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Julius Caesar - Class 10 English Explanation, Summary, Difficult Words

By Ruchika Gupta

 

CBSE class 10 English Drama 2 – JULIUS CAESAR

CBSE class 10 English Drama 2- JULIUS CAESAR- detailed line by line explanation of the play along with meanings of difficult words. Also, the explanation is followed by a Summary of the lesson. All the Question and Answers given at the back of the lesson.

 

 

 

About the author

William Shakespeare
1564-1616
Born at Stratford on Avon,England

 

William Shakespeare was an English poet, Playwright, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. Shakespeare produced most of his known work between 1589 and 1613. His early plays were primarily comedies and histories, and these are regarded as some of the best work ever produced in these genres. He then wrote mainly tragedies until about 1608.

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Shakespeare wrote 17 comedies include The Merchant of Venice and Much Ado About Nothing. Among his 10 Historical plays are Henry V and Richard III.

The most famous among his tragedies are Hamlet, Othello, King Lear and Macbeth. Shakespeare also wrote four poems and a famous collection of Sonnets which was first published in 1609.

Introduction: JULIUS CAESAR is the story of a man's personal dilemma over moral action, set against a backdrop of strained political drama. Julius Caesar, an able general and a conqueror returns to Rome amidst immense popularity after defeating the sons of Pompey. (Pompey the Great, was a military and political leader of the late Roman Republic) The people celebrate his victorious return and Mark Antony offers him the Crown which he refuses. Jealous of Caesar's growing power and afraid he may one day become a dictator, Cassius instigates a conspiracy to murder Caesar. He realizes that to gain legitimacy in the eyes of the Romans, he must win over the noble Brutus to his side for Brutus is the most trusted and respected in Rome. Brutus, the idealist, joins the conspiracy feeling that everyone is driven by motives as honourable as his own. Ironically, Caesar is murdered at the foot of Pompey's statue.

 

Important Characters

Julius Caesar- The greatest and most powerful of the Romans. Assassinated by Brutus, Cassius and a band of conspirators who feel Caesar is very ambitious and wants the crown.

A great Roman general and senator who returned to Rome in triumph after a successful military campaign. While his good friend Brutus worries that Caesar may aspire to dictatorship over the Roman republic, Caesar seems to show no such inclination, declining the crown several times.

Calpurnia- Caesar's wife

Calpurnia, the wife of Julius Caesar invests great authority in omens and portents. She warns Caesar against going to the Senate on the Ides of March, since she has had terrible nightmares and heard reports of many bad omens. Nevertheless, Caesar’s ambition ultimately causes him to disregard her advice.

Mark Antony- Caesar's most loyal friend.

Antony claims allegiance to Brutus and the conspirators after Caesar’s death in order to save his own life. Later, however, when speaking a funeral oration over Caesar’s body, he spectacularly persuades the audience to withdraw its support of Brutus and instead condemn him as a traitor.

Marcus Brutus-Caesar's great friend who joins the conspiracy because of his great love for Rome and for democracy.

A supporter of the republic who believes strongly in a government guided by the votes of senators. While Brutus loves Caesar as a friend, he opposes the ascension of any single man to the position of dictator, and he fears that Caesar aspires to such power. 

Cassius- Inspirer and organizer of the conspiracy

A talented general and longtime acquaintance of Caesar. Cassius dislikes the fact that Caesar has become godlike in the eyes of the Romans. He slyly leads Brutus to believe that Caesar has become too powerful and must die, finally converting Brutus to his cause by sending him forged letters claiming that the Roman people support the death of Caesar.

Decius Brutus- Co-conspirator in Caesar's assassination

A member of the conspiracy. Decius convinces Caesar that Calpurnia misinterpreted her dire nightmares and that, in fact, no danger awaits him at the Senate. Decius leads Caesar right into the hands of the conspirators.

Dictatorship - a country governed by a dictator

Inclination - the tendency to act in a particular way

Ides of March - Roman calendar day which corresponds to March 15, the date on which Julius Caesar was assassinated

Bad omens - an event regarded as a portent of good or evil

Allegiance - loyalty or commitment to a superior or to a group or cause

Spectacularly – absorbing

Condemn - express complete disapproval

Traitor - a person who betrays someone or something

Ascension - the action of rising to an important position or a higher level

Slyly - cunning or wily

 

Explanation

Act II Scene II - Caesar's house.

The scene opened at Caesar’s house.

Thunder and lightning. Enter CAESAR in his night-gown.

There was thunder and lightning in the sky. Caesar entered wearing his night gown.

CAESAR: Nor heaven nor earth have been at peace to-night:

Thrice hath Calpurnia in her sleep cried out,

'Help, ho! they murder Caesar!' Who's within?

Hath – has

Caesar said that the heaven and the Earth had been restless all night. His wife Calpurnia had been seeing nightmares. She had cried thrice in her sleep and sought help as she dreamt that Caesar was being murdered. Caesar called out that who was there inside the room.

 

Enter a servant

A servant appeared.

SERVANT: My lord?

The servant addressed Caesar as ‘My Lord’ and asked for orders.

CAESAR: Go bid the priest do present sacrifice and bring me their opinions of success.

Bid – call

Caesar ordered him to call the priest and ask him to offer sacrifices to God to get their opinions regarding his future based upon the nightmares seen by Calpurnia.

SERVANT: I will, my lord

Servant went out to do the needful.

Enter CALPURNIA

Calpurnia appeared.

CALPURNIA: What mean you, Caesar? Think you to walk forth?

You shall not stir out of your house to-day.

Forth – ahead

Stir – move

Calpurnia asked Caesar that what did he mean by walking ahead out of the house despite the nightmares seen by her. She asked him not to move out of the house that day as she feared him being murdered.

CAESAR: Caesar shall forth: the things that threaten'd me

Ne'er look'd but on my back; when they shall see

The face of Caesar, they are vanished.

Caesar replied that he shall walk ahead. He added that the enemies who threatened to kill him only planned to do so behind his back, but they did not have the courage to face him. When they would see Caesar’s face, they would disappear due to fright.

CALPURNIA: Caesar, I never stood on ceremonies,

Yet now they fright me. There is one within,

Besides the things that we have heard and seen,

Recounts most horrid sights seen by the watch.

A lioness hath whelped in the streets;

And graves have yawn'd, and yielded up their dead;

Fierce fiery warriors fought upon the clouds,

In ranks and squadrons and right form of war,

Which drizzled blood upon the Capitol;

The noise of battle hurtled in the air,

Horses did neigh, and dying men did groan,

And ghosts did shriek and squeal about the streets.

O Caesar! these things are beyond all use,

And I do fear them.

 

 

stood on ceremonies - paid much attention to omens and forecasts

whelped – give birth to

right form of war - correct battle order

hurtled - clashed

beyond all use - most unnatural

Calpurnia replied that she never believed in omens and forecasts, but this nightmare had scared her. Now she was afraid as she had seen and heard horrible things in the dream. She describes the nightmare where she saw a lioness give birth to its young ones in the street. She saw that the graves had opened, and the dead persons walked out of them. She saw all the brave soldiers in the order of their ranks fight in a bloody war and the noises could be heard all around. There were sounds of the horses neighing and the soldiers who were dying in pain. She said that all of them were unnatural and, so she was in fear.

 

CAESAR: What can be avoided

Whose end is purposed by the mighty gods?

Yet Caesar shall go forth; for these predictions

Are to the world in general as to Caesar.

Caesar said that all the happenings had been pre – destined by God and what had to happen would happen. So, he shall also continue his work and go ahead with it. He said that Calpurnia’s nightmare applied to Caesar as it applied to the world in general and it did not have any cause for him to fear of.

CALPURNIA When beggars die, there are no comets seen;

The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes.

Comets – a heavenly object with a tail of fire

Blaze – set on fire

Calpurnia said that when a common man (referred as a ‘beggar’) died, there were no heavenly predictions to indicate that but when a brave prince died, the heavens who made such predictions got so disturbed that they set themselves on fire to announce such great tragedies. She wanted to say that the nightmare that she saw was so intense as if the heavens had set themselves on fire to forewarn of a great tragedy – the murder of Caesar.

CAESAR: Cowards die many times before their deaths;

The valiant never taste of death but once.

