Get notes, workbook solutions, summary, questions and answers, and pdf of the drama/play Julius Caesar (Act 1 Scene 2) 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.
In the aftermath of a decisive victory against Pompey and his sons, Caesar returns triumphantly to Rome. The city is adorned with trophies won in battle, and a large crowd gathers to celebrate the end of a ruinous civil war. Yet the victory, unprecedented in that it’s against a Roman citizen, splits the populace into two camps: those who support Caesar and those who do not.
Tribunes Flavius and Marullus find themselves angered by the sight of craftsmen abandoning work to revel in the festivities. They chide the citizens for their inconsistent loyalties.
Amid the celebrations, a soothsayer cautions Caesar about the Ides of March, a warning Caesar brushes off as mere dreaming. Meanwhile, Cassius seizes an opportunity to speak privately with Brutus, who reveals his unease about the possibility of Caesar ascending to the throne. Cassius skillfully amplifies Brutus’ concerns, invoking the legacy of Brutus’ ancestor, Junius Brutus, who resisted tyranny. Brutus confesses that he’d rather live as a common villager than under a dictator.
As the festivities conclude, Caesar returns, visibly irritated. Eager to understand why, Brutus and Cassius question Casca, who informs them that Mark Antony had thrice offered a crown to Caesar. Although Caesar declined each time, his hesitation suggests he actually wanted to accept it. He then suffered an epileptic seizure, adding to the mounting concerns about his fitness to lead.
Sensing an opportunity, Cassius hatches a plan to further manipulate Brutus. He decides to send anonymous letters to Brutus, raising questions about Caesar’s ambitions and subtly suggesting what the Roman populace expects of their leaders — thereby deepening Brutus’ internal conflict about Caesar’s rising power.
Multiple Choice Questions
1. Caesar had a fever in
Answer: b. Spain
2. Caesar suffered from
Answer: a. an epileptic fit
3. The crown was offered to Caesar by the
Answer: c. Mark Antony
4. Caesar voiced his fears to Antony about Cassius
Answer: c. both of the above
5. Caesar was deaf from
Answer: b. the right ear
CAESAR-Who is it in the press that calls on me?
I hear a tongue, shriller than all the music,
Cry ‘Caesar!’ Speak; Caesar is turn’d to hear.
1. Who called out to Caesar? What did he warn Caesar of?
Answer: The Soothsayer called out loudly to Caesar, standing out amongst the cheers and music of the crowd. He warned Caesar to “Beware the ides of March,” which refers to March 15th. This warning foreshadows Caesar’s assassination.
2. What is the meaning of ‘Press’? Give another meaning of ‘Press’.
Answer: ‘Press’ refers to the crowd gathered to celebrate Caesar’s triumph. Another meaning of ‘press’ is to squeeze, push, or apply pressure, which reflects the crowded and chaotic nature of the public celebration.
3. Why is Caesar ‘turn’d to hear’? How does Caesar challenge the speaker?
Answer: Caesar is ‘turned to hear’ the Soothsayer because his voice stands out from the loud music and cheers of the adoring crowd. Caesar challenges the Soothsayer aggressively, demanding “What sayst thou to me now?” He wants to hear the warning directly.
4. How does Caesar react to the warning of the speaker?
Answer: Caesar arrogantly dismisses and ignores the Soothsayer’s dramatic warning, bluntly calling him a “dreamer.” This reveals Caesar’s overconfidence and refusal to heed warnings and signs, even supernatural ones foretelling his death.
5. Who else tries to warn Caesar about the danger which is in store for him later in the play? What aspects of Caesar’s character are shown?
Answer: Later in the play, Calpurnia, Caesar’s wife, also tries to warn him not to go to the Senate based on her ominous dreams. He similarly dismisses her concerns. This continues to show Caesar’s stubborn arrogance and sense of invulnerability, which prove to be fatal flaws.
BRUTUS – Cassius, Be not deceived: if I have veil’d my look,
I turn the trouble of my countenance
Merely upon myself. Vexed I am
Of late with passions of some difference,
Conceptions only proper to myself.
1. Where are Brutus and Cassius at this time? What is the occasion?
Answer: Brutus and Cassius are alone in Rome while the rest of the citizens celebrate Caesar’s recent military victory over Pompey. They have stayed behind during the festivities and victory parade. The scene takes place on the day of Caesar’s triumphant return to Rome.
2. What has Cassius told Brutus regarding the latter’s attitude towards him?
Answer: Cassius has told Brutus that lately Brutus seems very distant and aloof towards him, not showing the same friendliness, warmth and affection as he used to. Cassius says Brutus has been treating him in a cold and unfriendly manner.
3. What reason does Brutus give to Cassius for not going to the games? With whom does Brutus compare himself to?
Answer: Brutus explains to Cassius that he has not been going to the games and festivities because he is preoccupied with his own private thoughts and emotions that have been troubling him. He compares himself to Mark Antony, noting that Antony has an energetic, lively personality and loves attending social events, while Brutus has been solitary, moody and antisocial lately.
