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The Tragedy of Julius Caesar

The Tragedy of Julius Caesar

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The Tragedy of Julius Caesar

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  1. Study Guide to William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Julius Caesar

  2. Tragedy: A type of drama in which the characters experience reversals of fortune, usually for the worse. In tragedy, catastrophe and suffering await many of the characters, especially the hero. Literary Term

  3. Tragic flaw: A weakness or limitation of character, resulting in the fall of the tragic hero and fate, suffers a fall from glory into suffering. Tragic hero: A privileged, exalted character of high repute, who, by virtue of a tragic flaw and fate, suffers a fall from glory into sufferings. Shakespeare intentionally left the tragic hero of JC ambiguous. Who do you think the tragic hero of the story is? Literary Terms

  4. Summary: Because Caesar has returned from his victory over Pompey's sons, the working people of Rome have a day off to celebrate. Flavius and Marullus, two Roman officers, are angered by the celebration because they see Caesar as a threat to Rome's Republican rule. They disperse the crowd and remove banners and signs honoring Caesar. Act I scene I (A street in Rome)

  5. “And do you now strew flowers in his way/ That comes in triumph over Pompey’s blood?” (I.i.55-56) “These growing feathers plucked from Caesar’s wing/ Will make him fly an ordinary pitch.” (I.i.77-78) Important quotes

  6. Pun: a play on words • Example from the text: • “A trade…which is indeed, a mender of bad soles” (I.i.13-15) • “All that I live by is with the awl…I meddle with no tradesman’s matters nor women’s matters, but withal…” (I.i.24-26) • Examples from modern text: • “I think you stand under me if you don’t understand me” (Lil Wayne, 6 Foot 7 Foot) Important Literary Terms

  7. Summary: With a full entourage, Caesar marches through the streets of Rome. He has arrived just before the races that are a part of the celebration of the Feast of Lupercal. From out of the crowd, a soothsayer warns Caesar to “Beware the ides of March.” Caesar dismisses the man as a dreamer and continues with his attendants. Lagging behind, two Roman senators (Brutus & Cassius) begin discussing their fears that Caesar will gain even greater power and take away the powers of their class of Roman aristocracy. Cassius, long a political enemy of Caesar, begins to flatter Brutus, a friend of Caesar. Cassius's flattery is designed to plumb Brutus's feelings about Caesar's growing power and to determine if Brutus is willing to join the conspiracy to kill Caesar. Caesar returns from the races and sees Cassius and Brutus talking. He tells Antony that he doesn't trust Cassius because he has a “lean and hungry look.” Casca tells Cassius and Brutus that the crowds offered Caesar a crown three times and that Caesar refused it each time. This information adds to the misgivings that the men already have about Caesar. Brutus admits that he is dissatisfied and agrees to talk to Cassius later about his feelings. Act I.ii

  8. “I, your glass…” (74-76) “Give me some drink…” (134-140) “Why, man…” (142-145) “Let me have men about me…” (202-205) “Yet if my name were liable to fear…” (209-222) “Marry, before he fell down…” (274-277) Important Quotes

  9. Characterization: The means by which writers present and reveal character. Writers typically reveal characters through their speech, dress, manner, and actions. Casca, Brutus, Caesar, and Cassius are all characterized in scene ii. Write notes on each and how you know. Literary Terms

  10. During a violent, stormy night, Cassius recruits Casca to the conspiracy despite omens the storm seems to hold. In a further attempt to recruit Brutus, Cassius instructs Cinna, a fellow conspirator, to place an anonymous note in Brutus's chair, throw one through Brutus's window, and fix yet another note to the statue of Brutus's father. Act i.iii (A street in Rome)

  11. “And why should Caesar be a tyrant then?...” (107-110) “O, he sits high…” (162-165) Important quotes

  12. Foreshadowing: Hints of what is to come in the action of a play or a story. Exposition: The first stage of a fictional or dramatic plot, in which necessary background information is provided. Literary Term

  13. Alone in his garden, Brutus decides that Caesar must be assassinated because of what he might become (a tyrant). The conspirators join Brutus and decide they will kill Caesar the next day at the Capitol. Brutus convinces them not to kill Antony because that would make them seem too murderous. Portia, Brutus's wife, enters after the conspirators leave and pleads with Brutus to tell her what is troubling him. Although he fears that she will not be able to bear the news, Portia proves her strength by wounding herself. After that act of courage, he tells her. Act ii.i (Brutus’ Garden)

  14. “He would be crowned…” (12-14) And, to speak truth of Caesar…” (20-28) And therefore think him…” (33-36) “I have not slept. …” (65-72) “Let’s kill him boldly…” (185-187) “Good gentlemen…” (243-247) “What, is Brutus sick…”(283-290) Important Quotes

  15. Rising Action: A set of conflicts and crises that constitute the part of a play’s plot leading up to the climax. Simile: A figure of speech involving a comparison between unlike things using like, as, or as though. Soliloquy: A speech in a play that is meant to be heard by the audience but not by other characters on the stage. If there are no other characters present, the soliloquy represents the character thinking aloud. Literary Terms

  16. Calphurnia, Caesar's wife, sees evil omens in the night's storm and asks Caesar not to go to the Capitol. He agrees until Decius, one of the conspirators, plays on his pride with a flattering interpretation of Calphurnia's dream and convinces him to go. Act ii.ii (Caesar’s house)

  17. “The noise of battle…” (22-24) “Cowards die many times…” (34-39) “And Caesar shall go forth!” (51) “Alas, my lord…” (52-58) Important quotes