Of all the wonders that I yet have heard.

It seems to me most strange that men should fear;

Seeing that death, a necessary end,

Will come when it will come.

Coward- a person who lacks courage

Valiant – the brave

necessary – inevitable

Caesar said that cowards die many times before their death – any act of cowardice equaled to being dead. The brave men died only once in their lifetime. He further added that out of all the amazing things that he had heard, it was strange that men feared death. As death was unavoidable and had to come one day, it would come when it had to. So, he did not fear death.

Re-enter Servant

The servant re – appeared.

What say the augurers?

Augurers – soothsayers, foretellers

Caesar asked the servant about the forecast made by the priests.

Servant: They would not have you to stir forth to-day.

Plucking the entrails of an offering forth,

They could not find a heart within the beast.

Entrails – inner organs of a person or animal.

The servant said that the priests had advised that Caesar should not go out of the house that day. When the inner organs of the animal that had been offered as a sacrifice were plucked open, they found that the animal’s heart was not there.

CAESAR: The gods do this in shame of cowardice:

Caesar should be a beast without a heart,

If he should stay at home to-day for fear.

No, Caesar shall not: danger knows full well

That Caesar is more dangerous than he:

We are two lions litter'd in one day,

And I the elder and more terrible:

And Caesar shall go forth.

Litter’d – to be born

Caesar replied that the God’s reacted by removing the animal’s heart as they looked down upon the cowardly act of Caesar to fear death. He added that he would be that animal without the heart if he stayed back at home that day. He refused to stay back and said that danger knew that Caesar was more dangerous than it. He added that he and danger were like two lions who had been born on the same day and as he was the elder one, was more terrible than danger. So, he announced that he shall go out of the house.

 

CALPURNIA Alas, my lord,

Your wisdom is consumed in confidence.

Do not go forth to-day: call it my fear

That keeps you in the house, and not your own.

We'll send Mark Antony to the senate-house:

And he shall say you are not well to-day:

Let me, upon my knee, prevail in this.

Calpurnia expressed sadness as Caesar’s wisdom had been shadowed by over confidence. She asked him not to go out because her fear, for her sake and not due to his fear. She offered to send Mark Antony in his place to the senate. She suggested that Mark would say that Caesar was absent as he was unwell. She begged on her knees and asked him to give permission for it.

CAESAR: Mark Antony shall say I am not well,

And, for thy humour, I will stay at home.

Caesar feels humiliated by Calpurnia’s idea. He did not approve that for her sake that he would stay back at home and that Mark Antony would say in the senate that he was unwell.

Enter DECIUS BRUTUS

Decius Brutus appeared.

Here's Decius Brutus, he shall tell them so.

Caesar said that Decius Brutus would say so in the senate.

DECIUS BRUTUS: Caesar, all hail! good morrow, worthy Caesar:

I come to fetch you to the senate-house.

Hail – a greeting

Decius greeted Caesar and said that he had come to take him for the meeting at the senate.

CAESAR: And you are come in very happy time,

To bear my greeting to the senators

And tell them that I will not come to-day:

Cannot, is false, and that I dare not, falser:

I will not come to-day: tell them so, Decius.

in very happy time- at the right moment

Caesar said that Decius had appeared at the right time. He asked him to greet the senators on his behalf and to tell them that he would not come to the senate that day. He added that saying that he ‘cannot’ come was untrue and that he ‘dare not’ to come was more untrue. He said this because it was not that he was unable to go or that he feared going out of the house. He was not going for some other reason (his wife Calpurnia’s fear and subsequent request). He asked Decius to tell the senate that he would be absent that day.

 

CALPURNIA: Say he is sick.

Calpurnia asked Decius to say that Caesar was sick.

CAESAR: Shall Caesar send a lie?

Have I in conquest stretch'd mine arm so far,

To be afraid to tell graybeards the truth?

Decius, go tell them Caesar will not come.

graybeards- old men (contemptuously dismissing the senators)

Caesar asked Calpurnia that should he tell a lie to the senators. He further asked her that in the battles, had he killed so many innocent people that he should feel guilty and not be able to tell the truth to the group of hateful old men.  He asked Decius to go and tell them that he would not come that day.

DECIUS BRUTUS: Most mighty Caesar, let me know some cause,

Lest I be laugh'd at when I tell them so.

Decius who was a part of the conspiracy to kill Caesar asked him for a reason to give for his absence lest he should be laughed upon by the senators.

CAESAR: Calpurnia here, my wife, stays me at home:

She dreamt to-night she saw my statue,

Which, like a fountain with an hundred spouts,

Did run pure blood: and many lusty Romans

Came smiling, and did bathe their hands in it:

And these does she apply for warnings, and portents,

And evils imminent; and on her knee

Hath begg'd that I will stay at home to-day.

Spout – nozzle

lusty- strong; vigorous

Caesar told him the reason for not going out of the house was that his wife Calpurnia saw a nightmare in which Caesar’s statue was immersed in a fountain of blood that flowed from a hundred spouts. Many great men of Rome came smiling towards it and washed their hands with his blood. She treated it as a forewarning of a tragedy and so had begged on her knees for him to stay at home that day.

DECIUS BRUTUS: This dream is all amiss interpreted;

It was a vision fair and fortunate:

Your statue spouting blood in many pipes,

In which so many smiling Romans bathed,

Signifies that from you great Rome shall suck

Reviving blood, and that great men shall press

For tinctures, stains, relics and cognizance.

This by Calpurnia's dream is signified.

blood- In Decius' explanation the use of the term "blood" is metaphoric. It symbolizes Caesar's spirit or influence

great men shall press… cognizance - great men shall gather around Caesar and stain their handkerchiefs in his blood which will serve as colours added to a coat of arms, an object of reverence, mementos and a badge of service

Decius said that they had interpreted the dream incorrectly. It was a fair dream and signified good fortune. Caesar’s blood symbolized his spirit and love for Rome and that the great men shall soak their handkerchiefs with his spirit and patriotism to retain as mementoes.

CAESAR: And this way have you well expounded it.

Expounded – explained

Caesar was convinced with Decius’s words and said that he had explained it well.

DECIUS BRUTUS: I have, when you have heard what I can say:

And know it now: the senate have concluded

To give this day a crown to mighty Caesar.

If you shall send them word you will not come,

Their minds may change.

Decius said that he had explained well as Caesar understood what he said. He added that the senate was due to crown him as the ruler that day and that if he did not go, they might change their mind. (He wanted to take Caesar to the senate so that the senators along with him could murder Caesar).

CAESAR: How foolish do your fears seem now, Calpurnia!

I am ashamed I did yield to them.

Give me my robe, for I will go.

yield to – give in to

robe – a long, loose outer garment

Caesar said that Calpurnia’s fear was foolish and that he was ashamed to have accepted it and decided to remain at home that day. He asked for his robe as he decided to go to the senate.

Enter PUBLIUS, BRUTUS, LIGARIUS, METELLUS, CASCA, TREBONIUS, and

CINNA

 

Publius, Brutus, Ligarius, Metellus, Casca, Trebonius and Cinna appear

CAESAR: Good friends, go in, and taste some wine with me;

And we, like friends, will straightway go together.

Caesar invited his friends for some wine and said that they would go together to the senate.

BRUTUS: [Aside] That every like is not the same, O Caesar,

The heart of Brutus yearns to think upon!

That every like is … think upon- Brutus's heart grieves when he thinks that being like a friend is not the same as being a friend

Brutus was a true friend of Caesar and he knew that the other men envied him. He went to a side and said to himself that his heart was pained to see that being like a friend was not like being a friend.

Exeunt

All the men exit the stage.

Act III Scene I

Rome. Before the Capitol; the Senate sitting above.

The next scene is set in the Capitol, Rome with the senate seated above.

Flourish. Enter CAESAR, BRUTUS, CASSIUS, CASCA, DECIUS BRUTUS,

METELLUS CIMBER, TREBONIUS, CINNA, ANTONY, LEPIDUS, POPILIUS,

PUBLIUS, and others

The senators stood up to welcome the men as they arrived – Caesar, Brutus, Cassius, Casca, Decius Brutus, Metellus Cimber, Trebonius, Cinna, Antony, Lepidus, Popilius, Publius and others enter the senate.

