Julius Caesar Act 5 Scene 1: ICSE Class 10 workbook answers

julius caesar act 5 scene 1
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Get notes, workbook solutions, summary, questions and answers, and pdf of the drama/play Julius Caesar (Act 5 Scene 1) by William Shakespeare, which is part of ICSE Class 10 English. However, the notes should only be treated as references, and changes should be made according to the needs of the students.


The scene opens on the plains of Philippi in Macedonia, where the armies of Brutus and Cassius are confronting the forces of Octavius and Mark Antony. Before the battle commences, the two sets of leaders engage in a heated exchange of insults and accusations.

Octavius first mocks Brutus and Cassius, saying they have abandoned their strategic position on the hills to fight on the even plains, playing into the hands of the enemy. Antony then taunts them, saying he knows their true motivations – they want to merely put on a brave face and appear courageous.

As a messenger arrives, warning of the enemy’s approach, Antony and Octavius briefly argue over commanding the left or right flanks of their army. Despite Antony’s seniority, the headstrong Octavius refuses to follow his plan.

The generals from both sides then step forward for negotiations, but it quickly devolves into a bitter war of words. Brutus tries to reason that words are better than violence, but Antony condemns him as a hypocrite for his role in assassinating the beloved Caesar. He accuses the conspirators of flattering Caesar before treacherously stabbing him in the back like animals.

Cassius trades insults with Antony, mocking his words as hollow and meaningless. The teenage Octavius then derides Cassius, vowing vengeance for Caesar’s death no matter how many conspirators he must kill. The argument grows so heated that the two armies nearly come to blows before the leaders withdraw.

As the battle looms, Cassius confides in his friend Messala that omens and portents seem to presage their defeat, despite Cassius having previously rejected such superstitious beliefs. He describes how their march from Sardis was guided by two eagles, symbolizing victory, but those have now been replaced by foreboding ravens and crows.

In a farewell scene, Brutus and Cassius acknowledge this may be the last time they see each other alive. Brutus states he is prepared to die honorably rather than be paraded as a captive through Rome. The two vow that even if they never meet again, their parting is a noble one befitting their years of friendship.

As the scene closes, a sense of looming tragedy pervades, with the republican forces beset by omens of doom. While Antony and Octavius radiate confidence, Brutus and Cassius seem to accept the likelihood of defeat, resolved to face it with courage and honor intact.

Workbook answers

Multiple Choice Questions

1. Antony asks Octavius to lead the battle from

A. the left side B. the right side C. rear end D. from all directions

Answer: B. the right side

2. Antony addresses Brutus and Cassius as

A. Traitors B. Villains C. Usurper D. Bees

Answer: B. Villains

3. Cassius believes in the philosophy of

A. Epicurus B. Cato C. Strato D. Pythagoras

Answer: A. Epicurus

4. Coming from Sardis, the army saw

A. two mighty evils B. two mighty eagles C. two mighty elephants D. two soldiers

Answer: B. two mighty eagles

5. Brutus, if defeated

A. was contented to be led through the streets as a captive B. was not contented to be led through the streets as a captive C. would join hands with Antony and Octavius D. would run away

Answer: B. was not contented to be led through the streets as a captive

Context questions


OCTAVIUS They mean to warn us at Philippi here 1
Answering before we do demand of them
ANTONY – Tut! I am in their bosoms, and I know wherefore they do it.

1. What reasons does Antony give to Octavius for their enemies attacking them first?

Answer: Antony suggests that their enemies aim to demonstrate bravery and courage by attacking first, intending to create an impression of strength and valor before any demands are made of them.

2. What news does a messenger bring after the extract? What does Antony suggest to Octavius? How does Octavius disagree with Antony? Give two instances.

Answer: The messenger reports that the enemy approaches in a bold display, ready for battle. Antony suggests a strategic positioning for their forces, recommending Octavius lead the battle softly on upon the left hand of the field. Octavius disagrees, choosing instead to take the right hand. When Antony questions “Why do you cross me in this exigent?”, Octavius replies “I do not cross you, but I will do so.”

3. What military strategy was followed? What was Brutus’ argument for following the strategy?

Answer: The military strategy involved direct confrontation and parley before battle. Brutus advocated for discussion (“Words before blows”), suggesting that resolving conflicts through dialogue is preferable to violence, reflecting his belief in the power of reason over force.

4. How does Antony taunt Brutus? How does Antony describe the unethical manner in which the conspirators attacked Caesar? Who does he compare them to?

Answer: Antony taunts Brutus by highlighting the hypocrisy in his actions, specifically Brutus’s proclamation of loyalty to Caesar (“Long live, hail, Caesar!”) while plotting his death. He describes the conspirators’ attack on Caesar as cowardly and deceitful, comparing them to animals (apes, hounds) and slaves.

5. How does Octavius show better capability and practicality compared to Antony as he stands arguing with the conspirators?

