Get notes, workbook solutions, summary, questions and answers, and pdf of the drama/play Julius Caesar (Act 2 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.
Caesar is roused from his sleep by a tempestuous storm, only to find his wife Calpurnia tossing and turning, crying out in her dreams that Caesar has been assassinated. Disturbed by the omen, Caesar instructs a priest to conduct a sacrificial ritual and report the results back to him. His wife Calpurnia implores him to remain at home, recounting ominous tales she has heard of dreadful events unfolding in the streets of Rome—graves opening to release the deceased, the groaning of dying men, and even blood spattering upon the Capitol’s walkways. Caesar dismisses her fears, asserting that no mortal can escape the will of the gods. Calpurnia counters, arguing that such celestial signs manifest only to herald the death of the influential and powerful. She quotes that “the heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes.”
Undeterred, Caesar proclaims that fearing the inevitable is a sign of cowardice. At this moment, a servant returns with unsettling news from the priest: the sacrificed animal was found to be heartless, which the priest interprets as a warning for Caesar to stay indoors. Despite the warning, Caesar insists that he is more daring than any danger that may befall him. Seeing Calpurnia fall to her knees, desperate for him to heed the warning, Caesar finally relents, agreeing to send Antony to the Senate in his place and inform them that he is unwell.
Just as Caesar agrees to stay home, Decius arrives. He craftily reinterprets Calpurnia’s nightmarish dream, suggesting that Caesar’s bleeding statue signifies not his own demise but the revitalization of Rome through Caesar’s influence. According to Decius, Rome will gain renewed strength and inspiration from Caesar. Compounding the manipulation, Decius informs Caesar that the Senate plans to crown him. Failure to appear, Decius argues, would not only lead to a potential reversal of this decision but would also make Caesar appear foolish for having been swayed by his wife’s anxieties.
Embarrassed and convinced by Decius’ arguments, Caesar decides to proceed to the Capitol after all. Shortly thereafter, Publius, a senator, arrives, followed by the group of conspirators and Antony. All have come to escort Caesar to the Capitol. Grateful for their company, Caesar offers them wine before they embark, reassuring them that they are all friends. He tells Metellus and Trebonius to stay close, to which Trebonius ominously replies that he will remain so near to Caesar that even Caesar’s closest friends will wish he had kept his distance.
Multiple Choice Questions
1. Caesar asked the priest to
Answer: c. sacrifice an animal to the gods
2. The dreadful sights as reported to Calpurnia were:
Answer: b. Blood drizzling on the Capitol
3. Calpurnia tried to convince Caesar to stay at home by
Answer: b. begging him on bended knees
4. According to Decius, the Senate had planned to
Answer: a. crown Caesar
5. Caesar invited his friends before going to the Senate
Answer: a. to drink wine with him
6. Brutus at the end of the scene feels
Answer: a. guilty
CALPURNIA – Caesar, I never stood on ceremonies,
Yet now they fright me. There is one within,
Besides the things that we have heard and seen,
Recounts most horrid sights seen by the watch
1. Where are Caesar and Calpurnia now?
Answer: Caesar and Calpurnia are in their house. The scene starts with them conversing, indicating they are in their private chambers.
2. What does Calpurnia mean by “ceremonies”?. What is the main cause of her fear?
Answer: By “ceremonies”, Calpurnia means omens, prophecies, and superstitious beliefs. In the past, she did not believe in such things but now they frighten her deeply. The main cause of her immense fear is the strange and unnatural sights people have seen around Rome as well as her own terrifying dreams about Caesar’s murder.
3. How does Caesar react to Calpurnia’s warnings? What does he ask his servants to do?
Answer: Caesar reacts in an arrogant manner, dismissing Calpurnia’s passionate warnings and pleas to stay home. He refuses to even entertain the idea that the omens could mean danger for him. To appease her, he asks his servants to conduct a sacrifice ritual and read the omens, but Caesar has already convinced himself the omens will favor him going to the Senate.
4. What were the ‘horrid sights’ seen in this scene?
Answer: The horrid sights reported around Rome were supernatural occurrences like a lioness giving birth in the streets, graves opening up their dead, ghosts shrieking and howling, and spectral warriors fighting and raining blood down on the Capitol. These visions highlight the turmoil coming to Rome.
5. How does Caesar show his arrogance about fearing death?
Answer: Caesar shows great arrogance and hubris in his lack of fear about death. He delivers a speech saying cowards allow themselves to die many times in their imagination, paralyzed by the thought of dying. However, the valiant or courageous taste death only once when it comes for them. He believes death is inevitable for all men so there is no point in wasting time dreading or fearing it. This shows Caesar’s inflated self-confidence.
CAESAR- Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard.
It seems to me most strange that men should fear
1. What are Caesar’s views about death? How do cowards die many times before their death?
Answer: Caesar views death as a natural, inevitable occurrence that should not be feared. According to him, cowards are so frightened by the thought of dying that they mentally agonize over it constantly, effectively dying many times before their actual physical death.