CAESAR: Are we all ready? What is now amiss

That Caesar and his senate must redress?

Amiss – missing

Redress – rectify, to correct

Caesar asked that was the senate ready to begin the session or was something missing that needed to be corrected before they started the session.

METELLUS CIMBER: Most high, most mighty, and most puissant Caesar,

Metellus Cimber throws before thy seat

An humble heart,--

Kneeling

Thy – your

Puissant – powerful

Metellus Cimber addressed Caesar as the highest, most powerful man. He fell in front of him with respect and sat on his knees.

CAESAR: I must prevent thee, Cimber.

These couchings and these lowly courtesies

Might fire the blood of ordinary men,

And turn pre-ordinance and first decree

Into the law of children.

Thy brother by decree is banished:

If thou dost bend and pray and fawn for him,

I spurn thee like a cur out of my way.

Know, Caesar doth not wrong, nor without cause

Will he be satisfied.

Thee – you

couchings and these lowly courtesies – bowing and bending

pre-ordinance - order that has existed from earlier times

first decree - law passed earlier

thy – your

banished- punished

thou – you

dost – do

fawn – praise to get a favour

spurn – remove from the way

cur – dog

doth - does

Caesar said that Cimber should stop doing these acts of bowing and bending before him as these could influence ordinary men but not Caesar. He added that by doing such acts, he would not be able to change the law of the land or alter any past orders. He added that Cimber’s brother had been punished by the law and if Cimber bent, bowed and tried to praise Caesar to get him free, Caesar would push him out of his way like a dog. He also said that Cimber should remember that Caesar did no wrong acts and would not be satisfied to release a guilty person without a valid reason.

METELLUS CIMBER: Is there no voice more worthy than my own

To sound more sweetly in great Caesar's ear

For the repealing of my banish'd brother?

Repealing – cancelling, reversing

Metellus Cimber called out to the senators and asked that a worthier man than him request Caesar on his behalf. Maybe Caesar would like the other person’s words and cancel his brother’s punishment.

BRUTUS: I kiss thy hand, but not in flattery, Caesar;

Desiring thee that Publius Cimber may

Have an immediate freedom of repeal.

Flattery – false praise

Brutus supported Cimber and said to Caesar that he was kissing his hand not to praise him to get Cimber’s aim fulfilled but he desired that Cimber should get the freedom of cancellation of punishment.

CAESAR: What, Brutus!

Caesar was shocked that Brutus supported Cimber.

CASSIUS: Pardon, Caesar; Caesar, pardon:

As low as to thy foot doth Cassius fall,

To beg enfranchisement for Publius Cimber.

Enfranchisement – freedom from prison

Cassius also spoke up and asked Caesar to excuse Publius Cimber and release him from the prison.

CASSIUS: I could be well moved, if I were as you:

If I could pray to move, prayers would move me:

But I am constant as the northern star,

Of whose true-fix'd and resting quality

There is no fellow in the firmament.

I was constant Cimber should be banish'd,

And constant do remain to keep him so.

I could pray to move - pray to others to change their minds.

resting – permanent

firmament – heavens or sky

Cassius said that he would change his mind if he were Caesar upon seeing the requests of another person. If he could pray and beg a person to change his mind, then he would also do the same if another person begged and prayed to him. But he said that he was not like that, he was fixed in his decisions like the stationary Northern star which is the only one that remains fixed in one position in the entire sky. He said that he had always thought that Cimber should be punished and he was firm in his decision.

 

 

CASCA: Speak, hands for me!

Casca said that his hands would speak for him.

CASCA first, then the other Conspirators and BRUTUS stab CAESAR

Stab -  to injure someone with a sharp pointed object such as a knife

He and the other senators injure Caesar with a knife. Even Brutus who was a friend of Caesar stabbed him.

 

 

CAESAR: Et tu, Brute! Then fall, Caesar.

Dies

Et tu, Brute - even you, Brutus

Caesar was shocked to see that his friend Brutus was a part of the conspiracy to kill him, his dying words were that even Brutus wanted to kill him.

CINNA: Liberty! Freedom! Tyranny is dead! Run hence, proclaim, cry it about the

streets.

Tyranny – dictatorship, rule of terror

Proclaim – to announce officially

Cinna shouted that with Caesar’s death, the Romans got freedom from his dictatorship. He ordered his men to run around the kingdom and announce that Rome had got freedom.

CASSIUS: Some to the common pulpits, and cry out

'Liberty, freedom, and enfranchisement!'

Pulpits – raised platform, stage

Cassius asked the senators to stand on the stage and announce that they had gained freedom from slavery.

BRUTUS: But here comes Antony.

Brutus announced the entry of Mark Antony who was a true friend of Caesar.

Re-enter ANTONY

Antony re – entered the senate.

Welcome, Mark Antony.

Brutus welcomed Antony.

ANTONY: O mighty Caesar! dost thou lie so low?

Are all thy conquests, glories, triumphs, spoils,

Shrunk to this little measure? Fare thee well.

I know not, gentlemen, what you intend,

Who else must be let blood, who else is rank:

If I myself, there is no hour so fit

As Caesar's death hour, nor no instrument

Of half that worth as those your swords, made rich

With the most noble blood of all this world.

I do beseech ye, if you bear me hard,

Now, whilst your purpled hands do reek and smoke,

Fulfil your pleasure. Live a thousand years,

I shall not find myself so apt to die:

No place will please me so, no mean of death,

As here by Caesar, and by you cut off,

The choice and master spirits of this age.

spoils - trophies of war

shrunk – reduced in size

little measure - small piece of ground on which your body lies

beseech – beg

bear me hard - bear a grudge against me

purpled hands – the colour of the hands turned purple as they were soaked in Caesar’s blood which had dried and turned purple in colour

reek - stench

master - powerful

Antony was heartbroken to see his dear friend Caesar’s dead body. He said that the powerful Caesar was lying so low on the ground and that all his achievements, victories and trophies of wars were insignificant because such a noble man had been betrayed and murdered by his own men. He bid him farewell. He addressed the senators and said that he did not know the reason behind killing Caesar who was the most noble Roman. He said that for him, there was none other better time to get killed than the time when the great Caesar had been killed, none other better sword to get killed with than the sword with which Caesar had been killed. The sword which had killed Caesar was rich as it was smeared with the blood of the most noble man in the world. He begged the senators that if they hated him, now when their hands were smeared with Caesar’s blood, they smelled of it, they should fulfil their desire of killing him too. If he lived for a thousand more years, he shall not find a better time to die than that time, no better place to die than there and no better person to die at the hands of than those who had murdered Caesar. He addressed the conspirators as the masters of the age as they were the rulers of Rome and would destine the future of the Romans.

BRUTUS: O Antony, beg not your death of us.

Though now we must appear bloody and cruel,

Yet see you but our hands

And this the bleeding business they have done:

Our hearts you see not; they are pitiful;

And pity to the general wrong of Rome--

As fire drives out fire, so pity pity--

Hath done this deed on Caesar. For your part,

To you our swords have leaden points, Mark Antony:

Our arms, in strength of malice, and our hearts

Of brothers' temper, do receive you in

With all kind love, good thoughts, and reverence.

Hath – has

Leaden points – here, blunt edges

in strength of malice - which may appear to be hostile

reverence - respect

Brutus tried to justify the act of the senators. He asked Antony not to beg for death. He said that they appeared to be cruel as he saw their hands which were full of Caesar’s blood. He could not see their hearts which were full of pity for the people of Rome. Their hearts had pity for Caesar also but as fire drives out fire, so did their pity for the Romans drove out their pity for Caesar and so, they killed him. For Antony, their swords were blunt, their arms may appear to be full of hatred, but their hearts considered him to be their brother. They welcomed him to the senate with love and respect.

 

CASSIUS: Your voice shall be as strong as any man's

In the disposing of new dignities.

dignities – honours

Cassius said to Antony that his opinions would be considered while appointing new officers.

ANTONY: I doubt not of your wisdom.            

Let each man render me his bloody hand:

Gentlemen all, --alas, what shall I say?

My credit now stands on such slippery ground,

That one of two bad ways you must conceit me,

Either a coward or a flatterer.

