Act I scene 1

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JULIUS CAESAR ~~ Guided Reading
Answer the questions below using complete sentences.


\1. Where does this scene take place? When does the scene take place?


2. Why are the commoners in the streets?
3. What is the attitude toward Caesar from Flavius and Murellus?


4. Summarize the first scene.


5. Why do you think Shakespeare does not introduce any of his leading characters until the second scene? In other words, what was the point of the 1st scene?

6. What warning does the soothsayer give Caesar? What does it mean?


7. What does Caesar’s reaction to the soothsayer tell you about his character?

8. Compare and contrast the views of Caesar held by Cassius and Brutus.
9. What is Cassius’ objective in his talk with Brutus?

10. As this scene ends, Cassius reveals his plan. What is it? What does he hope to accomplish with this plan?




11. Where does this scene take place? When does it take place?


12. How do Casca and Cicero interpret the unnatural events that have been occurring?
13. According to Cassius, how is Caesar able to be a “wolf” and a “lion”?
14. In lines 159-162, Casca suggests what Brutus’ function will be in the conspiracy. Why is he a necessary part of the conspiracy?

15. Summarize scene two.


1. Notice in the first sentence of this scene and throughout the play the manner in which Shakespeare informs his audience

of the time of day. Remember that all Elizabethan plays were presented in the afternoon under an open sky; no lighting,

of course, was available. How do we know what time of day it is and what day it is at the beginning of this scene?

Reference to stars = night
2. The beauty of Shakespeare’s writing shows itself in Brutus’ soliloquy. Notice the imagery. Notice how Brutus’ thoughts

turn from adder (snake) to ladder and then back to adder. (a)What reason does Brutus give in this soliloquy for wishing

Caesar’s death? (b)Has he made a final decision to join the conspirators?

For general good of the Romans state and people; Yes

3. What reasons did Brutus give for going along with the conspirators?

Caesar’s nature might change if he were crowned; The welfare of the state must come before personal feelings
4. (a)How is Brutus influenced by the letters thrown into his room? (b)Does he suspect who really wrote them?

Intensifies his decision; yes
5. Notice the pointed reference to the Ides of March. Why does the author do this? To establish time-- date
6. Is Brutus a man of action or of thought? How has the decision to join the conspirators affected him?

Thought; it’s tearing him apart
7. Observe the mysterious manner in which the conspirators come to the home of Brutus. In general, what does Brutus say

to them about their present behavior? “Are you ashamed to show yourselves at night—when evil has most freedom. – What will you do at daylight? Hide behind smiles?

8. When Brutus and Cassius disagree about how things should be done, which gets his way? Why?

Brutus, because his involvement is necessary to make the conspiracy work
9. What are Cassius’ reasons for making the unwise decisions? What are Brutus’ reasons?

Cassius doesn’t want to alienate Brutus; Brutus is honorable

10. Who is Decius and what part will he play in the conspiracy? He will sway him—bring him to Capitol

11. (a)What are some of the characteristics of Portia? (b)How are these revealed to us? (c)For what reason does she

inflict a voluntary wound in her thigh? (She slashes herself with a knife or razor.)

Strong, faithful; Her speech, actions, To prove her ability to keep a secret under pressure
12. Who is Ligarius? What do we know about him? In what way is Shakespeare’s description of his appearance out of

context? A servant of Brutus; “wearing a kerchief”

13. Name the conspirators. Cassius, Casca, Decius, Brutus, Cinna, Metellus, Cimber, Trebonus
14. Notice the important decisions that are made at Brutus’ home on this stormy night before the Ides of March. (a)What

do the conspirators decide about Cicero? (b)What do the conspirators decide about Mark Antony?

