Get notes, workbook solutions, summary, questions and answers, and pdf of the drama/play Julius Caesar (Act 1 Scene 1) by William Shakespeare which is part of ICSE Class 9 English. However, the notes should only be treated for references and changes should be made according to the needs of the students.
The scene opens with Julius Caesar’s triumphant return to Rome after defeating Pompey and his sons. The citizens of Rome are out on the streets in large numbers, celebrating Caesar’s victory. Trophies won by Caesar are displayed on the statues around Rome. However, two tribunes, Flavius and Marullus, are not pleased with the public’s celebration. They rebuke the crowd for their fickleness, reminding them that they had recently considered Pompey to be a god. Feeling guilty for their ingratitude, the crowd disperses. Flavius and Marullus then decide to remove all the trophies won by Caesar from the statues, even though it is the feast of Lupercal, a Roman festival.
The scene sets the stage for the unfolding drama by introducing the audience to the political and social atmosphere in Rome. It highlights the fickleness of the mob and how easily they shift their loyalty from Pompey to Caesar. The tribunes, although not central characters, introduce us to the atmosphere of strife and disunity in Rome. The scene also hints at the growing opposition to Caesar’s dictatorship.
Multiple Choice Questions
1. Flavius calls the commoners
a. idle creatures b. foolish artisans c. good for nothing fellows d. carpenters
Answer: a. idle creatures
2. The second citizen is a
a. carpenter b. cobbler c. chef d. soldier
Answer: b. cobbler
3. Marullus addresses the citizens to be
a. blocks b. stones c. worse than senseless things d. all of the above
Answer: d. all of the above
4. In order to intermit the plague the commoners are instructed to
a. run to their houses b. fall upon your knees c. weep their tears into the river
Answer: c. weep their tears into the river
5. Caesar is compared to a
a. lion b. falcon c. raven d. dove
Answer: a. lion
Read the extract below and answer the questions that follow:
Wherefore rejoice? What conquest brings he home?
What tributaries follow him to Rome,
To grace in captive bonds his chariot-wheels?
1. Who speaks these lines? To whom are these words addressed?
Answer: Marullus, one of the tribunes of Rome, speaks these lines. They are addressed to the common citizens who have gathered on the streets of Rome.
2. Who is ‘he’ referred to in the first line of the extract? What does the speaker want to convey to the listeners?
Answer: ‘He’ refers to Julius Caesar. Marullus wants to convey his anger and disapproval at the commoners for mindlessly celebrating Caesar’s victory over Pompey. He wants to remind them of their prior fickleness.
3. What is the conquest referred to in the extract? Why has the conqueror not brought any territories to Rome by his conquest?
Answer: The conquest being referred to is Caesar’s recent defeat of his rival Pompey and his forces at the battle of Pharsalus. Caesar has not brought any new territories or subjects to Rome because his war against Pompey was a civil war for supremacy, not one aimed at expanding the Roman Republic.
4. How does the speaker show his anger towards the listeners after the extract?
Answer: After the extract, Marullus bitterly berates the commoners, calling them “blocks, stones, worse than senseless things” for their foolishness in celebrating Caesar, having forgotten their former loyalties. He works them into a state of shame and guilt.
5. Give the meanings of:
a. What territories follow him to Rome
Answer: Which new lands/provinces does Caesar bring back to Rome after his conquest.
b. To grace in captive bonds is chariot wheels
Answer: o decorate his chariot wheels with chained captive prisoners.
MARULLUS – What trade, thou knave? thou naughty knave, what trade?
Nay, I beseech you, sir, be not out with me: yet,
if you be out, sir, I can mend you.
1. Who is Marullus? Why is he angry with the citizens?
Answer: Marullus is one of the tribunes of Rome, elected officials meant to protect the rights of the common people. He is angry with the citizens because they have taken a holiday and are celebrating Julius Caesar’s recent victory over Pompey the Great, their former “hero”.
2. Why are the citizens out on the streets?
Answer: The common citizens have taken the day off work and are out in the streets of Rome celebrating Caesar’s triumph over the forces of Pompey and his sons.
3. What has the second citizen said just before this extract to annoy Marullus? What is his profession?
Answer: Just prior to the extract, the second citizen has cleverly avoided answering Marullus’s questions about his trade by making puns about cobbling and mending shoes. This has further incensed Marullus. The second citizen is a cobbler by profession.
4. a. Give the meanings of:
i. If you be out
Answer: If you are angry/provoked.
ii. I can mend you
Answer: I can repair/patch up things with you (pun on his profession as a cobbler)
b. How does the second citizen reveal his identity later?
Answer: The second citizen reveals he is a cobbler by making puns on cobbling/mending shoes when answering Marullus.
MARULLUS – And when you saw his chariot but appear,
Have you not made an universal shout,
That Tiber trembled underneath her banks,
To hear the replication of your sounds
Made in her concave shores?
1. Who is Marullus referring to? Where did the people gather to see his chariot?
Answer: Marullus is referring to Julius Caesar. The common people had gathered by the banks of the river Tiber to see Caesar’s triumphal chariot pass by in a procession.
2. What do ‘replication’ and ‘concave shore’ mean? Explain the last two lines of the extract.
Answer: ‘Replication’ means echo or reverberation; ‘concave shores’ refers poetically to the curved banks of the Tiber river. Marullus says that when Caesar’s chariot appeared, the people’s ecstatic shouts were so loud and frenzied that the sound echoed and reverberated along the hollow, concave river banks.
3. What does Marullus tell them to do to repent for their mistake?
Answer: Marullus instructs the people to go home, fall on their knees, and ritually wash their tears of regret into the Tiber river to repent for their mistake of celebrating Caesar’s victory over Pompey.
4. How does Marullus make them feel guilty?
Answer: Marullus makes the fickle people feel guilty by graphically reminding them of the extreme loyalty and love they earlier showed for Pompey, contrasting it with their present excitement over Caesar’s triumph against him.
5. What effect do Marullus’ words have on the people?
Answer: Marullus’ harsh words fill the commoners with shame and remorse over their disloyalty. They promptly leave without another word, crestfallen and heartsick.
MARULLUS – May we do so?
You know it is the feast of Lupercal.
FLAVIUS – It is no matter; let no images
Be hung with Caesar’s trophies.
1. What instruction has Flavius given to Marullus before this extract?
Answer: Before the extract, Flavius had instructed Marullus to remove the ceremonial decorations and victory trophies hung on statues around Rome in Caesar’s honour.
2. Why is Marullus hesitant to carry out the orders of Flavius? What is the significance of that day?
Answer: Marullus hesitates to follow the order because it is the feast day of Lupercalia, a Roman festival holiday, so it may be considered inappropriate to remove the celebratory trophies and decorations on a festive occasion.
3. What does Flavius volunteer to do after the extract?
Answer: After the extract, the more decisive Flavius volunteers to drive away the common citizen crowds from the streets while Marullus strips the trophies from the statues.
4. What is meant by ‘trophies’? Why does Flavius say that no images should be hung with Caesar’s trophies?
Answer: ‘Trophies’ refers to the symbols of victory and triumph, like ceremonial wreaths and garlands, hung on statues to honour conquering generals. Flavius wants to remove them as he views Caesar’s growing power as dangerous and does not want to feed his ambitions.
5. How is Flavius more assertive than Marullus? Why do you think so?
Answer: Flavius demonstrates more initiative and assertiveness than Marullus in taking action against the public honours being given to Caesar. Marullus is more cautious and concerned about propriety on a feast day.
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