That I did love thee, Caesar, O, 'tis true:

If then thy spirit look upon us now,

Shall it not grieve thee dearer than thy death,

To see thy Antony making his peace,

Shaking the bloody fingers of thy foes,

Most noble! in the presence of thy corse?

conceit - consider

foes - enemies

corse - corpse

Antony said that all the senators were wise, and he had no doubt about it. He asked all the conspirators to shake their hands soaked with Caesar’s blood with him. He added that the senators may consider him to be either a coward or a flatterer. He could not justify himself, but the fact was that he loved Caesar. Caesar’s soul would be watching them and would be saddened to see that Caesar’s friend Antony was befriending and shaking hands with his enemies in the presence of his dead body.

CASSIUS: Mark Antony,--

Cassius reacts and calls Antony.

ANTONY: Pardon me, Caius Cassius:

The enemies of Caesar shall say this;

Then, in a friend, it is cold modesty.

modesty – understatement

Antony begged Cassius to excuse him. He added that even Caesar’s enemies would feel like that for him because Caesar was such a good man. He, being a friend of Caesar was being modest and reasonable in saying such things for him.

CASSIUS: I blame you not for praising Caesar so;

But what compact mean you to have with us?

Will you be prick'd in number of our friends;

Or shall we on, and not depend on you?

compact – agreement

Cassius said to Antony that he did not blame him for praising Caesar. He asked that what agreement did he have with the conspirators – was he a friend of theirs or should they proceed without him.

ANTONY: Therefore I took your hands, but was, indeed,

Sway'd from the point, by looking down on Caesar.

Friends am I with you all and love you all,

Upon this hope, that you shall give me reasons

Why and wherein Caesar was dangerous.

Antony replied that he shook hands with them because he considered them to be a friend. He was swayed by emotions as he saw Caesar’s dead body, but he was their friend and loved them. He asked them that now that they were friends, they would explain that how and why was Caesar dangerous for Rome that they murdered him. He hoped that they would reply to his question.

BRUTUS: Our reasons are so full of good regard

That were you, Antony, the son of Caesar,

You should be satisfied.

good regard - serious consideration

Brutus replied to his question and said that their hearts were so full of serious consideration and reason that if Antony was Caesar’s son, he too would be satisfied with it.

ANTONY: That's all I seek:

And am moreover suitor that I may

Produce his body to the market-place;

And in the pulpit, as becomes a friend,

Speak in the order of his funeral.

Suitor – a person who makes a petition or request

order- ceremony

Mark Antony was satisfied with their reasoning. (He pretended to be satisfied so that he could take revenge else, he feared that they would murder him too). He requested the senators to allow him to take Caesar’s body to the stage in the market  place and give a speech at Caesar’s funeral.

BRUTUS: You shall, Mark Antony.

Brutus allowed Mark Antony to do that.

CASSIUS: Brutus, a word with you.

Aside to BRUTUS

You know not what you do: do not consent

That Antony speak in his funeral:

Know you how much the people may be moved

By that which he will utter?

Cassius called Brutus to a side and talked to him. He said that Brutus did not realize the consequence of what he was doing. He asked him not to allow Antony from giving the speech at Caesar’s funeral as his speech would make the Romans sympathize with Caesar.

BRUTUS: By your pardon;

I will myself into the pulpit first,

And show the reason of our Caesar's death:

What Antony shall speak, I will protest

He speaks by leave and by permission.

Pardon – to excuse

will- will go

protest- announce

Brutus said that he sought permission to be the first one to give a speech and tell the Romans the reason for Caesar’s death. Then he would announce that Antony would give a speech and that he had the permission to do so.

CASSIUS: I know not what may fall; I like it not.

Cassius was not convinced with this idea of Brutus.

BRUTUS: Mark Antony, here, take you Caesar's body.

You shall not in your funeral speech blame us,

But speak all good you can devise of Caesar,

And say you do it by our permission;

Else shall you not have any hand at all

About his funeral: and you shall speak

In the same pulpit whereto I am going,

After my speech is ended.

devise of- think of

Brutus said to Antony to take Caesar’s body. He directed him that he was not allowed to blame them for killing Caesar, but he could only praise Caesar in his speech. If he did not obey them then they would not be his friends and they would not allow him to participate in Caesar’s funeral. He shall speak from the same stage from where Brutus would give the opening speech.

ANTONY: Be it so.

I do desire no more.

Antony replied that he did not want anything more than the chance to give a speech in praise of Caesar.

BRUTUS: Prepare the body then, and follow us.

Brutus ordered him to prepare the body for funeral and then come to the stage.

Exeunt all but ANTONY

The conspirators exit, and Antony is alone with Caesar’s body.

ANTONY: O, pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth,

That I am meek and gentle with these butchers!

Thou art the ruins of the noblest man

That ever lived in the tide of times.

Woe to the hand that shed this costly blood!

Over thy wounds now do I prophesy, --

Which, like dumb mouths, do ope their ruby lips,

To beg the voice and utterance of my tongue--

A curse shall light upon the limbs of men;

Domestic fury and fierce civil strife

Shall cumber all the parts of Italy;

Blood and destruction shall be so in use

And dreadful objects so familiar

That mothers shall but smile when they behold

Their infants quarter'd with the hands of war;

All pity choked with custom of fell deeds:

And Caesar's spirit, ranging for revenge,

With Ate by his side come hot from hell,

Shall in these confines with a monarch's voice

Cry 'Havoc,' and let slip the dogs of war;

That this foul deed shall smell above the earth

With carrion men, groaning for burial.

Exeunt with CAESAR's body

Prophesy – predict the future

Dumb mouths – refers to the wounds which cannot speak

Ope – open

Ruby lips – refers to the wounds smeared in blood. They look like lips which are Ruby – red in colour.

light - fall

cumber - burden

in use - common

quarter'd with the hands of war – cut into pieces in the war

custom of fell deeds-terrible deeds shall become so familiar

Ate- Greek goddess of revenge

carrion men – decaying flesh of animals

Antony said that Caesar’s body was bleeding and was like a piece of Earth as it had been rendered lifeless. Antony sought pardon from Caesar as he was being gentle with his murderers. He added that Caesar was the noblest man that would ever be born on the Earth. He took an oath over Caesar’s blood and the wounds on his body which were unable to speak and looked like ruby – red coloured lips. He took an oath that his voice and the words that he spoke would bring a curse upon the limbs of those men who had murdered Caesar. He vowed that there shall be anger, war, blood, destruction all over Italy. Mothers shall see that their newborn children have been cut into pieces at the hands of the war which will ensue. No one shall have pity in their hearts any longer as they will become used to such sights of terrible deeds. Caesar’s soul will be accompanied by the Goddess of revenge – Ate who will descend from hell. They shall create havoc and shall let loose fierce dogs of war. The smell of the decaying dead bodies will be filled in the sky as the dead men will cry and beg for a burial.

 

The Forum. Act III -Scene II

Enter BRUTUS and CASSIUS, and a throng of Citizens

The next scene is set at the Forum. Brutus and Cassius enter along with a huge crowd of Romans

Citizens: We will be satisfied; let us be satisfied.

The Romans sought for an explanation for Caesar’s murder.

BRUTUS: Then follow me, and give me audience, friends.

Brutus said that if they wanted one, they must listen to him.

First Citizen: I will hear Brutus speak.

A man said that he would hear Brutus speak.

BRUTUS goes into the pulpit

Brutus appeared on the stage.

Second Citizen: The noble Brutus is ascended: silence!

Second man said that the noble Brutus had arrived, so everyone should remain silent.

BRUTUS: Be patient till the last.

Romans, countrymen, and lovers! hear me for my cause, and be silent, that you may hear: believe me for mine honour, and have respect to mine honour, that you may believe: censure me in your wisdom, and awake your senses, that you may the better judge.

