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Summary Julius Caesar:

Act I Scene l

The common people of Rome are making holiday, thronging the streets and rejoicing in Caesar’s victory over the sons of his old rival Pompey. The tribunes, Flavius and Marullus disperse the crowd, abusing them for making such a stir over Caesar’s victory.

Scene 2

Caesar enters at the head of a procession, celebrating the feast of Luprical. A soothsayer bids him “Beware the Ides of March”, but Caesar is heedless of the warning and continues his march. Cassius and Brutus are left behind and Cassius tries to win Brutus over to a conspiracy which has just been set on foot against Caesar. Caesar and his train pass by on their return and Casca stops to tell Brutus and Cassius how Mark Antony has just offered Caesar a crown and that Caesar very reluctantly refused it. Cassius is left alone and he then congratulates him self on the progress of his conspiracy and plans to drop forged papers into Brutus’ house. These papers shall appear to come from various citizens, urging Brutus to join in the movement against Caesar.

WHAT WE LEARN FROM EACH SCENE

Scene 1.

This scene though short, is very important.

1. It shows the state of affairs at Rome. The common people were a heart desirous of a monarchy, while the nobles were very much opposed to it. The tribunes represented the senatorial or nobles’ party to whom Pompey had belonged.

2. It shows the fickleness of the common people who cheer for whoever is in power.

3. It gives some idea of the preceding events—— the death of Pompey and Caesar’s latest victory over Pompey sons.

4. It prepares us for Caesar’s appearance in the following scene.

Scene 2.

1. This scene reveals the character of Caesar. -arrogant, irritable and ambitious.

2. We also learn the character of Cassius and Brutus. Cassius is envious of Caesar’s power. He is a schemer and wants to make use of Brutus. Brutus is noble and honourable but rather vain and conceited.

3. It shows the formation of the conspiracy against Caesar.

NOTES AND EXPLANATIONS

Scene 1.

1.  Flavius and were tribunes, that is, the people’s magistrates. They were, however, in sympathy with the patrician class.

2. Notice the joking of the commoners, the carpenter and the cobbler. This is more like English tradesmen of Shakespeare’s own day.

3. Notice the tribunes’ objections to Caesar’s triumph. A Roman triumph was a solemn procession in which a victorious general entered the city in a chariot drawn by four horses. Before him went all his captives and the spoils taken in his war. After him came his troops. To secure a triumph a general had to slay five thousand of the enemy in a single battle and the war must have been against some other nation, not a civil war. Caesar had not been fighting another nation but making war on Pompey’s sons. Moreover he had won no famous battle at this time.

4.  The rebuke to the commoners was deserved. They had shouted and cheered for Pompey just as they were now doing for Caesar.

5. Notice that Flavius is much more severe and determined than is Marullus.

6. They pull down the decorations in honour of Caesar; later we learn that they were put to death for doing this.

7. Pompey’s blood - Pompey’s sons.

 

Act I Scene 2.

1.  Look up the note on the feast of Luprlcal.

2. See how Casca flatters Caesar by calling for silence.

3. Caesar’s desire an heir shows his ambition to become Emperor.

4. Consider the soothsayer’s source of knowledge about the danger to Caesar.

Was it supernatural or had he learned of the conspiracy?

5. Notice how Brutus suggests the character of Anthony in lines 2

6. Brutus has been very quiet and absent-minded for some time; he has been

Thinking of the state of affairs in Rome.

7. Notice Cassius’ long speech against Caesar. How he hates him!

8. Cassius is clever enough to know how to win Brutus over. He appeals

To his patriotism and his dislikes of monarchy.

9. Note Caesar’s opinion of Cassius in lines 192-210. He reads him very

correctly.

10. Casca’s sour humour provides almost all the humour of this scene.

11. Cassius’ speech to himself at the end of the scene, lines 307-322,

Gives us his real thoughts and intentions. He means to overthrow Caesar by fair means or foul. It is a very common device with Shakespeare to have one of his characters deliver a soliloquy at the end of a scene to make clear to the audience just what his purpose is. He never leaves his audience in the dark.

