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Study Guides 101
Act II Study Guide (Julius Caesar)


Anne Frank
Julius Caesar


1.        augment to make larger or crown; increase.

2.        flint a very hard, fine-grained quartz that sparks when struck with steel.

3.        instigate to stir up or incite.

4.        interim an interval of time between two events, processes, or periods.

5.        phantasm a ghost.

6.        faction a group of persons forming a united, usually contentious minority within a larger group.

7.        visage facial expression.

8.        affable pleasant or mild-mannered.

9.        interpose to interject or put between or interrupt.

10.     entreat beg.

11.     valor courage or bravery.

12.     dismember to cut, tear, or pull off the limbs.

13.     hew to strike or cut down.

14.     chide to scold; reprimand.

15.     purge to free from impurities; purify.

16.     prodigy a person with exceptional talents or powers.

17.     disperse to scatter, distribute in different directions.

18.     prevail triumph.

19.     dank damp, humid; disagreeably moist.

20.     rheum discharge of watery mucous.

21.     incorporate to combine or form illegal corporation.

22.     appertain to relate or refer.

23.     counsel advice, guidance, secrets.

24.     constancy loyalty or faithfulness.

25.     imminent about to occur.

26.     tincture alcohol mixture of medicine that doesnt change into vapors.

27.     augur soothsayer.

28.     entrails internal organs.

29.     portent an omen; something about to occur; a sign of a thing to come.

30.     commend praise.

31.     praetor judge.

32.     insurrection rebellion.

33.     affability amiability

34.     visage face

35.     augurer one who predicts.

36.     fray brawl.

37.     vile evil.

38.     conjured summoned a spirit to appear.

39.     laments mourns.


Act II, Scene I

-               Brutus talks about Caesar. He is afraid that Caesar may become king.

-               It is one or two in the morning.

-               An adder is a king of snake.

-               Brutus says that the abuse of greatness is when you dont have any feelings for anyone or anything because you have so much power.

-               L. 23: Brutus says that if you are low, you will want to climb the ladder of success. Having no power is why people want to climb the ladder.

-               Caesar is on the ladder. When he reaches the top, he scorns at the people lower than him, and turns his back on the people that helped him get there.

-               Brutus says that if Caesar is crowned, it will be much more than it is now, and he will turn his back even more.

-               Being crowned would be hatching the serpent. If Caesar hatches, or is crowned, hell become powerful and dangerous.

-               Brutus says that they need to kill Caesar before he hatches, or before he receives his power and crown.

-               Lucius found the letter from Cassius.

-               Brutus is, figuratively, sleeping. The letter tells him to open his eyes and see whats happening around him.

-               Speak, strike, redress! Speak means to speak out against Caesar. Strike means to take action. Redress means to rectify, or justify Caesars bad actions.

-               Brutuss ancestors drove out Tarquin.

-               Brutus promises that hell return justice to Rome.

-               Cassius instigated the conspiracy.

-               A dreadful thing is the murder of Caesar.

-               The conspiracy has been a nightmare for Brutus.

-               The conspirators are in disguise going to Brutuss home.

-               The conspirators are still kissing up to Brutus.

-               Cassius introduces the conspirators to Brutus.

-               The conspirators are arguing about where the sun rises, which seems insignificant since they are going to kill someone today.

-               Brutus tells the conspirators to put their hands together, and Cassius suggests that they swear an oath.

-               Brutus says that if they dont have a strong motive, they should go home. He assumes that theyre in the conspiracy because they need to get rid of a tyrant and save Rome. However, they all have their own agendas.

-               Brutus says that they do not need an oath to validate the conspiracy, because their motives are true and pure.

-               Brutus thinks that they are all honest and have the same motive as he. He cannot imagine them having other motives to kill Caesar.

-               Brutus is the only one there with true motives, an honorable motive. The others have their own reasons, and they are all weak motives. They are not going for honorable reasons.

-               Cassius suggests that Cicero join the conspiracy, but Brutus again vetoes it, because Cicero will not listen. He is a leader.

-               Silver hairs means old and wise. Metellus says that Cicero will be helpful because hes wise and stable.

