad soles. .

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julius caesar

Julius Caesar

Act One Review

act one scene one
Act One, Scene One
  • The Role of “mob mentality” or “mob psychology” in the play.
  • Flavius and Marullus (disgruntled patricians).
  • Use of “pun”: A trade, sir, that, I hope, I may use with a safe conscience; which is indeed, sir, a mender of bad soles.
cause for celebration
Cause for Celebration
  • Caesar’s defeat over Pompey:

Angers the ruling power of Rome.

Flavius: These growing feathers pluck’d from Caesar’s wing / Will make him fly to an ordinary pitch, / Who else would soar above the view of men / And keep us all in servile fearfulness.

act one scene two
Act One, Scene Two
  • The Feast of Lupercal:
  • Introduction to Caesar:
  • Beware the ides of March!
  • Caesar’s response to the soothsayers warning.
  • Brutus, I do observe you now of late: / I have not from your eyes that gentleness / And show of love as I was wont to have: / You bear too stubborn and too strange a hand / Over your friend that loves you (1.2, l.36-40)(13).
  • Why does Shakespeare introduce us to Cassius this way? How is this passage more about Cassius then Brutus?
  • Cassius remarks after Brutus tells him that no one can see their own eyes except through their own reflection in a looking class:

I have heard / Where many of the best respect in Rome, / Except immortal Caesar, speaking of Brutus, / And groaning underneath this age’s yoke, / Have wish’d that noble Brutus had his eyes.

(Act 1.2, l.64-67) (15)

B&N (55 , l.60-64)

  • Cassius flatters Brutus further:

I your glass / Will modestly discover to yourself / That of yourself which you yet know not of. (Act 1.2, l.73-75) (15)

  • Why should Brutus believe in Cassius? Cassius supports himself by saying that he is not one to ordinarily “hug [men] hard” or “profess [himself] in banqueting”.
  • What means this shouting? I do fear, the people / Choose Caesar for their king. (1.2, l.84-85)
  • What does Brutus reveal about himself in this passage? How has Cassius led him to this confession?
brutus characterization true to history
Brutus Characterization: True to History?
  • Set honor in one eye and death i’ th’ other, / And I will look on both indifferently: / For let the gods so speed me as I love / The name of honor more than I fear death. (Act 1.2, l.91-95)(17) B&N (57, l.88-91)
  • How does Shakespeare intend for you to look at this character? How do these lines contribute to your perspective on Brutus?
  • Was it difficult for Cassius to get the proper information about of Brutus?
  • Asimov’s Guide to Shakespeare – Settling the score on Brutus. (264-265,272-273)
cassius characterization
Cassius Characterization
  • (Act 1.2, l.96-137) I had as lief not to be as live to be / In awe of such a thing as I myself.
  • (l.121-124) …And this man / Is now become a god, and Cassius is / A wretched creature, and must bend his body / If Caesar carelessly but nod on him.
  • (l.141-148)Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world / Like a Colossus, and we petty men / Walk under his huge legs and peep about / To find ourselves dishonorable graves. / Men at some point are masters of their fates: / The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, / But in ourselves, that we are underlings./ Brutus and Caesar what should be in that Caesar? / Why should that name be sounded more than yours? / Write them together, yours is as fair a name…
  • What is Cassius’ general argument against Caesar?
  • How does it perhaps differ from that of Brutus?
cassius final call to brutus
Cassius final call to Brutus
  • There was a Brutus once that would have brook’d / The eternal devil to keep his state in Rome / As easily as a king. (l.165-167)(21)
  • How might these words motivate Brutus differently than any of Cassius’ previous tactics?
cassius characterization1
Cassius Characterization
  • Caesar remarks to Mark Antony (Antonius): Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; / He thinks too much: such men are dangerous. (l.200-201)(23)
  • Cassius personifies the traditional Roman male of his time period. Roman men were not typically “happy-go-lucky” or typically gregarious.
  • Caesar is depicted with sort of a “wooden” appearance in the story as well. This is because Shakespeare derived this story from Seneca’s version of Julius Caesar, published nearly 100 years after Caesar’s death. It was more or less the “fashion” of Shakespeare’s time to adapt character representations originally presented in Seneca’s way. (Asimov 269-270)
cassius characterization2
Cassius Characterization
  • Caesar: He reads much; / He is a great observer, and he looks / Quite through the deeds of men: he loves no plays, / As thou dost, Antony; he hears no music: / Seldom he smiles, and smiles in such a sort / As if he mock’d himself, and scorn’d his spirit / That could be mov’d to smile at any thing./ Such men as he be never at heart’s ease/ Whiles they behold a greater than themselves, / And therefore are they very dangerous. (l.207-216) (23)
caesar refuses the crown
Caesar Refuses the Crown
  • Caesar refuses the laurel wreath three times. Each time he refuses the crowd cheers.
  • Asimov… (271)
  • Cicero plays a very short role in the play, but his historical significance was that he was nearly as popular in Rome during the time of Caesar’s dictatorship.
  • Cicero was a prosperous lawyer/ orator during Caesar’s time. Cicero and Caesar did not like each other.
  • Cassius asks Casca if Cicero made any kind of speech. Casca remarks “It was greek to me.”
  • Asimov (268-269)
cassius s villainy
Cassius's villainy
  • (Act 1.2, l.320-323) I will this night, / In several hands, in at his windows throw, / As if they came from several citizens, / Writings, all tending to the great opinion / That Rome holds of his name, wherein obscurely / Caesar’s ambition shall be glanced at…
  • How does Shakespeare emphasize Cassius’ villainy in this passage?
  • How is he exposing Brutus’ stupidity?
beginning of 1 3 examination of the natural setting
Beginning of 1.3: Examination of the Natural Setting
  • Casca comments on the severity of the storm: Either there is a civil strife in heaven, / Or else the world too saucy with the gods / Incenses them to send destruction.
  • What are some of the strange and unnatural sights that Casca describes in Act 1.3, l.15-32. (35) B&N ( )?
  • Cicero: Indeed, it is a strange-disposed time: / But men may construe things after their fashion, / Clean from the purpose of the things themselves… (l.33-36)
  • How can Cicero’s comment here serve as a commentary on the state of Rome at the moment in history– as a general commentary on mankind?
fashioning or conforming to the storm
"Fashioning" or Conforming to the storm.
  • Cassius: For my part, I have walk’d about the streets, / Submitting me unto the perilous night, / And thus unbraced, Casca, as you see, / Have bar’d my bosom to the thunder-stone; / And when the cross blue lightening seem’d to open / The breast of heaven, I did present myself / Even in the aim and very flash of it.
  • What is Cassius suggesting to us by “bar’d my bosom to the thunder-stone”?
  • What interpretation of the storm does he offer to Casca?
  • What is his perception on the general state of Rome?
fashioning or conforming to the storm1
"Fashioning" or Conforming to the storm.
  • Cassius’ perspective on Rome:
  • For Romans now / Have thews and limbs like to their ancestors; But, woe the while! Our father’s minds are dead, / and we are govern’d with our mother’s spirits; / Our yoke and sufferance show us womanish. (l.83-87)(39)B&N()
  • Who will save them (him)?
  • Cassius from bondage will deliver Cassius. / Therein, ye gods, you make the weak most strong; / Therein, ye gods, you tyrants do defeat: