What dramatic effects does Shakespeare achieve in the scene’s opening lines

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English 10

Julius Caesar


Act III Scene I

  1. What dramatic effects does Shakespeare achieve in the scene’s opening lines?

  1. Describe the irony you see in Caesar’s last speech, which begins, “I could well be moved.”

  1. Who is the first person to stab Caesar? Who is the last person to stab Caesar and why is it important that he was the one to do so?

  1. Earlier, in Act II, Scene I, Brutus presented the assassination as a sacrifice, not just a brutal murder. What action in Act III, scene I, echoes that view?

  1. How does the scene of the assassination relate to Calpurnia’s dream?

  1. What does the scene reveal about Marc Antony? How is his loyalty to Caesar now a bit unclear to us?

  1. Identify the conflict presented in the following lines:

Therefore I took your hands, but was indeed

Swayed 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.

  1. What does Marc Antony say he wants to do? How do Brutus and Cassius react?

  1. When all the conspirators have left the scene, Antony relievers a soliloquy. What does he say?

  1. In the light of the soliloquy, what do you expect Antony to attempt in his speech at Caesar’s funeral?

Act III, Scene ii


  1. Both Brutus and Cassius plan to deliver speeches. What will be their main goal?

  1. Cassius goes off stage, but Shakespeare includes Brutus’s speech in the scene. Is the speech written in prose (ordinary spoken language) or in poetic lines? Why does Shakespeare use this form?

  1. What does Brutus declare about his own attitude toward Caesar?

  1. Define the word ambitious. How has the meaning of the word changed over time? I.E. How is our interpretations of this word today different from the way Shakespeare uses it in Brutus’s speech?

  1. Brutus includes several rhetorical questions (a question that you ask without expecting an answer). What are they?

  1. Why does Brutus conclude that he has offended no one?

  1. In the concluding lines, what does Brutus claim to be willing to do?

  1. How would you describe the style and tone of the speech as a whole?

  1. How do the citizens respond to Brutus’s words? Why are we able to anticipate this response before it even surfaces?


  1. How might Antony’s second sentence surprise the audience?

  1. He goes on to refute the idea that Caesar was ambitious. (Remember the definition of ambition in Shakespeare’s writing) What evidence does he provide?

  1. Do you hear any irony—or even sarcasm—in Antony’s comments about Brutus? How so?

  1. What seems to cause the first pause in his speech?

  1. In the second part of the speech, before he descends to Caesar’s body, Antony refers to Caesar’s will. What is his purpose?

  1. How does Antony manage to bring the crowd to tears?

  1. How does Antony’s words affect the crowd? How does this connect to our opinion of the common people that we established in the very first scene of the play (Flavius and Marallus)?

  1. What does Antony claim about his skill as an orator (public speaker)? Is he correct? How so?

  1. Finally, Antony shares the contents of Caesar’s will. What has Caesar left to the people?

  1. Antony pauses several times in the course of his speech. What are the effects of these pauses?

  1. What information at the end of the scene suggests that Mar Antony is not completely overwhelmed with sorrow?

  1. What happened to Brutus and Cassius? Why?

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