-               Metellus says that they are young and their judgment might look immature, but if Cicero is in, hell make it look good because hes old. In essence, he could be the second alchemy.

-               Cicero is a leader, not a follower. Cicero may not listen and do what they want, and he may discover their true motives.

-               Brutus doesnt want Cicero in the conspiracy because Cicero might become more honorable than Brutus.

-               Power corrupts those who hold it. Brutus is starting to become corrupt with the power he holds.

-               Cassius thought he would be the master puppeteer. However, Brutus becomes powerful and makes several decisions, such as vetoing Cassiuss suggestions.

-               Brutus is a terrible strategist. The ideas he vetoes were good ideas.

-               Decius asks if Caesar should be the only one killed.

-               Cassius suggests killing Antony because hes Caesars good friend. Antony might come after the conspirators to annoy them if he is not killed, which he does.

-               Brutus says that if they kill Antony, it may look like revenge, not a purge. There will be too much death and bloodshed, and they will look like murderers instead of purgers.

-               Antony is a limb of Caesar; he cant live without him.

-               Brutus underestimates Antony because he is gamesome.

-               Brutus says lets be purifiers, not killers.

-               Brutus agrees that Caesar has to die, but that they should kill him honorably, not wrathfully. Carve him to make him fit for the gods, not to be something one might throw to the dogs. This is for honor, not envy.

-               Brutus didnt want to unnecessarily kill innocent men. He was the honest man with true motives.

-               Not killing Antony was a huge mistake.

-               Cassius was afraid of Antony because he loves Caesar.

-               Brutus underestimates Antony. He thinks that the most he will do is kill himself if Caesar dies, because he cant live without Caesar.

-               Brutus says that Antony is devoted only to sports, wildness, and company.

-               Trebonius says that Antony will later laugh at Caesars death.

-               Cassius thinks that Caesar may not come to the Capitol because he may be afraid of the soothsayers warning.

-               Decius says that hell flatter Caesar so hell come to the Capitol. Caesar says that he hates flatterers, but truthfully, he loves to be flattered.

-               Metellus will get Ligarius in the conspiracy because Ligarius hates Caesar.

-               Brutus tells the conspirators to be actors, and not to look like theyre going to do something evil.

-               Brutus asks his wife, Portia, why she is up so early, since it is so early, since it is so early and so cold for her weak body.

-               Portia argues that he shouldnt be up, and asks what the matter was. Brutus was upset; he had his arms folded, didnt eat, was ungentle, and he was more impatient than usual. She had left him alone, but to no avail.

-               Brutus is not eating or sleeping; Portia asks what his grief was.

-               Portia says that Brutus would go to a doctor if he were sick.

-               Portia knows that it is not a physical sickness, but an emotional problem that she should know about.

-               Portia knows something is up, because she saw the conspirators strangely dressed, and Brutus is acting oddly.

-               Portia feels that she has a right to know his secret because she has been faithful to him.

-               Portia says that she will not tell his secrets. Constancy in this case means loyalty. She stabbed herself in the thigh to show her loyalty and faithfulness.

-               Stabbing herself means that if she can endure the physical pain, she can also endure the emotional pain, and share the pain together with Brutus.

-               Brutus promises to tell her his secrets, but after he sees to his guest.

-               Ligarius says that hell join the conspiracy.

-               Brutus says that they should kill Caesar; it will make sick men whole. This means that men that are sick of Caesar will become whole after Caesars death.

-               Ligarius says that killing Caesar will also make whole men sick. Marc Antony, like others who really like Caesar, will become sick.

-               Ligarius says that he doesnt know exactly what hes supposed to do, but he will follow Brutus and all of his directions.

Act II, Scene II

-               Calpurnia had a nightmare that Caesar was killed.

-               Priests used to kill animals and make predictions from the animals body.

-               Calpurnia tells Caesar not to go out of the house.

-               Caesar says that he will go out. He says that when they see him, theyll disappear. He think hes a god; immortal.