 OUTLINE OF SUBJECT MATTER ACT I, SCENE 3

Casca and Cicaro meet at night during a terrific storm. Casca is much impressed by strange signs and omens seen during the day and night and tells about them. Cicero thinks little of them and as he goes away Cassius comes up. He induces Casca to join in the. conspiracy. Cinna then comes in. He is already one of the conspirators. The three resolve that Brutus must be won over. Cassius gives them all papers to place at various places all see to come from citizens begging Brutus to save them from the ambition of Caesar. The conspirators plan to visit Brutus before daybreak.

WHAT WE LEARN FROM THIS SCENE 3

1. This scene is important chiefly because it shows the rapid growth of the conspiracy.  Cassius has now enrolled almost all the men he wants except Brutus.

2. It shows the esteem in which Brutus is held. The conspirators feel that if Brutus is a member of their band, then the common people will side with them. Evidently Brutus is highly regarded.

3. This scene also helps to give the general atmosphere of the whole play; it suggests secrecy and guilty plotting. Notice that they meet by night.

4. it gives the names of almost all the conspirators; already they number six.

5. This scene also throws much light upon the times. Notice the belief / in signs and omens. The people were very superstitious.

NOTES AND EXPLANATIONS

1. The great storm prepares us for the events that follow. It is a suit able accompaniment to the violence of the following scenes.

2. Remember that the people in Shakespeare’s day also firmly believed in signs and omens.

3. Cicero is not so alarmed as Casca. He doesn’t believe so much in signs.

4. The conspirators do not hope to win Cicero over; so they don’t mention their plot to him.

 

ACT II

OUTLINE OF SUBJECT MATTER

Scene 1. Later that same evening, Brutus meditating to himself, decides that only the death of Caesar can save Rome from his tyranny. Cassius and the other five conspirators visit Brutus and he consents to join their party. The details of the plot are discussed and Brutus twice over-rules Cassius; he will not have the conspirators bound by an oath nor will he consent to the death of Anthony. Brutus promises to win over Caius Ligarius.

The conspirators leave and Brutus’ wife, Portia, enters. She says that Brutus has been silent and t and worried of late and that she knows he is concealing something. (trouble) She claims that as his wife she should share all his worries. He promises to tell here before long.

WHAT WE LEARN FROM THIS SCENE

1. The most important point in, this scene is that Brutus joins the conspiracy. This marks a great advance in the plot. We feel that they are now ready to attack Caesar.

2. This scene also shows us that the plot is not likely to succeed. Brutus wants his own way and he is not a good leader for a plot. Cassius knows what should be done but gives in to Brutus, because they all feel that they should have Brutus on their side. It was a great mistake to spare Antony; he later ruined everything for the conspirators.

3. This scene is also important in that it reveals the character of Brutus the central character of the play. Notice his patriotism; his sense of his own importance; his determination to have his own way, his beautiful tenderness to Portia and the boy Licius.

4. The murder of Caesar is set for the next day.

5. We are here shown a picture of the beautiful home life of Brutus. This is necessary to a full understanding of Brütus’s character, and also wins our sympathy for him. This is Portia’s most important scene.

 

Notes and explanations. Act II, Scene I

Notice how Brutus differs from the other conspirators. They all hate Caesar and plot against him for personal reasons. Brutus is thinking only of what is best for Rome. He really believes that Caesar’s great ambition is to be king Is a great danger to Rome.

2. Whenever Brutus differs from the conspirators, they at once give in, to him.

3. Brutus is a very poor judge of character. He completely misjudges Antony and also never suspects that Cassius has a personal grudge against Caesar.

4. Lines 193-201 tell us of Caesar’s views on signs and omens. Formerly he paid no attention to them but lately he has become superstitious.

5. Note how well Decius knows how to handle Caesar.

6. Brutus is now so much one of the conspirators that he undertakes to win over Ligarius.

7. Portia is introduced here just to show the character of ‘Brutus, in his relations with his wife. The fact that Brutus does not want to tell her of the plot shows that at heart he knows that it is all wrong.

 

OUTLINE OF SUBJECT-MATTER FOR ACT 2, SCENE 2

On the morning of the Ides of March, Caesar is uneasy because of unfavourable omens, and auguries, but he is too stubborn and vain to admit his fears even to himself. Calpurnica has dreamed of Caesar’s death and now orders him to stay at, home. He is all the more determined to go. Then word is brought from the augurers that the augury is the worst possible. He decides to stay home. Decius now enters and by playing on Caesar’s ambition and vanity; persuades him to go.