If there be any in this assembly, any dear friend of Caesar's, to him I say, that Brutus' love to Caesar was no less than his. If then that friend demand why Brutus rose against Caesar, this is my answer: --Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more. Had you rather Caesar were living and die all slaves, than that Caesar were dead, to live all free men? As Caesar loved me, I weep for him; as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was valiant, I honour him: but, as he was ambitious, I slew him. There is tears for his love; joy for his fortune; honour for his valour; and death for his ambition. Who is here so base that would be a bondman? If any, speak; for him have I offended. Who is here so rude that would not be a Roman? If any, speak; for him have I offended. Who is here so vile that will not love his country? If any, speak; for him have I offended. I pause for a reply.

my cause- the cause that I represent

believe me for mine honour- believe me because you know I am honourable

censure- judge, criticize me harshly

senses- understanding

rude- uncivilized

vile – wicked

Brutus asked the crowd to be patient till he ended his speech. He said that if they respected him, considered him to be a wise man, then they must believe him too. He added that if there was any close friend of Caesar then he should know that Caesar was a dear friend of Brutus also. Then he gave the reason for him to go against Caesar and be a part of the conspiracy to murder him. He said that he loved Rome more than he loved Caesar. He said that rather than have Caesar live and all the people of Rome be his slaves, it was better that Caesar was dead and all the people lived with freedom. Brutus was sad that Caesar was dead as he was a beloved, he was happy that Caesar had been a fortunate man, he honoured his bravery but he slayed him due to his ambitious nature. He called out if there was a slave or who did not love Rome in the gathering who had been offended by their act. He waited for a reply from the gathering.

All: None, Brutus, none.

The gathering replied that there was no one who considered his act to be wrong.

BRUTUS: Then none have I offended. I have done no more to Caesar than you shall do to Brutus. The question of his death is enrolled in the Capitol; his glory not extenuated, wherein he was worthy, nor his offences enforced, for which he suffered death.

do to Brutus- you may assassinate me if I become ambitious

question- reasons for

capitol – a government building

enrolled- recorded

extenuated – lessened, diminished

enforced- exaggerated; emphasized

Brutus said that then they had not offended anyone by killing Caesar as the people could kill him also if he became ambitious like Caesar. The reasons for Caesar’s death had been given in the Capitol. Just like Caesar was glorified for his good deeds, he had been punished for his wrong acts.

Enter ANTONY and others, with CAESAR's body

Here comes his body, mourned by Mark Antony: who, though he had no hand in his

 

 

death, shall receive the benefit of his dying, a place in the commonwealth; as which of you shall not? With this I depart, --that, as I slew my best lover for the good of Rome,

I have the same dagger for myself, when it shall please my country to need my death.

the commonwealth - the free republic

lover- friend

Mark Antony arrived with Caesar’s body. Brutus said that Caesar’s body had arrived, mourned by his friend Antony who had no role in Caesar’s killing but he shall get the benefit of being a part of the free republic. Brutus ended his speech by saying that he was ready to face the same knife which had killed Caesar if his country wanted his death.

All: Live, Brutus! live, live!

The crowd raised slogans that it wanted Brutus to live.

First Citizen: Bring him with triumph home unto his house.

The first citizen said that Caesar’s body be brought with celebrations.

Second Citizen: Give him a statue with his ancestors.

The second citizen said that Caesar’s statue should be erected along with his ancestors’.

Third Citizen: Let him be Caesar.

Third citizen said that he should be kept alone as Caesar.

Fourth Citizen: Caesar's better parts

Shall be crown'd in Brutus.

parts- qualities

The fourth citizen said that the good qualities of Caesar are there in Brutus and for that he should be crowned as the emperor of Rome.

First Citizen: We'll bring him to his house

With shouts and clamours.

The first citizen said that they would carry Caesar’s body upto his house with shouts and uproars.

BRUTUS: My countrymen, --

Brutus called out to his countrymen.

Second Citizen Peace, silence! Brutus speaks.

The second citizen asked the crowd to be silent and listen to Brutus.

First Citizen: Peace, ho!

The first citizen asked for silence.

BRUTUS: Good countrymen, let me depart alone,

And, for my sake, stay here with Antony:

Do grace to Caesar's corpse, and grace his speech

Tending to Caesar's glories; which Mark Antony,

By our permission, is allow'd to make.

I do entreat you, not a man depart,

Save I alone, till Antony have spoke.

Brutus said to the crowd to let him leave alone and for his sake, stay there with Antony. They must give respect to Caesar’s body and listen to Antony’s speech as he would praise Caesar. The senate had allowed Antony to speak and that no one should leave till he has complete his speech.

Exit

Brutus left

First Citizen: Stay, ho! and let us hear Mark Antony.

First citizen asked the crowd to remain there and listen to Antony.

Third Citizen: Let him go up into the public chair;

We'll hear him. Noble Antony, go up.

Third citizen asked Antony to go to the dais as they were ready to hear him.

ANTONY: For Brutus' sake, I am beholding to you.

Antony said that he was observing the crowd for the sake of Brutus.

Goes into the pulpit

Antony walked on to the stage.

Fourth Citizen: What does he say of Brutus?

The fourth citizen asked that why did Antony refer to Brutus. This showed that the crowd was sensitive and was not ready to hear anything against Brutus.

Third Citizen: He says, for Brutus' sake,

He finds himself beholding to us all.

Third citizen clarified that he said that he was observing the crowd for the sake of Brutus.

Fourth Citizen: 'Twere best he speak no harm of Brutus here.

The fourth citizen warned that it would be good for him if Antony did not speak anything against Brutus.

First Citizen: This Caesar was a tyrant.

Tyrant – a cruel ruler

The first citizen spoke up that Caesar was a dictator.

Third Citizen: Nay, that's certain:

We are blest that Rome is rid of him.

The third citizen added that for sure they had been blessed by getting rid of Caesar.

Second Citizen: Peace! let us hear what Antony can say.

The second citizen asked them to be quiet and listen to what Antony had to say.

ANTONY: You gentle Romans,--

Antony addressed the crowd as gentle Romans.

Citizens: Peace, ho! let us hear him.

The citizens asked each other to be at peace and hear him.

ANTONY: Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;

I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.

The evil that men do lives after them;

The good is oft interred with their bones;

So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus

Hath told you Caesar was ambitious:

If it were so, it was a grievous fault,

And grievously hath Caesar answer'd it.

Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest--

For Brutus is an honourable man;

So are they all, all honourable men--

Come I to speak in Caesar's funeral.

He was my friend, faithful and just to me:

But Brutus says he was ambitious;

And Brutus is an honourable man.

He hath brought many captives home to Rome

Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill:

Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?

When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept:

Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:

Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;

And Brutus is an honourable man.

You all did see that on the Lupercal

I thrice presented him a kingly crown,

Which he did thrice refuse: was this ambition?

Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;

And, sure, he is an honourable man.

I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke,

But here I am to speak what I do know.

You all did love him once, not without cause:

What cause withholds you then, to mourn for him?

O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts,

And men have lost their reason. Bear with me;

My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar,

And I must pause till it come back to me.

Lupercal- the feast of the god Lupercus. Lupercus was the protector of flocks and herds, the god of fertility

disprove- contradict

Antony asked all his friends, his countrymen, the Romans to hear him. He was there for the burial of Caesar’s body and not to praise his worthiness. The wrong acts done by men are remembered even after their death, but their good acts are forgotten as soon as they die and are buried with their bodies. The good Brutus had said that Caesar was an ambitious man and if he was one, it was a serious misdeed committed by him. He had got a serious punishment for it and had to pay for it with his life. He was speaking at his funeral with the permission of all the honourable men of Rome. He said that Caesar was his friend, he was faithful and just to him. On the contrary, Brutus said that he was an ambitious man. As Brutus was a noble man, it was considered that he was speaking the truth. Did Caesar’s act of capturing many enemies and bringing them to Rome, for whose return Rome had earned a lot of money, show that he was an ambitious man. Caesar used to cry to see the poor man cry but an ambitious man ought to be had-hearted. Brutus had alleged Caesar to be ambitious and he was a noble person so, he was saying the truth. On the contrary, at the feast of the Lupercal, Antony had thrice offered the crown to Caesar, but he refused it which did not show that he was ambitious. Again, Antony said that Brutus was a noble man and he had said that Caesar was ambitious. He added that he did not want to prove that Brutus was wrong, but he wanted to put forth the facts that he knew were true. All the people of Rome loved Caesar, but something was stopping them from mourning his death. They had lost their power of judgement and reasoning. He asked them to excuse him for saying this. He was very sad, and he had lost his heart which was lying next to Caesar’s body in the coffin. (He wants to say that he was merely alive but had lost his emotions upon seeing the dead body of his friend). He stopped himself from speaking further as in his anguish he would speak words which were not appreciable.

