|Julius Caesar Act III Study Questions
1. What excuse do the conspirators use to approach Caesar at the Capitol in Act III, Scene i? They ask that the banished brother of Metellus Cimber be brought back to Rome.
2. How does Caesar react to them? Caesar refuses.
3. Who stabs Caesar first? Casca
4. Who stabs Caesar last? Brutus
5. What does Caesar say as he dies? “Et tu, Brute? Then fall Caesar.”
6. Why is Cassius reluctant to allow Antony to speak at Caesar’s funeral? Cassius fears that Antony will move the crowd against the conspirators.
7. How does Brutus answer Cassius? Brutus says he will speak first and tell the crowd that Antony speaks with the conspirators’ permission.
8. At Caesar’s funeral in Scene ii, what reasons does Brutus offer for the assassination? He says that Caesar was killed because he was ambitious and his tyranny would have made the Romans slaves.
9. What does the crowd say it will do for Brutus? They offer to crown him.
10. What does the crowd say about Caesar? They will call him a tyrant.
11. Why does the crowd let Antony speak at all? They promised Brutus they would hear him out.
12. To which qualities and actions of Caesar’s does Antony refer in Scene ii, lines 83-9 5? Antony described those acts of Caesar that benefited Rome: his sympathy for the poor and his refusal of the crown.
13. What does Antony say about the assassins in lines 171-194? He describes the wounds made by Cassius and Brutus on Caesar’s body. Brutus’s wound was “the unkindest cut of all” because Caesar loved him best. He ends by calling the assassins “traitors.”
14. Relate the terms of Caesar’s will, and describe the crowd’s behavior as Antony ends his speech. Caesar has left park-like walkways for the people, etc. By this point, the crowd has been whipped into a frenzy and wants to avenge Caesar’s death.
15. Why does Caesar say what he does when Brutus stabs him? Brutus betrayal comes as a shock; Caesar thought Brutus loved him as he loved Brutus. This makes Brutus’s betrayal seem especially heartless.
16. In Scene i why does Brutus brush aside Cassius’s concern about allowing Antony to speak at the funeral? Brutus seems to be genuinely politically naïve, although intelligent, and reacts to situations with reason. After careful consideration, he reasons that if he speaks with the crowd first, they will agree with the conspirators and nothing Antony says can change their minds.
17. Which man – Brutus or Cassius – proves the better judge of Antony? Cassius
18. How should the people view the conspirators and Caesar, according to Brutus’s funeral speech? The people should view the conspirators as true Romans who acted to save their country from tyranny.
19. How should the people view the conspirators and Caesar, according to Antony’s funeral speech? According to Antony’s funeral speech, the people should view the conspirators as traitors.
20. How does the meaning of the line “Brutus is an honorable man” change during Antony’s funeral speech? At first, it appears as though Antony sincerely refers to Brutus as honorable. However, as the line is repeated, it becomes clear that Antony is using it as a rhetorical device to discredit Brutus…and it works brilliantly.
21. To what different aspects of human nature do Brutus and Antony appeal? Brutus appeals to reason, while Antony appeals to emotion.
22. Which man is the better judge of human character? Obviously Antony is the better judge of people; he knows that emotion is more likely to move people to action that is reason.
23. Who has replaced Caesar as the most powerful man in Rome by the end of Act III? Antony
24. Has Rome gained or lost from this change of power? Rome has lost a capaple leader in Caesar. Antony is an unknown quantity who has shown only that he enjoys having power and can manipulate people. Caesar’s death was a meaningless act, since it did not eliminate the threat of tyranny.
25. On the basis of the plebeians’ behavior in Scenes ii and iii, describe Shakespeare’s attitude toward democracy. Explain the validity of Shakespeare’s attitude.
Shakespeare portrays the plebeians as easily manipulated and inclined toward mindless violence. This portrayal suggests that Shakespeare may have thought that democracy, which would give power to these people, is dangerous. On the other hand, since Shakespeare had no direct experience with democracy, he may be characterizing the common people unfairly.