  18. Irony: A contrast or discrepancy between what is said and what is meant or between what happens and what is expected to happen in life and in literature. In verbal irony, characters say the opposite of what they mean. In irony of circumstance or situation, the opposite of what is expected occurs. In dramatic irony, a character seaks in ignorance of a situation or event known to the audience or to the other characters. Literary Terms

  19. Artemidorus reads a paper he plans to give Caesar warning him about the conspiracy. A very nervous Portia sends her servant boy Lucius to the Capitol to gain news about Brutus. She also questions a soothsayer for news of Caesar's whereabouts. Act ii.iii & iv (A street near the capitol)

  20. Caesar ignores the warnings of Calphurnia and two others and goes to the Capitol. There he gives an arrogant speech and is murdered by the conspirators. Antony approaches the conspirators, says he understands and forgives them, and asks to give Caesar's eulogy. Brutus agrees, against the wishes of the more realistic Cassius. When left alone with Caesar's body, Antony vows to seek revenge against the conspirators. Act Iii.i (Rome-before the capitol)

  21. “I could be well moved…” (64-68) Et tu, Brute!...’ (85) “O, pardon me, thou bleeding piece…” (280-284) “Passion, I see, is catching.” (309-311) Important quotes

  22. Metaphor: A comparison between essentially unlike things without an explicitly comparative word such as like or as. Conflict: A struggle between opposing forces in a play, usually resolved by the end of the work. Climax: The turning point of the action in the plot of a play or story. The climax represents the point of greatest tension in the work. Literary terms

  23. Brutus gives a logical, unemotional speech winning the crowd over to the suggestion of making Brutus the new Caesar. Antony halts the crowd's support for the conspirators with a masterful speech that plays on the crowd's emotions. Antony learns that Octavius and Lepidus are staying at Caesar's house, and that Brutus and Cassius have left the city because of the people's reaction to Antony's speech. He plans to meet with Octavius and Lepidus to suggest they join forces. The enraged crowd attacks the poet Cinna and rips him apart because they think he is one of the conspirators. Act iii.ii & iii (The forum…a street)

  24. “Romans, countrymen, and lovers!” (14) “As Caesar loved me…” (26-28) “Friends, Romans, countrymen…”(82-86) “This was the most unkindest cut of all”(195) “Moreover, he hath left you…”(261-263) Important quotes iii.ii

  25. Aside: Words spoken by an actor directly to the audience, which are not “heard” by the other characters on stage during a play. Logos: appeal to logic and reason, using supporting evidence. Ethos: appeal to ethics and credibility. Tone and style hints at this. Pathos*:A quality of a play’s action that stimulates the audience to feel pity for a character. Pathos is always an aspect of tragedy. Literary Terms

  26. The triumvirate (political regime with three powerful rulers, each called a triumvir) of Antony, Octavius, and Lepidus plan to pursue and destroy Brutus and Cassius. In their preparations, they coldly compile a death list of anyone who might stand in their way. Antony shows his contempt for Lepidus after Lepidus goes to get Caesar’s will. What are Antony’s plans for Lepidus? Act iv. I ( a house in rome)

  27. Brutus waits for Cassius's arrival by speculating that their relationship has deteriorated. Brutus and Cassius argue violently over Cassius allowing his officers to accept bribes. The quarrel ends when Cassius learns that Brutus's anger is really the result of the news that Portia has died by swallowing hot coals. That night Brutus is visited by the ghost of Caesar who tells Brutus he will meet him at Philippi. *_* Act iv.ii & iii (A Camp near sardis)

  28. “Brutus has rived my heart…” (95-97) “For Cassius is aweary of the world…” (106-110) “Ha! Who comes here?” (318-321) “Thy evil spirit, Brutus.” (325) Important quotes

  29. Falling Action: In the plot of a play, the action following the climax of the work that moves it towards its denouement or resolution. Hyperbole: A figure of speech involving exaggeration. Dramatic monologue: a type of poem in which a speaker addresses a silent listener. As readers, we overhear the speaker in a dramatic monologue.

  30. The two armies meet and the generals argue over who is at fault. When nothing is resolved, they return to their armies and prepare for battle. Brutus and Cassius vow to win or not be taken alive. Brutus sends a messenger to Cassius instructing him to attack Octavius. Act V.i (The plains of philippi & the field of battle)

  31. Retreating from the onslaught of Octavius's troops, Cassius sends his trusted friend Titinius to see if the oncoming troops are friends or foes. Seeing Titinius suddenly surrounded by the troops, Cassius mistakenly believes they are enemies. Having lost all hope for victory, he takes his own life (having Pindarus do it). Pindarus flees from the battle field and Brutus mourns Cassius's death. Lucilius, masquerading as Brutus, is captured by Antony's troops. Antony honors him for protecting Brutus. Act v. iii & iv (the field of battle)

  32. “O Julius Caesar, thou art mighty yet!” (105-107) “Friends, I owe more tears…” (112-115) Important quotes

  33. Catastrophe: The action at the end of a tragedy that initiates the denouement or falling action of a play. Literary Terms

  34. When he sees that the battle is lost, Brutus runs upon his own sword rather than being captured. Antony gives a moving eulogy over his body proclaiming him “the noblest Roman of them all.” In a gesture of good will, Octavius agrees to pardon all Brutus's men and take them into his service. The civil war ends with an omen of peace for the future. Act v.v (the field of battle)

  35. “This was the noblest Roman of them all…”(74-81) “Within my tent his bones tonight shall lie.” (84) Important quotes

  36. Denouement: The resolution of the plot of a literary work. Protagonist: the main character of a literary work. Antagonist: a character or force against which another character struggles. Theme: the idea of a literary work abstracted from its details of language, character, and action, and cast in the form of a generalization. Write your own theme! What was important about the play? The umbrella term, overarching theme? Literary Term