4. What does Brutus tell Cassius regarding his conflicting thoughts and emotions? What effects are they having on Brutus regarding his attitude towards others?
Answer: Brutus tells Cassius that he is conflicted within himself, bothered by passions and thoughts that are personal to him. He does not specify what these passions are. This inner turmoil and emotional conflict is causing him to appear detached, remote and inattentive to others, even close friends like Cassius.
5. What is Cassius’ motive in showing his friendship towards Brutus? How is Cassius shown to be a schemer?
Answer: Cassius is scheming to win Brutus over to the developing conspiracy to assassinate Julius Caesar. He is only pretending friendship and concern for Brutus, but his real hidden motive is political – he wants to recruit Brutus into the murder plot. So Cassius is shown to be manipulative, crafty and devious in the way he tries to play on Brutus’s emotions and sense of friendship.
CASSIUS – ‘Tis just:
And it is very much lamented, Brutus,
That you have no such mirrors as will turn
Your hidden worthiness into your eye.
1. What does Cassius go on to tell Brutus about what the people are lamenting about?
Answer: Cassius goes on after the extract to tell Brutus that many Romans, including Cassius himself, are lamenting and expressing regret that Brutus does not fully see or appreciate his own true worth and virtues. They think Brutus undervalues his admirable qualities.
2. What ‘dangers’ does Brutus refer to after the extract?
Answer: After the extract, Brutus refers to the growing “dangers” of Julius Caesar gaining too much power and dominating Rome as dictator. He fears Caesar’s ambitions will lead to tyranny.
3. How does Cassius offer to show the brothers his true worth?
Answer: Cassius offers to metaphorically be a mirror for Brutus and reveal to him the hidden strengths and virtues that Brutus cannot see clearly in himself. Cassius claims he can reflect Brutus’s true qualities back at him.
4. How does Cassius convince Brutus not to doubt him?
Answer: Cassius convinces Brutus not to doubt his motivations by insisting that he is an honest, direct, plain-spoken man, not a deceptive, fawning flatterer. Cassius claims Brutus has no reason to be suspicious of him.
5. How does Brutus portray himself to be truly concerned about the present condition prevailing in Rome?
Answer: Brutus shows he is concerned not just for his own reputation but for the greater good of Rome. He would prefer being a common citizen of Rome to accepting tyranny or dictatorship. This makes him seem truly principled and caring about his country’s fate.
BRUTUS – What means this shouting? I do fear, the people
Choose Caesar for their king.
CASSIUS-Ay, do you fear it?
Then must I think you would not have it so.
1. Why are Brutus and Cassius alone together at this time while the festivities are on?
Answer: Brutus and Cassius are alone together at this moment because they have stayed behind in Rome while the rest of the citizens are out celebrating Caesar’s recent military victory over Pompey. There is a festive parade going on that they are avoiding.
2. Why is Brutus not in favour of Caesar becoming king?
Answer: Brutus does not favor Caesar becoming king because it would destroy the Roman republic and its democratic institutions, putting all power in one man’s hands. Brutus cherishes the liberties and freedoms of Rome, which he believes kingship would extinguish.
3. What two weaknesses of Caesar does Cassius highlight to Brutus?
Answer: Cassius highlights two of Caesar’s weaknesses to Brutus – his inability to swim across a rushing Tiber river, and his susceptibility to fever and fits. Cassius uses these examples to portray Caesar as weak and unfit to rule Rome.
4. How does Cassius compare the names of ‘Brutus’ and ‘Cassius’ to that of the name of ‘Caesar’?
Answer: Cassius points out that the name Brutus is just as honorable and noble as the name Caesar. The founder of the Roman republic was the heroic Lucius Junius Brutus, so Cassius argues Brutus comes from an equally great lineage and family reputation as Caesar.
5. Brutus comments “I do fear”. What does the word ‘fear’ signify? How does Cassius interpret the word ‘fear’ to judge Brutus mind?
Answer: When Brutus says “I do fear,” it shows he is genuinely worried about the prospect of Caesar gaining authoritarian power. Cassius interprets Brutus’s use of the word “fear” as a sign that Brutus would strongly oppose Caesar becoming king, and could be recruited into the developing conspiracy.
I, as Aeneas, our great ancestor,
Did from the flames of Troy upon his shoulder
The old Anchises bear, so from the waves of Tiber.
1. Who speaks these lines? Who was Aeneas?
Answer: These boastful lines are spoken by Cassius. Aeneas was a legendary hero of Troy who escaped the destruction of the city while bearing his elderly father Anchises on his shoulders.
2. Why does Cassius compare himself to Aeneas?
Answer: Cassius compares himself to the heroic Aeneas in order to exaggerate and glorify his own actions. He wants to portray himself as a great savior who is rescuing Rome from Caesar’s tyranny, just as Aeneas rescued his father and the Trojan ancestral spirits from Troy’s downfall.