First Citizen: Methinks there is much reason in his sayings.

The people react on hearing Antony. The first citizen says that Antony’s words make sense.

Second Citizen: If thou consider rightly of the matter,

Caesar has had great wrong.

The second citizen said that if the first citizen felt Antony to be right then Caesar had been wronged by the senators who had killed him.

Third Citizen: Has he, masters?

I fear there will a worse come in his place.

Third citizen said to the first and second that he feared that he next emperor would be worse than Caesar.

Fourth Citizen: Mark'd ye his words? He would not take the crown;

Therefore 'tis certain he was not ambitious.

Fourth citizen said that Antony said that Caesar refused the crown which indicated that he was not ambitious.

First Citizen: If it be found so, some will dear abide it.

First citizen said that they must bid goodbye to Caesar.

Second Citizen: Poor soul! his eyes are red as fire with weeping.

Second citizen said that Antony’s eyes had turned red as he had been weeping.

Third Citizen: There's not a nobler man in Rome than Antony.

The third citizen said that Antony was the most noble man in Rome.

Fourth Citizen: Now mark him, he begins again to speak.

The fourth citizen asked everyone to hear Antony’s speech.

ANTONY: But yesterday the word of Caesar might

Have stood against the world; now lies he there.

And none so poor to do him reverence.

O masters, if I were disposed to stir

Your hearts and minds to mutiny and rage,

I should do Brutus wrong, and Cassius wrong,

Who, you all know, are honourable men:

I will not do them wrong; I rather choose

To wrong the dead, to wrong myself and you ,

Than I will wrong such honourable men.

But here's a parchment with the seal of Caesar;

I found it in his closet, 'tis his will:

Let but the commons hear this testament--

Which, pardon me, I do not mean to read--

And they would go and kiss dead Caesar's wounds

And dip their napkins in his sacred blood,

Yea, beg a hair of him for memory,

And, dying, mention it within their wills,

Bequeathing it as a rich legacy

Unto their issue.

 

 

 

stood against - overcome the opposition of

poor- humble

wrong the dead- be unjust to Caesar, who has been assassinated, by calling him ambitious

to wrong myself- by not speaking what I know

you- by allowing you to be deceived by Brutus

napkins- handkerchiefs

Antony said that till the time Caesar was alive, his words were heard but now his speechless body was lying there. There was no one in Rome who was so poor that he could not pay respect to Caesar. If Antony enraged the crowd and guided them to revolt against Caesar’s killers then he would do wrong to Brutus and Cassius as he had promised them that he would not speak bad about them. As they were honourable men, he would not speak bad about them rather he would speak bad about the dead Caesar, about himself and about the people of Rome. Antony presented a document with Caesar’s seal on it which was in Caesar’s cupboard. It was his will. He was reluctant to read it as the people would be stirred with emotions upon hearing it. They would react by kissing Caesar’s wounds, dipping their handkerchiefs in his blood to keep as mementoes, begging for a strand of his hair as a memoir and would pass these things on to their next generations to be kept as a rich heritage as the memoir of the noblest Roman – Caesar.

Fourth Citizen: We'll hear the will: read it, Mark Antony.

The fourth citizen said that they wanted to listen what was written in the will.

All: The will, the will! we will hear Caesar's will.

All the people asked Antony to read out Caesar’s will.

ANTONY: Have patience, gentle friends, I must not read it;

It is not meet you know how Caesar loved you.

You are not wood, you are not stones, but men;

And, being men, hearing the will of Caesar,

It will inflame you, it will make you mad:

'Tis good you know not that you are his heirs;

For, if you should, O, what would come of it!

meet- fitting, proper

Antony asked the crowd to be patient. He said that the will must not be read to them. He did not want to tell them that Caesar loved the Romans. As they were neither made of wood, nor made of stones but were living men, they would get very angry and become mad to know that Caesar loved them so much that he had bequeathed all his belongings to the people of Rome. He feared the consequences of it.

Fourth Citizen: Read the will; we'll hear it, Antony;

You shall read us the will, Caesar's will.

The fourth citizen urged Antony to read Caesar’s will.

ANTONY: Will you be patient? will you stay awhile?

I have o'ershot myself to tell you of it:

I fear I wrong the honourable men

Whose daggers have stabb'd Caesar; I do fear it.

Antony wondered if the crowd would be patient enough to hear him. He thought that he had exceed his limits by referring to Caesar’s will as by reading it out, he feared that he would harm the reputation of the so – called ‘honourable’ men of Rome who had conspired and killed Caesar.

Fourth Citizen: They were traitors: honourable men!

The fourth citizen replied that the conspirators who had killed Caesar were traitors.

All: The will! the testament!

The crowd asked Antony to read the will.

Second Citizen: They were villains, murderers: the will! read the will.

The second citizen also repeated that the killers were bad men. He asked Antony to read the will.

ANTONY: You will compel me, then, to read the will?

Then make a ring about the corpse of Caesar,

And let me show you him that made the will.

Shall I descend? and will you give me leave?

Antony said that as the crowd had forced him, he wanted them to form a circle around Caesar’s body. He would show them the Caesar who had made the will. He sought permission to come down from the stage.

Several Citizens: Come down.

The people asked him to come down from the stage.

Second Citizen: Descend.

The second citizen asked Antony to come down.

Third Citizen: You shall have leave.

The third citizen said that Antony had their permission to come.

ANTONY comes down

Antony came down from the stage.

Fourth Citizen: A ring; stand round.

The fourth citizen asks all the people to form a circle around Caesar’s body.

ANTONY: If you have tears, prepare to shed them now.

You all do know this mantle: I remember

The first time ever Caesar put it on;

'Twas on a summer's evening, in his tent,

That day he overcame the Nervii:

Look, in this place ran Cassius' dagger through:

See what a rent the envious Casca made:

Through this the well-beloved Brutus stabb'd;

And as he pluck'd his cursed steel away,

Mark how the blood of Caesar follow'd it,

As rushing out of doors, to be resolved

If Brutus so unkindly knock'd, or no;

For Brutus, as you know, was Caesar's angel:

Judge, O you gods, how dearly Caesar loved him!

This was the most unkindest cut of all;

For when the noble Caesar saw him stab,

Ingratitude, more strong than traitors' arms,

Quite vanquish'd him: then burst his mighty heart;

And, in his mantle muffling up his face,

Even at the base of Pompey's statue,

Which all the while ran blood, great Caesar fell.

O, what a fall was there, my countrymen!

Then I, and you, and all of us fell down,

Whilst bloody treason flourish'd over us.

O, now you weep; and, I perceive, you feel

The dint of pity: these are gracious drops.

Kind souls, what, weep you when you but behold

Our Caesar's vesture wounded? Look you here,

Here is himself, marr'd, as you see, with traitors.

mantle- cloak

Nervii- the most war-like of the Gallic tribes, defeated by Caesar in 57 B.C.

envious- malicious

Ingratitude- the blow struck by Brutus' ingratitude

Which all the while ran blood- which was covered with Caesar's blood

flourish'd- triumphed

Antony said to the people that if they had tears in their bodies, then they must prepare themselves to cry. He showed Caesar’s cloak which he had worn for the first time when he had defeated the Gallic Tribes in 57 A.D. He showed them the wound that had been instilled in Caesar’s body by the jealous Casca. He said that as Casca took out the dagger from Caesar’s body, blood flowed along. The blood gushed out of Caesar’s body as if it tried to resolve the issue due to which these men had stabbed him. He added that Brutus was so unkind as he stabbed Caesar mercilessly. Brutus was loved by Caesar and had betrayed him. The stab made by Brutus took away Caesar’s life as it was the harshest – as Caesar realized that he had been betrayed by a friend. His powerful heart was broken, and he fell at the base of Pompey’s statue. With Caesar’s fall, all the Romans fell as Rome’s betrayers became victorious. He saw them weep for Caesar’s death and had pity for him. Their tears were precious drops and that they should stop them from falling as they held Caesar’s dress which had been wounded and smeared by his traitors.

