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Study Guides 101
Act I Study Guide (Julius Caesar)


Anne Frank
Julius Caesar


Act I, Scene I

-        It takes place in Rome 44 B.C., in the streets of Rome.

-        Flavius and Marullus are tribunes.

-        A cobbler is a shoemaker.

-        A mender of bad soles is a pun, a play on words. (A mender of bad souls)

-        The cobbler is insulting the tribune.

-        William Shakespeare loves to use puns.

-        The awl is the cobblers tool.

-        The cobbler is comparing himself to a doctor.

-        The cobbler is a knave; he is crafty and fresh.

-        The tribunes insult the commoners, because they used to like Pompey and pay tribute to him, and they now pay tribute to Caesar for killing Pompey.

-        Flavius tells Marullus to tell commoners to stop cheering Caesar on.

-        Caesar is compared to a bird; if his feathers are plucked, hell not fly, and hell fall, and his power will be lost.


Cooperative Questions

  1. The first and opening scenes are enacted on the streets of Rome.
  2. The commoners and fickle, and some are naughty and knavish.
  3. The tribunes disliked Caesar because he has a lot of power.  There was civil unrest.
  4. The tribunes protected the rights of the Roman commoners.
  5. Shakespeare wanted to show conflicting views on Caesar.  He wanted to show the unrest.
  6. The Romans were celebrating Caesar killing Pompey and the feast of Lupercal.
  7. Flavius says that the mob is going to celebrate Caesars victory over Pompey.  They are going against Pompey.
  8. The tribunes intimidate and scare the commoners, making them feel guilty.  He tells them to take posters down, and to go home and pray.
  9. Flavius says that if Caesars support is taken away, hell have no power.  He wants to bring down Caesars power.
  10. Caesar is like a bird; he has an overall view of things, and he flew high.  If you take away his feathers, he wont be able to fly.  The bird will fall.


Act I, Scene II

-        A paradox is a statement that seems to conflict with common sense or to contradict itself but that may nevertheless be true.

-        The scene takes place on the streets of Rome.

-        Caesar wants Antony to touch Calphurnia so she will no longer be barren; he is superstitious.  This is because the elders say that if a barren woman is touched by a holy runner, she will become pregnant.

-        Caesar is full of himself.

-        Caesar thinks hes indestructible, invincible, and cannot die.

-        Brutus thinks that Antony is gamesome.  His view of Antony will become important later.  He will underestimate Antonys power.

-        Cassius senses a distance between him and his friends (Brutus).

-        Brutus takes the responsibility for changing and becoming distant from Cassius.

-        Brutus admits that he is at war with himself; he has an inner conflict concerning Caesar and his view of Caesar.  He admits that he has an inner conflict.  He has an opinion of Caesar, but he doesnt know what to do with it.  On one hand, he feels that Caesar is too ambitious and has become too powerful.  On the other hand, he wants to remain Caesars best friend and not tell him in fear that Caesar may become angry and kill him.

-        Cassius asks Brutus if he sees what others see in him.  Of course, Brutus does not know, so Cassius acts as Brutuss mirror.

-        Cassius flatters Brutus so he might join his side.

-        Cassius tells Brutus that everyone but Caesar thought that Brutus should open his eyes wider, so he might see that Caesar is becoming too powerful.

-        Cassius says that he loves humanity.

-        Lines 85-86: These lines show what Brutuss inner conflict is he wonders whether to tell Caesar that he is too powerful and get killed or be turned against, or just leave things be.

-        Caesar only listens to what he wants to hear; his deafness in one ear symbolizes this.

-        Cassius is manipulating Brutus with flattery.

-        Brutus does not fear death; he fears not having honor.

-        Cassius tells Brutus that Caesar isnt all that great; Brutus and Caesar are at the same level.  However, internally, Cassius thinks that he is on the same level or higher than Caesar.