-               Calpurnia dreamt that a lioness (viewed as dangerous) conceived of a child in the streets. This is symbolic of the birth of danger. The dead came alive and started walking. People in the heavens fought each other, and blood fell on the Capitol. Ghosts shrieked about the streets.

-               Caesar says that the predictions are for everyone but not him, because he is Caesar.

-               Calpurnia says that omens only tell deaths of important people like Caesar.

-               L. 34-35 If you live your life in fear of death, youre already dead because you dont live your life. The brave live life to the fullest and die only once, at their natural deaths. The cowards die every time they are afraid of death. Death will come to all; it is inevitable.

-               This is ironic because Caesar thinks hes immortal, and he tells others not to fear death.

-               The beast with no heart is supernatural because it couldnt live without its heart.

-               L. 47-48 Caesar says that hes more dangerous than danger itself.

-               Caesar says that he is older than danger. He makes it that danger is his twin, but Caesar is older and stronger than danger.

-               Caesars ego is seen in this quote.

Act II, Scene III

-                Artemidorus says that if Caesar isnt immortal, be careful and alert. He tells Caesar not to be so cocky and arrogant, and watch out.

-                Artemidorus mourns that righteousness cannot live because so many are envious of their power.

-               L. 15-16 Artemidorus said that if Caesar read his letter, he might live. If not, it is in fates hands.

Act II, Scene IV

-               Portia is so confused and crazy. She tells Lucius to go to the Senate House, then asks him why he is still staying there. Lucius responds that he doesnt know what hes supposed to do there.

-               L. 8 The huge mountain is to block Portia from telling anyone about the conspiracy. Shakespeare hated women, and portrayed them as weak and gossipy.

-               L. 11 Lucius still has no idea what hes supposed to do.

-               L. 16 Brutus was sickly because he had to kill his best friend.

-               Portia hears a noise, and she thinks that they have already killed Caesar.

-               The soothsayer says that he will beg Caesar to trust him and listen to his warnings and help himself.

-               The soothsayer is not sure, but he is fearful that Caesar may die today.

-               The soothsayer says that the crowd that follows Caesar could kill a man. He wants to talk to Caesar, but there are so many people around him that he cant talk to him. He will wait in a place where the crowds are not so thick before approaching him.

-               Brutus desires that Caesar be not so ambitious, but Caesar will obviously not grant his request.


Act II, Scene I

1.        What is the dramatic function of Lucius? Lucius is the link; he brought Brutus the letters, and he told him that it was the Ides of March.

2.        What is Brutuss reasoning for killing Caesar? Brutus feels that Caesar is too ambitious and could damage Rome with his abuse of power. He will turn his back on Rome and his friends that got him to the power he holds now.

3.        Who is the scene centered? How do you know this? Justify. The scene is centered on Brutus. Its about the problems that he has, and the decisions that hes forced to make. He is the boss, and he has most of the lines.

4.        Who sent the letter Lucius brings to Brutus? What are the contents of the letter? Cassius wrote the letter, and it says, Speak, strike, redress! It tells Brutus to speak out, take action, and justify Caesars naughty deeds. It also mentions honor, and how Brutus is the only chance for the survival of Rome.

5.        What does Cassius feel about killing Antony? Cassius realizes that Antony might come bother them later because of his love for Caesar.

6.        What characteristics of Brutus are brought to light in his insistence to let Antony live? Brutus is a horrible strategist. He is extremely na´ve. He is not a butcher, he is honorable, and he has morals and values.

7.        What decision is reached as to inviting Cicero to join the conspiracy? The conspirators decide not to Cicero because he might not listen to what they wanted him to do. This is not true, of course. The real reason is that Brutus does not want him in because Brutus wanted all of the honor.

8.        Why does Brutus contradict each suggestion made by Cassius as to details for the action of the conspirators? Brutus wanted to be the leader and in charge of the conspiracy; he would get more honor this way.

9.        Which of the two, Brutus or Cassius, is wiser? Why? Cassius is wiser; he doesnt underestimate, and he pulled the entire conspiracy.

10.     What side of Caesars character is brought out by the words of Cassius and Decius? Decius said that Caesar loved flattery. Caesar was also superstitious.

