Julius Caesar Study Guide: Act I Scene 1-3

S1: Why are the commoners not at work? They are taking the day off to see Caesar.
S1: Why is Marullus upset? Marullus is upset because the commoners are not at work and are praising Julius Caesar for Pompey’s defeat.
S1: Who is Pompey? Pompey is the opposing general.
S1: who is being described in the last two lines of Scene 1? Julius Caesar
S1: What does Flavius do? He instructs Marellus to go to the Capitol to remove any crowns off of the statues of Caesar because he is upset at Caesar’s victory. Flavius will also thin the crowds of commoners.
S1: Where does the scene take place? A street in Rome.
S2: Who is Calpurnia? Calpurnia is Caesar’s wife.
S2: Why does Caesar ask Antonius to touch his wife as he runs? Caesar urges him to touch Calpurnia, Caesar’s wife, as he runs, since Roman superstition holds that the touch of a ceremonial runner will cure barrenness.
S2: What warning does Caesar receive and from whom? The soothsayer gives him the warning, “Beware of the Ides of March.” (The 15th day of March)
S2: How does Caesar react to the soothsayer’s warning? He ignores him.
S2: How does Cassius feel that Brutus has been acting towards him? He says he has not been himself.
S2: What is Brutus’ explanation for his behavior? Brutus replies that he has been quiet because he has been plagued with conflicting thoughts. But he assures Cassius that even though his mind is at war with itself, he will not let his inner turmoil affect his friendships.
S2: Who does Cassius compare Brutus to? He compares Brutus to Caesar so that he may see that Caesar is not greater than him. Cassius tries to turn Brutus against Caesar.
S2: Why do the people start shouting? They are shouting because they are happy and rejoicing and want to make Caesar king.
S2: What does Cassius reveal to Brutus about Caesar? Cassius recalls a windy day when he and Caesar stood on the banks of the Tiber River, and Caesar dared him to swim to a distant point. They raced through the water, but Caesar became weak and asked Cassius to save him. Cassius had to drag him from the water. Cassius also recounts an episode when Caesar had a fever in Spain and experienced a seizure. Cassius marvels to think that a man with such a feeble constitution should now stand at the head of the civilized world.
S2: How does Cassius feel about Caesar and his success? He does not like Caesar and feels that he is becoming too powerful.
What danger does Brutus warn Cassius about? The danger of looking for what is not in Brutus’ nature.
S2: What does Cassius imply that he would like Brutus to do? He implies that he should become leader, not Caesar.
S2: How does Brutus respond to Cassius’ implication? He is touched and decides he will think over what Cassius has suggested.
S2: How does Caesar describe Cassius? Caesar describes Cassius as a man with a lean and hungry look. He says he thinks too much and that is dangerous.
S2: What does Casca tell Brutus about why Caesar looks upset? He said that on the third time he was offered the crown he seemed to become disoriented (possibly had a seizure) and that he thought the people were cheering because he had denied the crown.
S2: What is the people’s response to Caesar’s refusal of the crown? The people are not glad because they want him to become king now.
S2: What happens when Caesar refuses the crown? When Caesar refused the crown, the people worshipped him more.
S2: How does Caesar explain his behavior? He told Casca to write off his actions to the people as infirmity. (Illness)
S2: What is the reaction of the crowd for his explanation? The people did not cease to express their love.
S2: What happened to Marullus and Flavius? They were “put to silence” (death) for taking the decorations from Caesar’s statues.
S2: What did Casca say about what Cicero said? Casca adds that the great orator Cicero spoke in Greek, but that he couldn’t understand him at all, saying “it was Greek to me”
S2: At the end of scene 2, what does Cassius resolve to do? He decides to convince Brutus to turn against Caesar by throwing forged letters from the citizens at Brutus’ house that express their dislike for Caesar.
S3: What unusual sights does Casca reveal to Cisero? Casca now explains why, describing “scolding winds”, an “ambitious ocean swell ” with “rage and foam,” and “threat’ning clouds:” (Line 8) , all suggesting in Cassius’ words either “civil strife in heaven,” (Line 11), “Or else the world, too saucy [unfavored] with the gods, / Incenses [angers] them to send destruction” this suggesting that Caesar’s actions are causing strife in nature, a widely held belief at the time to be proof that something must be wrong.
S3: What does Cisero respond to Casca’s description? Cicero replies that men will interpret things as they will: “Indeed it is a strange-dispos├Ęd time; / But men may construe things after their fashion, / Clean from the purpose of the things themselves” (I.iii.33-35).

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