-        The water is cold and stormy.  Caesar asks Cassius to rescue him.  He does; now Caesar is godlike, and now Cassius has to bow to him, even though he saved Caesars life.  Cassius is jealous of Caesars power; he wants it.

-        Everything Caesar said was recorded, yet Caesar had epilepsy fit and screamed and yelled like a woman.  Women were lowly regarded back then.

-        Cassius says that Caesar is so weak, yet he has so much power in his hands.

-        Cassius is green with envy.

-        Cassius blames himself that Caesar was still in power.

-        Cassius says that Caesars name is just as honorable as Brutuss name, while he was thinking that his was as honorable as Caesars.

-        Brutus would rather be a peasant and be loyal to Rome than not be.

-        Caesar has a huge ego and says that he shouldnt fear Cassius, but if he had to fear someone, it would be him (Caesar).

-        Fat, in this context, means content.  Caesar wants men that are content with their power and will not revolt because they think Caesar has too much power.

-        Sleek-headed means bald, with nothing on their head, with no worries.  Caesar wants men that have no worries, and will not think of revolting.

-        Sleep-a-night men can sleep soundly without worry.  They will not think about revolting.

-        The falling sickness, or epilepsy, shows weakness, and it symbolizes the fall of power.

-        Caesar was offered crown, but he declined so the crowds cheered, which meant that they really didnt want him as king.  Caesar had wanted the crowds to think that he was modest, but it didnt work.  He then became angry, and offered Casca to cut his throat and kill him, but then he had epilepsy fit.

-        To put to silence means to kill, cut off the tongue, imprison, or take the power of.

-        Brutus says that Antony is a person that you cant really take seriously.

-        Brutus is more stiff and formal with Cassius.

-        Brutus is afraid of being dishonorable.  This foreshadows that Brutus would commit suicide for his love of Rome, which he will do.

-        Cassius says, Men at some time which means that you can change fate, and that you should be in control of your own life.  He wants to take Caesars power.

-        Cassius says that Brutuss ancestors would have taken Caesars power away.  Cassius is saying that Brutuss ancestors drove out a tyrant, and that Brutus should do the same to Caesar.

-        Caesar says that Cassius is dangerous because he wants to obtain Caesars power.  He is skinny and hungry for Caesars power.

-        Antony didnt think that Cassius was a threat to Caesar.  He tells Caesar not to worry.

-        Caesar has a huge ego, and thinks that he is immortal.

-        Caesar doesnt fear Cassius, and he says that Cassius is educated, but doesnt smile much.

-        Caesar wanted to the crown, but refused it so that the crowd would think that he was modest.  When the crowd clapped, he got angry and opened his cloak and told Casca to cut his throat, which Casca wanted to do.

-        The citizens forgave Caesar for making a fool of him because they loved Caesar.

-        Three girls from the crowd loved Caesar, and even if he had stabbed their mother, they would still have loved him.

-        Casca said, Its Greek to me, which means that he didnt understand.

-        Quick-mettle means quick-witted and sharp.

-        Cassius says that Casca is crabby.

-        Line 320: Cassiuss soliloquy.

-        Cassius says that he can manipulate Brutus.

-        Cassius says that he can get anyone to do anything he wants.

-        Cassius is going to throw notes through Brutuss window, saying that Brutus can save Rome from Caesar and his ambition.  Supposedly, the letters will be from the Roman citizens, forged by Cassius.

-        Brutus is noble and tremendously na´ve.

-        Cassius blames himself that Caesar is still in power and in charge.

-        Cassius says that a younger Brutus wouldnt have let a dictator rule.  In saying this, he is telling Brutus to take action against Caesar.

-        Line 202: Caesar says that he wants people who are content with their power.

-        Line 203: Caesar wants people who dont worry about things and taking his power.

-        Line 204: Caesar says that Cassius is hungry for his power.

-        Line 205: Caesar says that Cassius thinks too much and sees Caesars wrong in ruling.

-        Caesar has a big ego, and says that hes not afraid of Cassius because hes Caesar.