11.     Who do you judge to be the villain of the play? Why? Cassius is the villain of the play. He planned the whole conspiracy, and he manipulated Brutus to join.

Act II, Scene II

1.        What is Calpurnias mental and emotional state? Calpurnia felt that Caesar should not go out of the house. The augur had told him not to, and she had had a horrible dream of Caesar being murdered. She is afraid that Caesar may meet a bad fate today.

2.        What does Caesar say about death? Caesar shares his viewpoints on death. He says that cowards die several times because they are so afraid of death that they do not live. The brave live life to the fullest and die but once. Caesar says to not be afraid of death; it will come when it comes. This is ironic because Caesar thought that he would never die, yet he told everyone not to fear death.

3.        Does Caesar yield to Calpunias pleas? At first, Caesar does not yield. He says that the omens in her dream may have been for the general, and not for him. When Calpurnia pleads him, he concedes. However, Decius comes and flatters him, so Caesar agrees to go to the Senate House.

4.        How does Decius interpret and make Caesar go to the Senate? Decius says that Caesars statue spouted blood, and Rome sucked the blood to revive themselves. He also tells Caesar that the Senate will give him the crown, and they may change their minds if he does not come. Decius also tells Caesar that the Senate will mock him, and they will think that he is a coward.

5.        Why do you feel Cassius wasnt in the group meeting Caesar? Cassius was probably not in the group so that Caesar wouldnt grow suspicious of these men. Cassius was Caesars archenemy, and it wouldnt make sense that an envious man would take you to get your crown.

6.        What is the dramatic purpose of this group? The purpose of the group was to bring Caesar to the Senate house, so that they could kill him.

7.        What is the purpose of the scene? The purpose of the scene was to show how easily Caesar was flattered. It also showed Calpurnias premonition, and how the conspirators brought Caesar to the Senate House.

Act II Overall

1.        How does the first anonymous letter change the direction of Brutuss thoughts? He gets pushed off the fence and joins the conspiracy.

2.        What effect does Cassius produce with his insistent urging that Brutus have a better opinion of himself? Cassius flatters Brutus and mentioned honor, pushing Brutus off the fence. Brutus feels that he must kill Caesar to prove himself worthy of these expectations.

3.        Why do the conspirators give up in their plan to enlist Ciceros help in the plot against Caesar? Brutus wants all of the honor; this is the real reason. He tells them that Cicero is a leader, not a follower, so he wouldnt listen to their instructions.

4.        What is the reasoning behind Cassiuss plotting to kill Mark Antony as well as Caesar? Cassius feels that Antony might become a threat and avenge Caesars death.

5.        How does Brutus persuade Cassius not to kill Mark Antony? Brutus says that Mark Antony is gamesome, and theyll look like butchers instead of purgers. Mark Antony is but a limb of Caesar.

6.        Are Cassiuss fears that Caesar may not appear in the Capitol well founded? Explain your answer. Yes, because Caesar is superstitious. There were omens, Calpurnia had a nightmare, and the soothsayer had warned him.

7.        What does Portia do to prove her constancy and loyalty to Brutus? She stabs herself in the thigh.

8.        Why does Calpurnia object to Caesars going to the Capitol? She had a nightmare about Caesar being murdered.

9.        How many ploys does Decius use to get Caesar to go to the Senate? Explain each one. Decius uses four ploys to get Caesar to go to the Senate House. First, he reinterprets Calpurnias dreams. He says that the crown will be offered, but the Senate might change their minds if Caesar doesnt show up. The Senate will mock him, and they will call him a coward for listening to his wife.

10.     What is the one remaining hope that Caesar may yet be saved? The soothsayer had warned him, and Artemidorus wrote him a letter warning him.

11.     What evidence is there that Brutus becomes dictatorial after joining the conspiracy? He vetoes all of Cassiuss ideas; killing Antony, inviting Cicero, and the oath.

12.     How do we know that Portia is losing control of her reason? She tells Lucius to go to the Senate House, but doesnt tell him what to do. She also hears noises that no one else hears.

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