Answer: Octavius demonstrates his capability and practicality through his decisive leadership and clear command in the battlefield arrangement. His insistence on choosing his battle position, despite Antony’s suggestion, shows a practical approach to military strategy, focusing on tactical advantage over personal disagreement.


CASSIUS — Messala
This is my birthday, as this very day was Cassius born. Give me thy hand Messala.

1. After the extract, Cassius narrates two contradicting sights he saw. What were they? What does he feel the sights symbolize?

Answer: Cassius describes seeing mighty eagles followed by ominous birds like ravens, crows, and kites. He interprets this transition as a bad omen, symbolising doom and defeat, indicating a shift from a sign of strength to an indication of impending disaster.

2. Give the meanings of the lines that follow the extract: ‘As we were sickly prey their shadows seem / A canopy most fatal’

Answer: These lines convey Cassius’s perception of the ominous birds casting shadows over their army, symbolizing death and defeat. The “canopy most fatal” metaphorically represents a looming threat of disaster, suggesting their army is vulnerable and marked for doom.

3. What character traits of Cassius are seen? How does he appear to have a different bent of mind from what he had earlier in the play?

Answer: Cassius shows a blend of superstition and pragmatism, contrasting with his earlier rational and manipulative demeanor. His belief in omens and his emotional response to the situation reveal a more vulnerable and introspective side, acknowledging the influence of fate and the gods.

4. What philosophy had Cassius followed earlier? Why does he discard this philosophy? What does this show of Cassius?

Answer: Cassius previously adhered to Epicureanism, which generally disregarded omens and the supernatural. He discards this philosophy due to the ominous signs he interprets as warnings of defeat, reflecting a change in his belief system influenced by fear and uncertainty, indicating a significant personal transformation.

5. State the reasons for Cassius’ downfall where Brutus is concerned.

Answer: Cassius’ downfall can be attributed to his shift in beliefs, the emotional toll of the war, and his reliance on Brutus’s leadership and moral compass. This dependency, coupled with strategic errors and misinterpretations of omens, contributes to his tragic end.


CASSIUS-Then, if we lose the battle,
You are contented to led in triumph
Through the streets of Rome?
BRUTUS – No, Cassius, no: Think not, thou noble Roman
That ever Brutus will go bound to Rome.

1. What has Brutus just said to make Cassius utter these words?

Answer: Brutus expressed his philosophical stance against suicide, advocating patience and acceptance of fate, contrasting with the notion of actively preventing destiny through self-harm. This prompts Cassius to question Brutus’s willingness to face public humiliation if they lose the battle.

2. What Roman practice is referred to by Cassius as a result of losing a battle?

Answer: Cassius refers to the practice of leading defeated generals in a triumphal parade through Rome, a form of public humiliation and acknowledgment of their defeat.

3. Explain “That ever Brutus will go bound to Rome?” How does Brutus’ words show that he is truly honorable?

Answer: Brutus’s refusal to be paraded as a captive in Rome underscores his deep sense of honor and dignity. He would rather end the battle and the cause for which he fought than suffer the indignity of being led in triumph. This steadfastness reflects his commitment to his principles over life itself, demonstrating his nobility.

4. What was the significance of the Ides of March? What was its effect later in the play?

Answer: The Ides of March marks the day Julius Caesar was assassinated, a pivotal event orchestrated by Brutus, Cassius, and other conspirators. Throughout the play, this act haunts the conspirators, with Caesar’s ghost symbolizing the moral and political repercussions of their deeds, ultimately leading to their downfall.

5. Do Brutus and Cassius meet again? If not, why?

Answer: No, Brutus and Cassius do not meet again after their parting. This is because they both die in the ensuing battle, fulfilling their shared premonition of their final farewell being their last.

Extra/additional MCQs

1. Where do the opposing armies confront each other?

A. Rome B. Philippi C. Sardis D. Macedonia

Answer: B. Philippi

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16. What leads Octavius and Antony to argue before the battle?

A. Strategy B. Leadership C. Personal insults D. Positions on the battlefield

Answer: D. Positions on the battlefield

Extra/additional questions and answers

1. What omen does Cassius mention before the battle at Philippi?

Answer: Cassius mentions seeing eagles replaced by ravens, crows, and kites, which he interprets as an omen of defeat and doom for their army.

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12. How does Antony use rhetoric to challenge Brutus and Cassius during their parley?

Answer: Antony uses rhetoric to skillfully challenge Brutus and Cassius during their parley by questioning their motives and integrity. He juxtaposes Brutus’ reputation for honor with the act of murder, thereby undermining Brutus’ moral standing and casting doubt on the righteousness of their cause. Antony’s taunts and accusations are designed to provoke and unsettle, showcasing his mastery of psychological warfare. His ability to invoke Caesar’s memory as a means of moral indictment serves not only as a personal attack but also as a strategic effort to weaken the resolve of his opponents before the battle.

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