Important long / Detailed Answer Type Questions- to be answered in about 100 -150 words each
Significance of the Title –Julius Caesar/ Justify the title of Julius Caesar (Value Based)
When we see a title like The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, we tend to think the play is going to be all about, well, Julius Caesar (the Roman political leader who got stabbed in the back by his so-called friends). But the thing about Shakespeare’s play is this: Caesar only appears a few times before he’s assassinated in the third act, and he doesn’t have a lot of lines. So, what’s up with that?
Some critics argue that Brutus, not Caesar, is the play’s tragic hero, so Shakespeare should have named the play something like The Tragedy of Brutus. Seems like an interesting idea to us, but, to be fair, we think we should also tell you about the major counterarguments to this argument so you can make up your own mind:
Argument 1: Even if you think Julius Caesar isn’t about Caesar’s personal tragedy, you could still say it’s about the national tragedy of Rome that revolves around Caesar. If we think of the play as being about a struggle between the ideals of the Roman Republic and the threat of tyranny as epitomized by the historical figure of Caesar, then the play’s title makes a lot of sense.
Argument 2: Even though Caesar doesn’t have a lot of lines, and he’s taken down in Act 3, his spirit seems present throughout the play, especially when the conspirators attribute their downfall to Caesar’s ghost: “O Julius Caesar,” declares Brutus, “thou art mighty yet; / Thy spirit walks abroad and turns our swords / In our own proper entrails” (5.3.105-107). In other words, Caesar may be dead, but his spirit lives on – throughout Shakespeare’s play and the course of history.
Qu.1- Compare the speeches of Brutus and Antony.
Answer-Brutus speaks in an arrogant manner and justifies conspiring against Caesar as Caesar’s ambition would have hurt Rome. He seeks to explain why he conspired against Caesar. He begins his speech with ‘Romans, countrymen …’ appealing to their consciousness as citizens of Rome. He declares he is an honourable man and that he had to kill Caesar because of Caesar’s ambition. He declares that his reason for killing Caesar was his great love for Rome.
Antony focuses on Caesar’s positive traits and cunningly disproves Brutus’ justification for killing Caesar. He starts out by addressing the crowd as ‘Friends’and comes to them as a friend rather than a ruler trying to gain power. He says — I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.’ He sounds very sincere when he says, ‘The noble Brutus’—says it in the same tone thrice before becoming sarcastic. He disproves Caesar’s ambition with three examples:
(a) gave ransom of captives to the treasury
(b) cried with the poor people
(c) refused the kingship that Antony offered him three times. He appeals to their emotions by showing Caesar’s dead body and appeals to their greed by reading the will.
Qu.2-Brutus makes a number of mistakes that lead to the ultimate downfall of the conspirators. What are his mistakes and wherein lie they mistakes?
Answer-He committed a number of mistakes some of which are as following-
- He allows Antony to speak at Caesar’s funeral despite Cassius’ objection. Antony with his impassioned speech was able to turn the crowd against the conspirators.
- He does not understand the Romans and kills Caesar for the ideal of democracy as he was becoming too powerful.
- Romans admire Caesar’s power as he appeals to the logic of the mob. The mob does not understand his reasoning and become easy prey to Antony’s emotional speech.
Qu.3-Discuss the attention paid (or not paid) to omens, nightmares, and other supernatural events. What do the various responses to these phenomena show about the struggle between fate and humans in Julius Caesar?
Answer- The supernatural phenomena in ‘Julius Caesar’ include Calpurnia’s dream of Caesar’s statue running with blood and the strange sights seen by the watchmen—a lioness giving birth to her young ones in the streets, graves opening, and ghosts shrieking in the streets and fierce battles being fought in the clouds with the blood of the soldiers falling on the Capitol. Though Calpurnia is upset by these happenings Julius Caesar ignores the various omens. Caesar believes that the omens could apply just as easily to Rome in general as to him personally, and he quickly comes to believe that Calpurnia has misinterpreted her dream. As the plot unfolds, it becomes clear that these omens had been a warning of events that are to take place. Julius Caesar fails to heed the warning. Tragically, Caesar believes that his refusal to heed these signs proves his strength, courage, and indomitable nature. Though Caesar believes that he is displaying the force of his will by ignoring the warnings and attending the senate, ironically, it is precisely this action that precipitates his fated death.