Scene 3

Artemidorus, a Roman citizen who is friendly to Caesar, waits near the capitol, ready to give Caesar a letter warning him of the conspiracy.

Scene 4

Portia, who now knows about the intended assassination, is anxious for her husband’s safety. She sends a page, Lucius to the senate house to learn how the plot is working out. The sooth-sayer waits to warn Caesar.

WHAT WE LEARN FROM EACH SCENE

Scene 2

1... This scene throws much light on the character of Caesar. It shows him in a rather unfavourable light; how pompous he is and yet how changeable.

2. It shows the plot moving forward to the assassination of Caesar; Caesar is on the point of setting out for the capitol where he is to be killed.

It reveals the home life of Caesar and Calpurnia and shows a marked contrast between their relations and those of Brutus and Portia.

Scene 3

This scene shows that Caesar still has one chance of escape--if he will read the letter of warning. It actually names all the conspirators.

Scene 4

1. This scene tells us that Brutus has informed Portia about the plan to assassinate Caesar.

2. It shows a weakness in Portia. She has great firmness in any matter concerning only herself; but her love for Brutus makes her lose her self control when danger threatens him.

3. The soothsayer who previously warned Caesar about the Ides of March waits by the wayside to warn Caesar again.

Notes and Explanations

Scene 2

1. Note Caesar’s reference to the storm. He was superstitious but of course all the people of his time were. The Elizabethans themselves would regard such a storm as a forecast of great danger.

2. Notice the reference to the augurers. They foretold the future by examining the entrails of animals sacrificed to the gods.

3. Calpurnia’s dream has something supernatural about it. Such dreams occasionally occur.

4. Calpurnia is utterly lacking in tact. She takes the very worst way to get Caesar as she wishes. She orders him and nags at him.

5. Caesar has little regard for her. See lines 104 and 108.  Brutus would never have spoken to Portia in such a manner.

6. In the first half of the scene, Caesar is shown at his Worst:  superstitious, filled with fears, arrogant and vain,  changing his mind frequently, easily influenced by flattery, and afraid of ridicule.

7. At the end of the scene we see the real Caesar, courteous, frank and friendly. He has a greeting for everyone and reproaches himself for not being about his countries business. This makes us sympathize with him somewhat in the murder scene.

Scene 3

1 We wonder how Artemidorus came to know so much about the plans of the conspirators. There is not hint given as to how he secured this knowledge.

2. It has been argued that Artemidorus and the sooth-sayer were the same man; but in Act 3 they appear in the same scene. Shakespeare would scarcely use two names for the same man.

Scene 4

 1. This unbalanced state of Portia prepares us for her death later in the play.

2   Notice how close she comes to betraying the plot.

 

ACT III

Outline of Subject-matter.

Scene 1: On the way to the Capitol both the sooth-sayer and Artemidoris attempt to warn Caesar of his danger but in vain. Popilus, a Roman Noble, alarms Cassius by showing he knows about the plot. Then the conspirators carry out the assassination as they had planned. Metellus  Cimber begs that his brother may be pardoned, knowing that Caesar will refuse. All the others join in making the same request. Caesar stubbornly refuses, becoming more arrogant and offensive. The Casca stabs him. All the others, including Brutus, also stab him. Brutus tells the people not to be alarmed. Antony’s servant enters and asks that Antony may come to them to hear their reasons for killing Caesar. Brutus says that he will be pleased to receive Antony. Antony then enters and completely deceives the conspirators, leading them to believe that he will join them. Brutus gives him permission to speak to all the people at Caesar’s funeral. When all the others go out, Antony reveals his real intention-- to stir up the people and have revenge on the murderers of Caesar. A servant enters to announce that Caesar’s heir, Octavious Caesar, is approaching Rome. Antony sends him word not to enter the city until after Caesar’s funeral.

WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED FROM THIS SCENE

Scene 3.

I. This scene shows the successful carrying out of the plot to kill Caesar.

2. It indicates that a new danger now threatens them-— that Antony may turn all Rome against them.

3. It shows the poor judgment of Brutus in that he allows Antony to speak. Cassius sees the danger.

4. The power of the conspirators has almost reached its greatest height. It looks as if republicanism will be established in Rome.