To leave him out because he will not follow others; Not to kill him

15. Who is Lucius? How is he used in contrast to Brutus?

Young servant—youthful innocence; Brutus—maturity, thoughtful


1. Where does this scene take place? Rome, Caesar’s house

2. Describe the scenes seen by the watchman, as related by Calpurnia. (lines 13-26)

lion giving birth in street; graves open and dead rising; drops of blood (rain); cloud picture of warrior
3. What two omens tell Caesar not to go to the Senate? beast without a heart; Calpurnia’s dream
4. What is the excuse that Caesar has been looking for? He will say that for Calpurnia’s sake, he will stay home
5. Is Caesar superstitious? Yes~~ auger and Calpurnia’s dreams; no~~ soothsayer
6. What is the interpretation of Calpurnia’s dream by Decius?

from you, Great Rome shall suck reviving blood”-- source of new blood for Rome

7. What other two reasons does Decius give to persuade Caesar to go?

Senate is planning to give Caesar a crown and might change mind; Caesar would appear afraid

1. Who is reading a letter which he intends to give to Caesar? Artemidores

2. Who is mentioned in this letter? Name them.

The conspirators—Brutus, Cassius, Casca, Cinna, Trebonius, Metellus Cimber, Ligarius, Decius Brutus
3. When and where does he intend to give the letter to Caesar? On steps of Senate, in street near Capitol
4. How has he learned of the conspiracy? We never learn how—maybe no leak of info if they had taken oath
5. Does the scene suggest a way of escape for Caesar? How?

look about you”; “If you read this, O Caesar, thou mayst live.”


1. We learn in this scene that Portia knows about the plot against Caesar. (a)How is this knowledge revealed to us? (b) Do you think she approves? (c) How do you think she learned of the conspiracy?

She sends Lukius to the Capitol to see what is going on.; “Brutus, the Heavens speed thee in thine enterprise.”; Brutus has said he will tell her.
2. How does Shakespeare go about illustrating Portia’s desperation? Extreme nervousness
3. Why is Lucius sent to the Senate house? To see what is going on
4. Who intends to speak to Caesar where the street is more “void”? Soothsayer
5. What does this person intend to say to Caesar? Warn him


1. Describe Caesar’s last chance to avoid certain death. He rejects Artmidorus and soothsayer
2. In what way does Popilius alarm Cassius? He has knowledge of conspiracy; Cassius refers to suicide
3. In his response to the request of Metellus Cimber, which lines show Caesar’s arrogance and vanity?

“Caesar doth not wrong…” and “might fire the blood of ordinary men.”
4. Is Mettellus Cimber serious in wanting his brother’s banishment repealed or is there another reason for bringing up the

subject? Probably would have liked it, but his real reason is to approach Caesar to assassinate him.

5. Caesar dies at the base of Pompey’s statue. What is the irony here? Caesar had defeated Pompey
6. Is the death of Caesar the climax of the play? Explain. No. climax is Brutus’ decision to let Antony speak at funeral.
7. Have the conspirators anticipated the flight of the people from the Senate? What does Brutus do to calm them?

No. He calls out, “Fly not; stand still; ambitious debt is paid.”
8. Why do the conspirators bathe their hands in Caesar’s blood? To show their mutual responsibility
9. a) Is Mark Antony a coward for first sending his servant to the Senate?

He’s cautious; Cassius had originally planned Antony’s death
b) Is he sincere when he says that he prefers to die at this time and in this place if the conspirators have also

planned his death? No—his soliloquy shows this; Brutus had promised no harm

c) Does he plan to make real peace with the conspirators? no
d) Why does he shake hands with them? Doesn’t want to arouse conspirators’ suspicion
e) What is the primary objective when he comes to the Senate after Caesar’s assassination?

He wants to be free to act for vengeance
f) Does he achieve it? yes
10. a) Which lines tell that Cassius offers Antony political power in the new regime?

“Will you be pricked in number of our friends.”
b) How is this consistent with Cassius’ character? Offer—if it will help conspirators

c) Antony, too, is beginning to appear interested in his own personal gain. Why doesn’t he accept Cassius’ offer?