2. What was the outcome of the sacrifice made by the priest? How does Caesar interpret this?
Answer: The sacrifice ritual involved looking for omens in the entrails of an animal. However, the priest reported they could not find a heart inside the animal, which is a very bad omen. However, Caesar interprets this grim omen in an overly optimistic way. He claims the gods have removed the heart to shame Caesar for being cowardly, saying Caesar himself should not be “heartless” by staying home out of fear.
3. What does Caesar say about danger and himselfbeing littered on the same day?
Answer: Caesar states that he and danger itself were born on the same day, meaning he is dangerous and powerful enough to face any threat or peril. He sees himself as more daring and mighty than danger itself. This hyperbolic boast displays Caesar’s boundless arrogance.
4. Why does Calpurnia take the responsibility on herself for Caesar not going to the Capitol? How does she portray her submissiveness?
Answer: Calpurnia takes the responsibility and blame on herself for Caesar’s decision not to go to the Capitol. She portrays submissiveness by begging him on bended knee to stay home, saying it is her own fear, not his, keeping him there. This shows she knows Caesar’s pride means he cannot admit to feeling fear himself.
5. Who enters soon after? How does the person use flattery to change the mind of Caesar? What is his interpretation of Calpurnia’s dream?
Answer: Soon after, Decius Brutus enters. He cleverly uses flattery, fabricating a story that the senators plan to offer Caesar the crown that very day. His positive interpretation of Calpurnia’s nightmare implies Rome and its citizens will gain strength and power from Caesar’s noble blood. This manipulates Caesar’s vanity.
CAESAR – And these does she apply for warnings, and portents,
And evils imminent; and on her knee
Hath begg’d that I will stay at home to-day.
DECIUS BRUTUS – This dream is all amiss interpreted;
1. Who is ‘she’? What had she dreamt of?
Answer: ‘She’ refers to Calpurnia. She had an unsettling nightmare in which she saw Caesar’s statue spewing forth copious amounts of blood as if pierced by many wounds, and Romans feverishly bathing their hands in the blood.
2. Who came to accompany Caesar to the Capitol?
Answer: Publius, a senator, arrives with the conspirators Brutus, Cassius, and others to accompany Caesar to the Senate house under the guise of friendship.
3. How is Calpurnia being ‘on her knees’ similar to Portia in the previous scene? How is Caesar the ‘husband’ different from Brutus the ‘husband’?
Answer: Calpurnia begging Caesar on bended knee echoes Portia begging on her knees to Brutus in the previous scene. However, while the sensitive Brutus reassures Portia out of care, the arrogant Caesar ignores his wife’s passionate pleas completely.
4. How does Decius tempt Caesar? How does Decius exploit Caesar’s egoistic nature that makes Caesar angry with Calpurnia?
Answer: Decius cunningly tempts Caesar by mentioning the Senate plans to offer him the kingship crown that day. He makes Caesar angry with Calpurnia by twisting her dream to say Caesar staying home would allow the senators to mock his fear of “his wife’s dreams”. This manipulates Caesar’s pride.
5. What does Caesar finally decide to do? What is revealed of both Decius and Cassius in the scene?
Answer: Decius’ shrewd flattery succeeds in making Caesar decide to go to the Capitol after all. This reveals Decius’s cleverness and persuasive powers of manipulation. It also reveals the two-faced nature of the conspirators who act friendly to lure Caesar to his death.
CAESAR- Good friends, go in, and taste some wine with me;
And we, like friends, will straightway go together.
BRUTUS – [Aside] That every like is not the same, O Caesar,
The heart of Brutus yearns to think upon!
1. Who are the ‘good friends’?
Answer: The ‘good friends’ Caesar refers to are the conspirators, including Brutus, Cassius, and the others who have arrived to accompany Caesar under pretense of friendship.
2. Why is it ironic to refer to them as ‘good friends’?
Answer: It is deeply ironic for Caesar to call them “good friends” when in fact they have conspired together to betray and murder him that very day. Their friendship is completely false.
3. Why have these good friends taken all the pains and courtesy to accompany Caesar to the Capitol?
Answer: The conspirators like Brutus have taken great pains to visit Caesar’s home and politely accompany him to the Capitol in order to lure him into their trap. Their courteous behavior hides their sinister intent.
4. What does ‘yearns’ mean? What aspect of Brutus’ character is revealed in his statement? How does he contradict himself?
Answer: ‘Yearns’ means to desire or long for something extremely badly, even painfully. Brutus’ statement reveals he is internally conflicted – he calls Caesar his dear friend but will soon kill him in cold blood. This contradicts his seeming nobility.
5. What time is it now? Who was Caesar surprised to see? What trait of the person’s character is revealed here?
Answer: It is early morning and Caesar is surprised to see Antony, who is known for staying out late partying and carousing, awake so early. This small detail highlights Antony’s energetic, socialite personality.
Get notes of other boards, classes, and subjects