5. This scene shows Caesar even more pompous and arrogant than before.

.6. It shows the cleverness of Antony in deceiving the conspirators.

7.  It prepares us for Antony’s speech at Caesar’s funeral.

8.  It introduces a new and very important character --Caesar’s heir, Octavious.

NOTES AND EXPLANATIONS

1. There is a very short time between Act 2 and Act 3, not more than an hour.

2. Note that it is Caesar’s noblest quality that causes him to dis regard the warning of Artemidorus: he will attend first to the affairs of Rome and afterwards to personal matters.

3. What a start Popilius gives to Cassius by mentioning the plot! This partly explains how Artemidorus came by his knowledge. Evidently the news had got about in some way.

4. See how smoothly the conspirators put through their pre-arranged plot; the details bad all been arranged.

5. Lines 105-114 show how Calpurnia’s dream came true. Note the details.

6. Notice how cleverly Anthony deceives the conspirators. He does not join with them at once; that would appear suspicious. He laments Caesar’s death but says that he is willing to be shown that it was necessary. Then once he is accepted as one of them he asks to be allowed to speak at the funeral.

7. Notice the self-conceit of Brutus. He is sure Anthony can do nothing with the crowd once he himself has spoken to them.

8. This is the second of the mistakes of Brutus which lead to the ruin. of the conspirators. His first sparing the life of Anthony; the second is allowing him to address the crowd.

9. Octavious was a great nephew to Caesar. At this time he was only about eighteen years old of age.

 

According to history Pompey’s statue was not in the senate-chamber where Caesar was killed; but Shakespeare represents Caesar as dying at the feet of his old rival.

ACT III

Outline of Subject Matter.

Scene 2

This is the famous oration-scene, the turning point of the play. Brutus and Cassius divide crowd in two and, each in a different Street, explain the assassination of Caesar. The fickle crowd are quite won over by Brutus and cheer the conspirators for killing Caesar. They do not understand the political situation and even want to make Brutus an absolute ruler. Then Anthony speaks to them and so plays upon their passions that he turns them against the conspirators, particularly Brutus. The mob rushes out to kill and destroy. A servant enters to announce the entrance of Octavius • into the city. He also brings news that the conspirators have fled from Rome.

Scene 3

This scene tells of the dreadful events which took place in Rome after Anthony turned the mob loose. A poet by the name of Cinna is seized by the mob and put to death merely because he happens to have the same name as one of the conspirators. This shows the nature of mob-rule.

Contrast of the Orations of Brutus and Anthony

Each of those orations is exactly what the character would then have made and each reveals at once the strength and the weakness of the speaker who makes it. Brutus is a vain man though noble; he has no sense of humour, does not understand the crowd. Mark the following points about his speech:

1. It is an appeal to reason not to the emotions, hence it is not suited to his audience.

2. It is in prose, as you would expect in an appeal to reason.

3. It is cold and rhetorical, merely a fine piece of logic.

4. It is egotistic.

5. It shows a complete ignorance of the psychology of the crowd.

6 It deals with abstractions—”the cause”, “Honour”, “Wisdom” “Freedom” etc. These terms meant little or nothing to the commoners.

7.  His speech shows signs of being carefully prepared beforehand.

8.   It is very straightforward; he does no hinting.

9.   It does not move his hearers at all.

10  It is not at all dramatic.

 

Antony is a very clever speaker; he knows his audience perfectly; he is sincere in his affection for Caesar, but he makes capital o his own sincere feeling; he is cunning and resourceful; he is burning for revenge on the conspirators and at the same time means to profit by the whole affair.

Mark the following points about his speech:

1. It is an appeal to the emotions and passions, not to reason; hence it is particularly suited to the audience he has.

2. Note the poetic quality of expression.

3. It is swift and fiery; it appeals to imagination and passion.

4. He depreciates his own gifts as an orator in comparison with those of Brutus, i.e. he appears very humble.

5. It shows a fine understanding of the psychology of the crowd. He plays on them as on an instrument.

6. He avoids all abstractions, giving concrete illustrations to show that Caesar was not ambitious, showing them Caesar’s cloak and body, and rereading the exact words of the will. He offers the material possessions instead of honour and freedom.