He plans revenge—excuses himself—says he was swayed by seeing Caesar’s body
11. a) What indicates that Cassius is more practical than Brutus?

He knows it will be mistake to allow Antony to speak at the funeral; worries people may be moved; knowledge that Antony is an orator
b) Is he worried about Brutus giving Antony permission to speak at the funeral service?

Yes. Brutus thinks it shows good faith.
12. Antony is allowed to speak upon the condition that he abide by four regulations set up by the conspirators.

a) What are the regulations?

does not blame conspirators; by permission of conspirators; all good he can devise of Caesar; speak in same pulpit
b) Which one of these regulation shows further bad judgment on the part of Brutus? Why?

Speak all good you can devise of Caesar; people will be angry that he was murdered

13. What request does Antony make of Brutus in regard to Caesar’s body?

Produce his body to the market place and in the pulpit; as became a friend, speak in the order of his funeral
14. What is another of Brutus’ major mistakes? Speaking first and leaving
15. In Antony’s soliloquy over the body of Caesar, what does he predict?

Chaos; curse on all mankind; civil war in Italy; bloody acts common
16. Who is Octavius Caesar? What do you learn about Octavius at the end of this scene?

Caesar’s adopted heir; his nephew He is close by Rome
17. What request does Antony make of Octavius’ servant? Why can this be called “stagecraft”?

Because of no front curtain, Antony needs help to remove “corpse”
18. Why does Shakespeare have very few stage deaths in his plays? Because of difficulty in removing bodies


1. Why does the use of prose in Brutus’ funeral speech show that he is sincere?

Language of reason—perfect balance in sentence structure
2. What reasons does Brutus give for Caesar’s death? Are they logical or emotional?

Caesar was ambitious; They would not be free Logical; he loved Caesar, but loved Rome more

3. What shows that the Roman people do not understand the main point of the speech? “Let him be Caesar!”

4. Brutus does not realize his mistake in letting Antony speak after his own remarks. He leaves the funeral without waiting

to hear Antony’s oration. Why?

He is pleased of himself. Self-deception—he places trust in people who are less idealistic than himself; lack of

practicality in his idealism
5. All of the mistakes which Brutus has made are manifestations of a basic “flaw” within his character. What is this flaw?

6. The use of poetry by Antony shows his emotional attitude as he begins to speak. How does he skillfully manipulate the

“thinking” of the crowd? Poetry—language of feeling Caesar’s body

7. Does Antony really prove that Caesar was not ambitious? no
8. How does Antony use verbal irony, sarcasm, and psychology to influence the mob? Give examples of each.

Verbal irony—honorable men stabbing Caesar; Sarcasm—repetition of honorable;

Psychology—uses understatement at end of speech (self-interest)
9. What is Antony’s reason for mentioning the will of Caesar? Why doesn’t he read it when he first mentions it to the

crowd? He baits the audience—he wants them to beg him. It adds suspense.

10. In what way does the last part of Antony’s speech differ from the first part, and what might account for this change in

approach to the people? He knows he has swayed them—no longer must abide by the rules of the conspirators

11. Antony obviously does not know which conspirators made which holes.

a) What is the effect of displaying the robe of Caesar? Heightens the emotional impact

b) Does the crowd see through his dramatic display of the mutilated garment? no
c) Is this consistent with their previous actions? yes
12. What were the contents of Caesar’s will? 75 drachma to every citizen; his walks, arbors, orchards on this side of Tiber
13. In what ways is Mark Antony’s character revealed after the death of Caesar?

Shows he will use death of Caesar to gain power for himself
14. What was Antony’s real reason for inciting the crowd? Explain.

To gain control of the crowd and turn them against the conspirators. To gain power for himself.
15. Of what does Octavius’ servant inform Antony?

Octavius and Lepidus are at Caesar’s house. Brutus and Cassius are out of the town

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