Monday, 1 May 2017

Julius Caesar Summary and Study Questions

Today is day three of our CSEC English A and B Exam Countdown 2017. I must apologize for the late post. Here are a couple of study questions that are taken from a resource text.

This play is one that contains political intrigue and drama. It opens with a group of commoners celebrating Julius Caesar's triumphant return to Rome. This is met with scorn by some Tribunes, who tell them to leave the area. This is the premise to scenes that reveal an ambitious Caesar who is beloved by Roman citizens, but is the envy of many of his friends. It is this envy that leads a group of conspirators, one of them being his best friend, to plot and execute his murder. This is followed by scenes of war, all in the name of revenge, for Caesar's murder. The tragedy closes with the deaths of Portia, Cassius, Titanius and Brutus.

CHARACTERS
Julius Caesar
He is a Roman statesman and general.
He is very powerful and ambitious.
He is respected, so much so that he is offered the thrown three times by Marc Antony.
The common people love him and the tribunes are afraid of his power and ambition.
Many Roman nobles and senators also fear his ambition because they want Rome to remain a republic.
He is wise, because he does not trust Cassius.
He is arrogant because he disregards Calpurnia's warning about his possible death based on pride.
He is easily flattered, as is seen when Decius easily persuades him that Calpurnia's dream reveals his upcoming triumph.
He is very superstitious. Examples of this can be seen when he tells Calpurnia to let Antony touch her while he's running his race because this can relieve her of her fertility issues.
He is husband to Calpurnia.

Marcus Brutus [Brutus]
A trusted friend to Julius Caesar.
Ironically, he is one of the main members of the conspirator's against Julius Caesar.
He loves Caesar, but believes that he is bad for Rome due to his ambitious nature.
He is respected and loved by everyone.
Caesar admires him and he is respected by his enemies; Antony and Octavius.
He is very noble, as can be seen in the fact that he could not take money from the poor, but had to ask Cassius for money to pay his soldiers.
He is brother-in-law to Cassius.
He is husband to Portia.
He loves his wife and respects her wishes, as is seen when he confides in her, and grieves her death.

Cassius

He is brother-in-law to Marcus Brutus.
He is a very passionate person, quick to anger and very proud.
He has a strong personality, but he always concedes to Brutus' wishes.
He is very perceptive because he did not trust Antony to speak at Caesar's funeral.
He is one of the conspirators.

Marcus Antonius (Antony)
Initially he was seen as a fun loving individual who was very loyal to Caesar. The conspirators, therefore, did not see him as a threat.
He changes to a calculating ruler who can heartlessly kill in the name of justice and revenge.
He is an excellent orator who fires the crowd to a frenzy at Caesar's funeral.

Calpurnia
Wife of Caesar.
She has a bad dream regarding Caesar going to the Capitol on the Ides of March and begs him to stay home with her, he does not listen.

Portia
Brutus' wife.
There is a lot of love between them.
Brutus listens to her and shares his secrets with her.
She commits suicide near the end of the play.

Artemidorus
A friend of Ceasar.
He tries to warn him about the treachery of his friends.

Soothsayer
He warns Caesar about the Ides of March.
Caesar disregards the warning.
Cinna
A poet

Pindarus
Servant of Cassius.
He assists Cassius to commit suicide, then ran away.
Senators
Cicero
Publius
Popilius Lena
Tribunes
Flavius
Marullus

Conspirators against Julius Caesar
Marcus Brutus [Brutus]
Cassius
Casca
Trebonius
Legarius
Decius Brutus [Decius]
Metellus Cimber
Cinna
Friends of Brutus and Cassius
Lucilius
Titanius
Messala
Young Cato
Voluminius
Servants of Brutus
Varro
Clitus
Claudius
Strato
Lucius
Dardanius


Julius Caesar – William Shakespeare
1. ‘Caesar never really dies in this play. In fact he is stronger at the end than he is at the beginning’.
a) Making close reference to the text:

i. Give TWO examples of Caesar’s political strength at the beginning of the play;  (8 marks)
ii. Relate THREE incidents which show that, after his death, his influence is still powerful. (9 marks)
b) Based on your examples, discuss the statement and show to what extent you agree with it. (8 marks) (2015 Mock Exam Question)
 

2. Think carefully about Brutus and Cassius say, what they d and what is said about them.
a. Making Close reference to this, identify
i. TWO ways in which their reasons for being a part of the conspiracy against Caesar are similar.  (8 marks)
ii. TWO ways in which they are different. (8 marks)
b. Discuss the significance of these similarities and differences.  (9 marks)

           
Resource: www.forum.visionitesmagazine.com  and English B for CSEC        

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