7. It bears no signs of having been prepared; it is evidently extemporaneous

8. He insinuates repeatedly that Brutus and the others are not honourable and disinterested.

9. It arouses his listeners to a frenzy.

10. It is very dramatic. Note the action and the pauses and the changes of tone.

Outline of the Subject-Matter of Each

Brutus Oration

 a) He asks for silence and a respectful hearing.

b) He says that he loved Caesar but loved Rome more.

c) He killed Caesar because he was a danger to Rome.

d) He says they had to choose between Caesar alive and slavery on the one hand, and Caesar dead and freedom on the other.

e) He protests that he has been quite impartial and just.

f). Caesar will be suitably honoured now that he is dead.

g) He bids them all stay to hear Anthony’s oration in honour of Caesar.

 

Anthony’s oration

 a) He gains a hearing by using Brutus’ name-”for Brutus’ sake”.

b) He says he is not going to praise Caesar.

c) He admits that ambition is a grievous fault.

d) He shows that Caesar was not ambitious by referring to:

a) his public distribution of ransoms.

b his sympathy for the poor.

c his refusal of the crown.

e) He refers to their former love for Caesar and his own love for him.

f) He pauses to see how the crowd is affected.

g) He hints at the contents of Caesar’s will.

h) He pretends to be unwilling to read it but, as if by accident, tells them that Caesar has left all his wealth to them.

I) He consents to read it but first asks leave to show them Caesar’s body.

j) He calls attention to Caesar’s robe, showing where each of the conspirators stabbed through it.

k) He shows them the body.

1) He disclaims all intention of stirring them up to mutiny.

m) He stops them to hear the will.

ACT VI

Outline of Subject-Matter

Scene 1

Eighteen months have passed since the events of Act 3. Anthony and Octavius have taken a third man, Lepidus, into partnership and the three are known as the second triumvirate. They have absolute power over Rome. They are drawing up a list of prescribed citizens -- people who are to be put to death just because the triumvirate hate or fear them. Lepidus is used as a tool by the other two who intend to get rid of him when they no longer need him. Anthony says that Brutus and Cassius are raising an army.

Scene 2

This scene takes place at Sardis in Asia Minor in the camp of Brutus and Cassius. Brutus is awaiting the arrival of Cassius and his forces. Brutus is angry because of the way Cassius has been raising money. Cassius enters and at once accuses Brutus of wronging him. On the suggestion of Brutus they retire to their tent to continue their quarrel out of hearing of the army.

What we learn from these scenes:

Scene 1

1.This scene shows us that Anthony and Octavius have secured complete control of the city.

2. It shows the cold, cruel, unscrupulous natures of these two men. This corrects any wrong impression which may have been given in the oration scene. We know that Anthony even then was thinking chiefly of his own interest.

3. This scene foretells the fate of Lepidus.

4. It throws light in the character of Octavius.

5. It warns us of the coming battle.

Scene 2

1.  This scene prepares for and leads into the following one.

2.  It shows trouble between Brutus and Cassius and hence weakness in their party.

 Notes and Explanations:

Scene 1:

1. Note the callous way in which the triumvirs lightly condemn great men and their own friends to death.

2. The speech about changing the will shows how little they care for the interests of the people.

3. Octavius has very little to say but he forces his will upon Anthony.

4. Note Anthony’s estimate of the character of Lepidus. According to history this was a correct estimate.

Scene 2

1. Note the loyalty of Pindarus to Cassius. Throughout the play we find that Cassius is loved by all the soldiers. We realize that he must have been an excellent general.

2. Brutus generalizes about friends and friendship. He is too much of a philosopher. Even in camp he cannot be practical but is forever meditating and theorizing.

3. Note how. impetuous Cassius is, his first words begin the quarrel.

Scene 3

This is the famous “Quarrel Scene”. Brutus and Cassius quarrel bitterly. Brutus accuses Cassius of raising money for the campaign by dishonourable means--by accepting bribes from the Sardians and by selling offices in the army and government. Cassius says Brutus has disregarded his prayers in behalf of Lucius Pella. Finally Cassius offers his life to Brutus and Brutus is softened and forgives him. They reconciled. Then Brutus tells Cassius of the death of Portia. Titinius and Messala enter and the four discuss plans for operations against Anthony and Octavius. Cassius wishes to stay where they are and let the enemy come to them but Brutus over-rules him. It is decided that they shall march at once against Anthony and Octavius and offer battle at Philippi. Brutus, left alone, reads in his tent. The ghost of Caesar appears and warns Brutus that he shall see it again at Philippi.