3. Who is this ‘man’ referred to in the fourth line of the extract? What grudge does the speaker bear against this ‘man’?
Answer: The “man” referred to scornfully in the fourth line is Julius Caesar, who Cassius greatly resents and envies. Cassius bears a bitter personal grudge against Caesar’s power and popularity.
4. How does the speaker compare this man to God?
Answer: With heavy sarcasm and irony, Cassius compares Caesar to an immortal god in order to mock Caesar’s arrogance and ambition. Cassius sees Caesar as merely a mortal man who has unjustly made himself into a deity.
5. What does this speech reveal about the speaker?
Answer: This hyperbolic, boastful speech reveals Cassius’s deep jealousy and hatred of Caesar. It shows his obsession with Caesar and willingness to violently conspire against him.
BRUTUS- That you do love me, I am nothing jealous;
What you would work me to, I have some aim:
How I have thought of this and of these times,
I shall recount hereafter
1. What does the word ‘jealous’ mean in the extract?
Answer: In this extract, the word “jealous” means “suspicious.” Brutus is saying he does not distrust or doubt Cassius’s expressions of affection for him.
2. Brutus is aware of Cassius’ motive. What is the motive?
Answer: Brutus seems aware that Cassius’s underlying motive is to recruit him into joining the developing conspiracy to assassinate Julius Caesar. That is why Cassius is so earnestly courting Brutus’s friendship.
3. What does Brutus assure Cassius of after the extract that makes Cassius ‘glad’?
Answer: After the extract, Brutus assures Cassius that he will consider what Cassius has said. This response makes Cassius glad, as he feels he is making headway in persuading Brutus.
4. Who enters after the extract?
Answer: Shortly after this extract, Casca enters the scene and interrupts the conversation between Brutus and Cassius.
5. Who does Cassius decide to ‘pluck’? Why?
Answer: Based on his blunt conversation with Casca, Cassius decides he wants to “pluck” or recruit Casca into the conspiracy against Caesar as well. Cassius thinks Casca’s cynical, sarcastic attitude can be useful to the plot.
CAESAR-Let me have men about me that are fat;
Sleek-headed men and such as sleep o’ nights:
Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look;
He thinks too much: such men are dangerous.
1. Who does Caesar address these words to? How does this person try to assure Caesar not to fear?
Answer: Caesar addresses these critical words about Cassius to Mark Antony. Antony tries to reassure Caesar by insisting that Cassius is a noble Roman, not a danger or threat to Caesar.
2. How is Caesar not convinced?
Answer: Caesar is not convinced by Antony’s reassurances. He remains distrustful of Cassius’s motivations and ambitions.
3. What reasons does Caesar give for fearing the person in question?
Answer: Caesar gives two reasons for his wariness about Cassius – that he has a “lean and hungry look,” and that he “thinks too much.” Caesar believes these traits make Cassius willing to undermine him.
4. Which weakness of Caesar is shown after the extract?
Answer: After this extract, Caesar ignores the warnings of a soothsayer about the Ides of March, showing Caesar’s superstitious weakness and egotism.
5. How is Caesar shown to be far-sighted and wise in his judgement of character?
Answer: Caesar shows great insight and judgement of character in accurately identifying Cassius as cunning, sly and ambitious. His assessment of Cassius as a scheming, dangerous threat will prove correct.
BRUTUS – Ay, Casca; tell us what hath chanced to-day,
That Caesar looks so sad.
CASCA – Why, you were with him, were you not?
BRUTUS-I should not then ask Casca what had chanc’d.
1. What had chang’d that day as described by Casca?
Answer: Casca describes several alarming incidents that happened that day – Antony offering Caesar a crown three times, Caesar refusing it reluctantly, and Caesar then suffering a fit and collapsing in public.
2. In what way was the incident a ‘mere foolery’? Give three instances.
Answer: The whole incident with the crown was foolishness in three ways – Caesar clearly wanted the crown but pantomimed refusing it; the fickle crowd cheered or jeered based on Caesar’s reactions; and Casca calls the coronet just a flimsy ornament.
3. What information did Casca give about Flavius and Marullus?
Answer: Casca also told Brutus and Cassius that the tribunes Marullus and Flavius were silenced and removed from power for removing ceremonial scarves from Caesar’s statues.
4. What is Brutus’ assessment of Casca when he leaves? How does Cassius contradict Brutus about his assessment?
Answer: Based on his coarse language and cynical attitude, Brutus sees Casca as a rude, blunt commoner. However, Cassius contradicts this assessment, saying Casca is actually clever and perceptive, and should be recruited into the conspiracy.
5. How does Cassius judge Brutus’ character at the end of the scene? What do you think of Cassius from this judgement?
Answer: By the end of the scene, Cassius judges Brutus to have an honorable character and noble motives, unlike himself. But he thinks Brutus’s virtues can be manipulated into opposing Caesar for the greater good of Rome. This shows Cassius’s cunning political mind.
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