First Citizen: O piteous spectacle!

The first citizen commented that Caesar’s body was pitiable.

Second Citizen: O noble Caesar!

The second citizen grieved that Caesar was a noble man.

Third Citizen: O woeful day!

The third citizen said that it was a sad day.

Fourth Citizen: O traitors, villains!

The fourth citizen said that the killers had betrayed Rome, they were bad men.

First Citizen: O most bloody sight!

The first citizen said that Caesar’s blood – soaked body was the result of the cruelest act.

Second Citizen: We will be revenged.

The second citizen said that they would take revenge for this.

All: Revenge! About! Seek! Burn! Fire! Kill! Slay!

Let not a traitor live!

The crowd was enraged and shouted to seek revenge for Caesar’s killing. They wanted to find the killers and slay them. They said that no one of the conspirators should remain alive.

ANTONY: Stay, countrymen.

Antony asked the people of Rome to stop.

First Citizen: Peace there! hear the noble Antony.

The first citizen asked the crowd and listen to the noble Antony.

Second Citizen: We'll hear him, we'll follow him, we'll die with him.

The second citizen said that they were ready to hear him, follow him and even die with him.

ANTONY: Good friends, sweet friends, let me not stir you up

To such a sudden flood of mutiny.

They that have done this deed are honourable:

What private griefs they have, alas, I know not,

That made them do it: they are wise and honourable,

And will, no doubt, with reasons answer you.

I come not, friends, to steal away your hearts:

I am no orator, as Brutus is;

But, as you know me all, a plain blunt man,

That love my friend; and that they know full well

That gave me public leave to speak of him:

For I have neither wit, nor words, nor worth,

Action, nor utterance, nor the power of speech,

To stir men's blood: I only speak right on;

I tell you that which you yourselves do know;

Show you sweet Caesar's wounds, poor poor dumb mouths,

And bid them speak for me: but were I Brutus,

And Brutus Antony, there were an Antony

Would ruffle up your spirits and put a tongue

In every wound of Caesar that should move

The stones of Rome to rise and mutiny.

flood of mutiny- wave of violence

wit- intelligence

worth- authority

Action- gestures

utterance- eloquence

right on- directly

Antony addressed the crowd as his good friends and said that he did not want to arouse a wave of violence. He was said that he did not know what personal indifferences did the conspirators have with Caesar due to which they murdered him. As they were wise men and commanded respect, they would have valid reasons for killing Caesar. He did not want to make the crowd hard – hearted and fill their hearts with hatred. He said that he was not skilled at public speaking like Brutus was but was a straightforward person instead. The senators who permitted Antony to give the speech knew that he was neither intelligent nor did he have the art of public speaking and so, he would not be able to arise the crowd against them. Antony only spoke the truth and showed them the wounds on Caesar’s body. The open wounds were like mouths which could not speak for justice. Antony said that if he were as good as Brutus at public speaking, then he would have been able to arouse the crowd to become violent and become the voice of Caesar’s wounds. Then he would be able to provoke them to seek justice on behalf of the wounds on Caesar’s body. Even the stones – the stone – hearted people would be moved with emotions and seek justice.

All: We'll mutiny.

The crowd rose to violence.

First Citizen: We'll burn the house of Brutus.

The first citizen said that they would burn the house of Brutus.

Third Citizen: Away, then! come, seek the conspirators.

The third citizens called the crowd to move and look for the conspirators.

ANTONY: Yet hear me, countrymen; yet hear me speak.

Antony stopped the crowd again as he wanted it to hear him speak.

All: Peace, ho! Hear Antony. Most noble Antony!

The crowd stopped to listen to Antony.

ANTONY: Why, friends, you go to do you know not what:

Wherein hath Caesar thus deserved your loves?

Alas, you know not: I must tell you then:

You have forgot the will I told you of.

Wherein- in what way

Antony said that he had not yet told them that Caesar deserved to be loved by the Romans. They had forgotten to read Caesar’s will.

All: Most true. The will! Let's stay and hear the will.

All the men said that they will hear the will before leaving.

ANTONY: Here is the will, and under Caesar's seal.

To every Roman citizen he gives,

To every several man, seventy-five drachmas.

drachmas- silver coins

Antony showed them the will which had Caesar’s official stamp on it. He read it – Caesar had bequeathed seventy-five silver coins to every citizen of Rome.

Second Citizen: Most noble Caesar! We'll revenge his death.

The second citizen commented that Caesar was the most noble man and that they would seek revenge for his death.

Third Citizen: O royal Caesar!

royal- generous

The third citizen commented that Caesar was generous.

ANTONY: Hear me with patience.

Antony wanted to read further and asked the crowd to be quiet.

All: Peace, ho!

The crowd screamed for silence.

ANTONY: Moreover, he hath left you all his walks,

His private arbours and new-planted orchards,

On this side Tiber; he hath left them you,

And to your heirs forever, common pleasures,

To walk abroad, and recreate yourselves.

Here was a Caesar! when comes such another?

Antony read the will further and said that Caesar had bequeathed his gardens, the flowery shelters and the fruit trees by the side of the Tiber river to the people of Rome. They were for the Romans to use for recreation. He added that this was the true Caesar and he was a rare person.

First Citizen: Never, never. Come, away, away!

We'll burn his body in the holy place,

And with the brands fire the traitors' houses.

Take up the body.

The first citizen said that they would treat Caesar’s body like a sacred object and burn it at a sacred place. They would take the burning wood from Caesar’s pyre and burn the houses of his killers with it. He asked the crowd to pick the body.

Second Citizen: Go fetch fire.

The second citizen asked for fire.

Third Citizen: Pluck down benches.

The third citizen suggested that they could pull the benches out and use the wood for fire. The crowd was so restless that it could wait no longer.

Fourth Citizen: Pluck down forms, windows, anything.

The fourth citizen suggested that hey pull anything – forms, window frames, etc.

Exeunt Citizens with the body

The citizens went with Caesar’s body.

ANTONY: Now let it work. Mischief, thou art afoot,

Take thou what course thou wilt!

afoot- started

Antony said to himself that now the crowd would work on its own and deliver justice to Caesar. He said that now bad behavior had started, and it would take further course of action that it deemed appropriate.

Exeunt

Antony exited the stage.

After the extract:

Antony instigates the mob to revenge. He then sits with Octavius Caesar, Julius

Caesar's nephew, coldly calculating how to purge any future threat. Brutus and Cassius

fall apart as the idealist in Brutus is outraged by Cassius' practicality. The armies of

Octavius Caesar and Antony clash with those of Brutus and Cassius at Philippi and

Sardis. Brutus and Cassius are defeated and both commit suicide.

Summary

The Tragedy of Julius Caesar is a tragedy believed to have been written in 1599. It is one of the several plays written by Shakespeare based on true events from Roman history, which also include ’Coriolanus’ and ’Antony and Cleopatra’.

Although the title is Julius Caesar, Caesar is not the most visible character in its action, appearing alive in only three scenes.

 Julius Caesar is an icon of political life of Rome. He has expanded the Roman Empire and bought booties to it. The play starts with Caesar wandering about in his night-gown and is kept awake by Calpurnia’s nightmares. She had been calling out in her sleep about supernatural omens that spelled disaster. Calpurnia believes that such bad omens are a premonition of evil and some harm would befall Caesar. Caesar rebuffs her, refusing to give in to fear. Caesar deems the signs to apply to the world in general and refuses to believe that they bear ill for him personally.

Finally, Calpurnia convinces Caesar to stay at home. Decius Brutus jeopardizes (put someone or something into a situation in which there is a danger of harm) Calpurnia’s plan and forces Caesar to go to the Senate, where the senators were waiting to offer a crown to him. On his way, Caesar rejects the petition of Cimber to revoke the orders for his brother’s punishment. This proves to be the last nail in his coffin. Immediately afterwards, Casca and other senators along with Brutus stab Caesar. Caesar’s last words are, “Et tu Brute?” which mean “you too Brutus?”

