If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. • Julius Caesar Silent Work
MUG I wish to take this opportunity to Thank You from the bottom of my heart for taking time out of your busy and important schedule to interview a poor, struggling student like I.
1. What does Caesar want Antony to do when he runs by Calpurnia? Why?2. What does the soothsayer tell Caesar? What is Caesar’s reaction?3. How has Brutus been feeling lately? How does this open a door for Cassius?4. What is your reaction to Brutus’s lines: “Into what dangers would you lead me, Cassius, / that you would have me seek into myself / for that which is not in me?” What might this hesitation or caution foreshadow?5. What does Brutus love (even more than his own life)?6. Why does Cassius tell Brutus the story about Caesar swimming the Tiber River? What does this reveal about Caesar? What does this reveal about Cassius?7. Describe Brutus’ reaction to Cassius’s ideas. I.ii
8. Why does Caesar distrust Cassius? Why does Caesar not fear Cassius, however?9. Why does Caesar tell Antony to “Come on [his] right side”?10. Explain why the crown was offered to Caesar three times. What is your reaction to this spectacle?11. Why does Caesar faint? Why does Cassius say: “No, Caesar hath it now; but you, and I / And honest Casca, we have the falling sickness”? To what is Cassius referring?12. The phrase “It’s all Greek to me” has become a common saying referring to somethingincomprehensible or meaningless. This saying comes from Casca’s line: “...but for my own part, it was Greek to me,” which originates from the Medieval Latin proverb Graecumest; non potestlegi, meaning “It is Greek; it cannot be read.” Explain how Casca’s line is ironic.13. What doubts does Cassius reveal about Brutus in his soliloquy?14. How does Cassius plan to convince Brutus that he is more noble and loved than Caesar? I.ii
1. What is the weather like at the opening of this scene? How does this contribute to the mood? Why is this mood significant?2. Why does Cassius say “I have exposed my naked chest to the thunder-bolt”? To what could Cassius be referring?3. Why is Casca eager to convince Brutus to join the conspiracy?4. What directions does Cassius give Cinna? What does Cassius hope to accomplish with this task? I.iii
1. Through the analogy of a ladder, how does Brutus explain what happens when someone gains power? 2. To what does Brutus compare Caesar? Why does Brutus feel that he must kill Caesar immediately? 3. What day is it? Why is this significant? 4. Brutus explains that he has not been able to sleep. How does he explain what happens to a man’s conscience between the “acting of a dreadful thing / And the first motion”? 5. How are Cassius and Brutus related? 6. Why does Brutus insist that the men do not need an oath? 7. Why do the men want Cicero on their side at first? Why do they change their minds? 8. Who does Cassius want to murder in addition to Caesar? 9. What is Brutus’s response to this idea? 10. How does Decius plan to get Caesar to come to the Capitol? 11. What has Portia noticed about Brutus’s recent behavior? 12. What reasons does Portia give to insist that Brutus reveal his feelings to her? 13. What does Portia do to prove her strength to Brutus? What is your reaction to this act? BONUS: An anachronism is when an author unknowingly or purposefully inserts something from a different period of time into his or her writing. Shakespeare uses an anachronism in this scene. See if you can find it. Why do you think Shakespeare might have used this anachronism? II.i