What we learn from this scene

1. This scene shows the state of affairs with Brutus and Cassius. All is not going well; their lack of agreement foreshadows the failure of their enterprise. Their natures are too different for them to work well together.

2. Again Brutus’ unfitness for practical affairs is shown. He wants money for his men but quarrels with Cassius for getting it in the only way possible.

3. This scene takes Portia out of the play. Her death marks another stage in the downward course of Brutus’ fortunes.

4. It prepares for the Battle of Philippi and the defeat of Brutus and Cassius. Their tactical error in leaving their strong position on the hills at Sardis to meet the enemy on the plains of Philippi prepares us for the result of the battle.

5. It raises our opinion of Cassius. It shows him to be practical, hard working and shrewd, doing all he can to make the campaign a success. It also shows a gentler, more affectionate side of the man. He really loves Brutus.

6. It reminds us that Caesar’s spirit still dominates the Roman world. His idea of government is still, alive and conquers in the end.

7. The tenderness of Brutus to Lucius brings out very strongly his goodness and kindness. This is one of the most beautiful bits o the play.

Notes and, Explanations

1. Note at the beginning of the quarrel how calm Brutus is and how heated Cassius is.

2. Later Brutus becomes more heated and Cassius gives way.

3. Brutus is the one who begins the quarrel and he is in the wrong. Cassius had to raise money somehow and he raised it in the only way possible. Brutus is unreasonable, he wants the money and takes it but objects to the way it is raised. He killed Caesar but he will not take a bribe.

4. The fatal result of this quarrel is that Cassius is so agitated that he allows his feeling for Brutus to overcome his better judgement; he consents to Brutus’ foolish plan of going to meet Anthony and Octavius.

5. Lines 69-70 Note how unpractical Brutus is. How did he think Cassius was to get the money?

6. The entrance of the poet at the conclusion of the quarrel affords some comic relief after the tense excitement of the quarrel scene.

7. Note Brutus’ affectation of not being moved by the death of Portia. This was in keeping with the philosophy called stoicism which does not allow one to show his feelings.

8.  We are not so surprised at Portia’s death when we remember how she acted in Act II Sc. 4.

9. Note carefully the reasons given by Cassius for staying at Sardis till Anthony’s army comes and the reasons advanced by Brutus for marching to Philippi.

10. Note how Lucius loves to serve Brutus; he is devoted to his master.

11. Brutus is such a student that he reads even on the night before the battle.

12. Notice how Brutus tries to find out whether Lucius or the officers saw the ghost This is to convince us that the apparition was real.

Show clearly the importance or the appearance of Caesar ghost here.

 ACT V

Outline of subject-matter

Scene 1

Antony and Octavius have come with their army to the plains of Philippi. They make their plans for meeting Brutus and Cassius. They are delighted that Brutus and Cassius have come to Philippi. A conference takes place between the rival leaders but ends in mutual abuse. Afterwards Brutus and Cassius discuss the possibility of defeat, and the advisability of committing suicide, if defeated. They say farewell to each other, solemnly and tenderly having a feeling that they will never meet again.

 Scene 2

Brutus makes a very serious mistake; he advances too soon and thus left Cassius and his forces exposed to the enemy. (Antony). The following scene shows the result of his error.

 

What we learn from these scenes:

Scene 1

1. This scene clearly forecasts the defeat of Brutus and Cassius. Octavius rejoices over their mistake in leaving the heights.. Also the tender mutual farewell of Brutus and Cassius shows that they have a presentiment of defeat.

2. It shows the forcefulness of Octavius; even Antony has to give way to him. He takes to himself the position of commander-in-chief.

3. The contrast between the forcefulness of Octavius and the weak scolding of Brutus and Cassius also foreshadows the result of the battle.

1. This scene prepares for and explains the defeat of Brutus and Cassius. This is the last great mistake of Brutus. Note how Shakespeare keeps the errors of Brutus always before us.