Mark Antony is too dumbstruck to see Caesar’s dead body in a pool of blood, but tactfully restrains himself from making any statement. He requests Brutus for allowing him to make a funeral speech. Dismissing Cassius’ objection, Brutus allows him but only after he has himself addressed the people. Antony uses his excellent oratorical skills very cleverly and succeeds in inciting the mob to mutiny and wreak havoc against the conspirators. Brutus and others have to flee for their lives and Octavious Caesar arrives to clinch the victory for Antony and save Caesar’s honour.

 

Question and Answers

Answer the following questions by ticking the correct options.

Q1. When Caesar says "Nor heaven nor earth have been at peace to-night" he sounds

……….

a) worried

b) angry

c) joyous

d) frightened

a) worried

 

2.Caesar's reference to the senators as 'graybeards' shows his ……….

a) confidence

b) cowardice

c) arrogance

d) ambition

c) arrogance

 

3.Decius Brutus changes Caesar's mind about going to the Senate by appealing to his

……………………

a) ambition

b) vanity

c) greed

d) generosity

b) vanity

 

4.The offer that Cassius makes to Antony after Caesar's assassination is that………

a) the conspirators would like to be friends with him

b) he may take Caesar's body to the pulpit and speak to the crowd praising Caesar for his achievements

c) his recommendations will be as strong as that of the conspirators while distributing the powers and benefits to friends=

d) he may join the conspiracy against Caesar

a) the conspirators would like to be friends with him

 

5.Cassius tries to stop Brutus from letting Antony speak at Caesar's funeral as he

……………………..

a) knows the Roman mob loves Caesar and Antony

b) knows Brutus is not a good orator

c) knows they should not have killed Caesar

d) knows Antony is a good orator who can sway the mob

d) knows Antony is a good orator who can sway the mob

 

6.What prophecy does Antony make over Caesar's dead body?

a) Romans will see Caesar's ghost roaming on the streets

b) Rome will experience fierce civil war in which many people will die

c) Rome will be ruled by Ate

d) Roman women will smile at the death of Caesar

b) Rome will experience fierce civil war in which many people will die

 

7.After listening to Brutus' speech, the Third Citizen says 'Let him be Caesar'. This clearly shows he ……………………….

a) has not understood Brutus' reason for killing Caesar

b) loved Caesar more than he loves Brutus

c) loves Brutus more than he loved Caesar

d) thinks Brutus killed Caesar to assume power.

a) has not understood Brutus' reason for killing Caesar

 

8.When Antony calls the conspirators 'honourable men' his tone is ………………

a) admiring

b) flattering

c) angry

d) mocking

b) flattering

 

9.Antony's reference to Caesar's conquest of the Nervii is to ………………….

a) remind the mob of Caesar's greatness as a warrior

b) make the mob feel afraid of being attacked by the war-like race

c) make the crowd weep for Caesar who died at war

d) stop and collect his emotions as he is feeling very upset

a) remind the mob of Caesar's greatness as a warrior

 

10.Antony's remark Mischief, thou art afoot,

Take thou what course thou wilt! , shows him to be …………………

a) a ruthless manipulator

b) an honourable man

c) a loyal friend

d) a tactful man

c) a loyal friend

 

Answer the following questions briefly.

 

Q1. How do the heavens 'blaze forth' the death of Julius Caesar?

A. Calpurnia sees nightmares which are a prediction by the heavens indicating the death of Julius Caesar. She sees a lioness giving birth on the streets, fierce warriors fighting a bloody war and blood in the capitol, ghosts were screaming in the streets and the dead were coming out of their graves. These were unnatural happenings and a bad omen. Thus, the heavens blazed forth to indicate the death of Caesar.

 

Q2. What does Calpurnia try to convince Caesar of?

A. Calpurnia tries to convince Caesar that she had seen unnatural scenes in a nightmare. It was a bad omen and so, he should remain at home that day. She feared his death and so, tried to convince him.

 

Q3. Why does Calpurnia say Caesar's 'wisdom is consumed in confidence'? What does she mean?

A. Calpurnia says that Caesar's 'wisdom is consumed in confidence' because Caesar decides to go to the Senate ignoring all the signs which foretell him about danger. Calpurnia felt that Caesar had become overconfident and because of this he couldn’t understand there was a threat to his life. Julius doesn’t act wise and declines the idea of staying back because according to him, if he did so, he would be considered a coward.

 

Q4. What does Calpurnia dream about Caesar? How does Decius Brutus interpret the dream?

A. Calpurnia dreamt that Caesar’s statue spouted a fountain of blood from a hundred places and the Roman nobility and commoners came smiling and washed their hands in it.

Decius Brutus interprets it as a lucky and fortunate dream. He says that Rome and Romans will get a new life. Great men shall gather around Caesar and stain their handkerchief in his blood which will be a memento for them.

 

Q5. What are the arguments put forward by Decius Brutus to convince Caesar to go to the Capitol?

A. Decius Brutus flatters Caesar and interprets that Calpurnia’s dream was a fortunate one. He says that Caesar’s fountain spouting blood from a hundred places signified his influence and respect among the people of Rome. He added that the senate had decided to crown him that day. In case Caesar did not go for the senate meeting, the senators might change their mind and he may miss the opportunity to be crowned as the king of Rome.

 

Q6. Why is Decius more successful than Calpurnia in persuading Caesar?

A. Decius Brutus is successful in convincing Caesar in comparison to Caesar. He boosts Caesar’s confidence and ego by saying that he was respected by the Romans and would be crowned that day. His words sound sweet to Caesar and so, he falls for them. On the other hand, Calpurnia’s words that Caesar should say that he is sick and so, can not attend the senate make him feel that he is a weak person and so, is resorting to lies. This is not appreciated by Caesar and so, he rejects Calpurnia’s plea. Finally, Caesar gets carried away by the words of Brutus and goes to the senate.

 

Q7. What is the petition put before Caesar by the conspirators? How does Caesar respond to it?

A. The conspirators wanted that Caesar call Publius Cimber home as he had punished him. They request him to review his earlier decision. However, Caesar does not accept their plea. He tells them that he is as firm as the Pole Star. His heart will not be softened by acts of bowing and stooping done by Mettellus Cimber. Such activities will anger him further and he will kick him away like a stray dog.

 

Q8. Who says "Et tu Brute"? When are these words spoken? Why?

A. Caesar utters these words which mean, “You too, Brutus”.

These are uttered when Brutus stabs Caesar and Caesar is hurt to see that even his dear friend Brutus could resort to such treachery.

 

Q9. In the moments following Caesar's death what do the conspirators proclaim to justify Caesar's death?

A. After Caesar’s death the conspirators claimed that Rome had got liberty, freedom and peace from his dictatorship. They claimed that Caesar had got too ambitious.

 

Q10. Seeing the body of Caesar, Antony is overcome by grief. What does he say about Caesar?

A. Antony is full of grief to see the great Caesar’s body. He says that all his victories, trophies and glories had lost their importance as he lay so low, on the ground. He wanted to be killed by the same dagger, at the same place and at the same time when the great Caesar had been killed. He felt that there could not be a better circumstance than to die like the most noble man in Rome - Caesar.

 

Q11. Whom does Antony call 'the choice and master spirits of this age"? Why?

A. Antony says that the conspirators who had killed Caesar were “the choice and master spirits of this age". He said so because by killing the leader of the Roman empire, they had taken his place and position. Thus, they had become the choice and master spirits.

 

Q12. Why does Cassius object to allowing Antony to speak at Caesar's funeral? How does Brutus overcome this objection?

A. Cassius thinks that Antony could speak against the conspirators and influence the crowd against them. Brutus says that Antony would speak with his consent and that he would speak first and give the reasons for Caesar’s death.

 

Q13. What are the conditions imposed by the conspirators before allowing Antony to speak at Caesar's funeral?

A. The conspirators directed Antony not to blame them for Caesar’s death but only to praise Caesar in his speech. He had to speak from the same stage from where Brutus spoke and had to say that he spoke with permission from the senators.

 

Q14. What prediction does Antony make regarding the future events in Rome?

A. Antony predicts that Rome will be ravaged by a civil war, violence and bloodshed. There will be dead bodies all around. The goddess of revenge, Ate will descend on Earth along with Caesar’s soul and the air will be full of foul smell emanating from the dead bodies.