-        Line 223: This shows that Caesar does have a weakness and is not immortal.  His deafness symbolizes that he listens to only what he wants to here.  His epilepsy symbolizes his fall from power.

-        Casca would have killed Caesar if he had time.

-        Flavius and Marullus are silenced, and this gives the conspirators a reason to go out and take action.  They are silenced because they took down Caesars images in the streets.

-        Lines 320-324: Cassius says that he can manipulate Brutus, even though he is honorable.


Cooperative Questions

  1. Shakespeare makes three references to the soothsayer because he wants to show how important the message is and how Caesar has selective hearing.  It also foreshadows Caesars death on the Ides of March.
  2. Brutus and Cassius assist in giving the warnings because by warning Caesar, he wont suspect them of rebelling or revolting.
  3. Caesar doesnt listen to the soothsayers warnings because he thinks he is immortal and cant be defeated.
  4. In their conversation, it is revealed that Cassius is sly, persuasive, power-hungry, jealous, and manipulative.  Brutus is naive, too honorable, easily manipulated, and gullible.
  5. The effect of the crowd cheering has a great effect on Brutus because he fears that they are choosing Caesar as king.
  6. Cassius has grievances against Caesar because he saved Caesars life but gets nothing, and Caesar is now so powerful.
  7. Brutus feels torn over Caesar.  On one hand, he doesnt like his extreme power and thinks it might get out of hand, but it is his best friend, so he wants to be loyal.
  8. Caesar feels that Cassius thinks too much but is dangerous.  He is hungry for power.
  9. Shakespeare portrays Caesar as deaf in one ear to show his selective hearing.  It also shows that Caesar has weaknesses.
  10. Caesar swoons because he had the falling sickness, or epilepsy, and he was angry.
  11. Flavius and Marullus are silenced.
  12. The fact that the two are silenced is significant because it shows that whoever goes against Caesar is severely punished.  It also gives the conspiracy a reason to act.
  13. Cassius says that he will write false letters begging Brutus to join the conspiracy, supposedly from the citizens.
  14. Caesars strength is his ambition.  His weaknesses are his deafness (selective hearing) and his epilepsy.  He is powerful and egotistical.
  15. The first impression of Antony is that he is very loyal to Caesar and is a holy runner.  Brutus calls him a gamesome person and one with a quick spirit.
  16. In the dialogue, Cassius uses flattery and manipulation to sway Brutus.
  17. From Cassiuss first soliloquy, we learn that he plans to forge letters and basically do anything to manipulate Brutus.


Act I, Scene III

-        Cicero is an orator that also dislikes Caesar.

-        Casca says that this storm is the fiercest he has ever seen before, and he has seen his share of fierce storms.

-        Casca thinks that there is unrest in the heavens, and it parallels the unrest in the Roman republic.

-        Casca saw four portentous events: a slave with his left hand burning, but it didnt burn or scorch.  He also saw a lion that didnt bother him and just passed him by in the Capitol.  He saw that a hundred women viewed men on fire walking up and down the streets.  Finally, he saw an owl in the marketplace during day, shrieking and hooting.

-        Casca is extremely superstitious, but Cicero is not.  Cicero says that Casca may have misunderstood what he saw, and that everything has an explicable reason for it.

-        Casca openly shows Cassius that he is superstitious because he thinks that the weather is affected by the gods actions and feelings.

-        Cassius will use Cascas superstition to manipulate him.

-        Cassius says that the reason for Cascas viewings of odd events is because of the state of Romes politics.  It is because of Caesars actions and because Caesar is on the throne.

-        Cassius says that they look like their forefathers, but act like their mothers, and have womanish traits; defeated.

-        Cassius will kill himself if Caesar is crowned.  This foreshadows that Cassius will commit suicide if something big happens, which he does.

-        Cassius says that he can easily shake off his bondage by killing himself.

-        Casca says that anyone who wants to be free can commit suicide if Caesar is crowned.

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