Notes and explanations

1. Line 4 “their battles” --- their forces and troops.

2. Line 18 “the right hand” ---- the commander-in-chief usually took charge of the forces in the right hand.

3. Notice how Octavius in line 48, scene 1 brings the others back to the matter at hand. He is impatient with their wrangling.

4. Consider the speech of Cassius beginning, “you know that I held Epicurus strong”. “The Epicureans did not believe in signs but Cassius is compelled to attach some importance to them”.

5. The same speech shows, that Cassius’ better judgement warns him that the plan of battle is a bad one. He is a much abler general than Brutus.

6. Notice how Brutus also has changed his Philosophy; he cannot face capture as a Stoic would but favours suicide which they did not allow as worthy or noble.

7. The sad and affectionate parting of Brutus and Cassius wins our sympathy for them.

 

Outline of Subject-Matter

Scene 3

Cassius’ part of the army is defeated by Anthony forces. Cassius sends Titanius to see whether some approaching forces are friends or enemies. Titinius meets them and is surrounded by them. A great shout of joy goes up. Cassius thinks that Titinius is captured and that all is lost. (Really they were friends bringing good news that Brutus had repulsed Octavius. That was why they shouted joyfully). Cassius commits suicide. Titinius returns, finds the body of Cassius and himself commits  suicide. Brutus enters and pronounces an eulogy over them. Then he gives the command to renew the battle.

Scene 4

The second battle of Philippi begins immediately. Young Cato falls, fighting bravely. Lucilius, being captured, declares that he is Brutus and thus saves Brutus temporarily. He is taken to Antony who at once recognizes him. The search for Brutus continues.

Scene 5

Brutus is completely defeated. His men will fight no more. He asks each of his men in turn to kill him. The enemy approach. All flee but Brutus and Strato. Strato holds a sword and Brutus falls or it and dies. Antony enters and delivers an eulogy over Brutus. Then Octavius arranges for his funeral and dismisses the troops.

What we learn from these scenes:

Scene  3

1. This scene shows particularly the power exercised by Caesar’s spirit. Note the last words of Cassius, “Caesar, thou art avenged. “A little later Brutus attributes the deaths of Cassius and Titanius to Caesar, “Oh Caesar, thou art mighty yet”

2. This scene also takes one of our main characters out of the play, Cassius.

3. It brings us nearer the catastrophe by taking from Brutus his last and greatest friend. He is now all alone and his cause is hopeless.

4. The end of this scene leads us into the following one by giving the command to begin the second battle.

Scene 4

1. Young Cato’s death shows that republicanism (the principle for which Brutus and Cassius stood) has received its death-blow. He was the son of Cato, the opponent of all tyrants and would-be monarchs.

2. The Stratagem of Lucilius shows how devoted all his men are to Brutus. This delays the catastrophe and gives Brutus time to commit suicide.

Scene 5

1. This scene continues the tragedy -- the death of Brutus.

2. It shows for the last time the general esteem in which Brutus was held.

3. It once more emphasizes that the catastrophe is the result of the assassination of Caesar, by mentioning the ghost, by having Brutus connect own death with that of Caesar, by having Anthony also connect the two, and by having Octavius (the new Caesar) say the last words of the play.

4. It also shows Octavius still in command; Anthony has only second place.

Notes and Explanations

1. Be quite clear about the mistake made by Cassius and Pindarus about Titinius.

2. Note that Cassius was in the mood to end his life and thinking deeply of it. So he is all the more ready to think that there is n more hope.

3. Note that the last words of Cassius are about Caesar.

4. Note the beautiful action of Titinius in placing the garland on the brow of dead Cassius.

5. According to history the two battles of Philippi were twenty days apart but Shakespeare makes them happen on the same day to make the plot more compact.

6. Look up Cato in Roman History that you may understand the significance of the death of young Cato here.

7. Note the devotion of Lucilius to Brutus.

8. Anthony is very wise in treating Lucilius and his other captives so kindly. He in this way attaches them to his own party.

9. Notice the settling of the last scene. It is night on the battlefield.

10. Antony’s great speech in praise of Brutus is very famous. He is quite sincere in what he says.

11. All Brutus companions in the last scene are strangers to us. Shakespeare does this purposely to show how lonely Brutus was at the end. All his former friends were gone.


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