Qu.4-A reporter covers the event of the assassination ofJulius Caesar in the senate giving graphic details and a catchy headline. Write the newspaper report in about 200 words.
Today was a dark day in the history of Rome. A great son of soil, Julius Caesar, was assassinated in broad daylight. He was supposed to be crowned as the king of Rome but unfortunately it was not meant to be. Caesar came to Capitol to be crowned the king. At the Capitol, Cimber, bent in front of Caesarand pleads for his brother. Caesar had banished Cimber’s brother. Brutus and Cassius also plead on behalf of Cimber. But Caesar does not relent. He is firm about decision about Cimber’s brother. At this point the conspirators started to stab him Caesar’s great friend, Brutus also joins the others in stabbing Caesar. Caesar is shocked to see this and utters “You too, Brutus”. After the stabbing the conspirators shouted slogans of ‘Liberty, Freedom and Enfranchisement’. It is believed that Calpurnia, Caesar’s wife had a premonition about Caesar’s death. She didn’t want him to step out of the house that day. But Caesar was very keen to go to Capitol today.
Qu.5-Brutus’ character is a conflict between his notions of honour and friendship of Caesar. Discuss how he resolves this conflict and why he is unsuccessful.
Answer –Brutus has great Republican zeal, noble idealism and he is a great moralist. He is a champion of public liberty and freedom. It is this love for liberty that urges him to join the conspirators for the murder of Caesar. He is an idealist and a dreamer of the bright future of Rome. Being honourable, he fails to see the dishonourable nature of Casius and others. Even Antony calls him the noblest of souls. But he is not at all practical. He gets misled by the conniving nature of the conspirators and sides Cassius in killing Caesar. He sacrifices his love and friendship for the sake of Rome. So he is equally responsible for this tragedy.
Qu.5-How does Caesar react to Cimber’s pleadings to recall his brother from banishment?
Answer –Caesar is very arrogant and conceited of his judgement and his decisive nature. He not only refuses to pardon Cimber’s brother from being banished but he also refuses to listen to the entreaties of Brutus. He is obstinate and infuriates Cimber and Brutus with his rudeness. He calls himself ‘a fixed star’ and abuses Cimber by calling him a dog and insulting him. Ile refuses to accept their ‘bows’ and ‘respects’ and stays adamant on his decision.
Qu.6-What are the contents of Caesar’s will that Mark Antony refers to?
Answer-Antony uses emotional blackmail to provoke the Romans against the conspirators. He exploits their sentiments by saying that Caesar was not money-minded and he has left all his riches for the Romans in his will. He elaborates that Caesar has left all his walks, gardens, private chambers and newly planted orchards on the bank of Tiber for them. This revelation makes the Romans very emotional.
Qu.7-Why does Brutus kill Caesar?
Answer-Brutus is Caesar’s friend. He has great Republican zeal, noble idealism and he is a great moralist. He is a champion of public liberty and freedom. But he is not a good judge of psychology. He gets misled by the conniving nature of the conspirators and joins them to kill Caesar because of his love for the liberty and bright future of Rome. Siding with Antony and change their stand. During his lifetime, Caesar had few enemies and critics but all of them become emotional to sec his dead body. So Antony exploits this to the maximum. Seeing Caesar’s blood, the mob gets ready to mutiny.
Qu.8-Now let it work. Mischief, thou art afoot, Take thou what course thou wilt!’ Who says the above lines? How does he succeed in instigating the people of Rome against the conspirators?
Antony in his speech presents Caesar as “a paragon of virtue and patriotism.” Discuss the glowing tributes he paid to Caesar in his funeral speech.
Answer-Antony in his speech highlights the positive qualities ofJulius Caesar. Caesar was a great warrior, a formidable General who brought captives to Rome and tilled its coffers. He was valiant and fearless. Moreover, he was not ambitious, as projected by the conspirators. He had thrice refused the crown when he was offered. Caesar’s heart bled for the welfare of Rome and he had Roman interests on top of any other consideration. He had also bequeathed all his property, money, walks, chambers and orchards for the people of Rome. He was a champion of Roman liberty and wanted to make Rome a very powerful nation. Hearing all this, mob feel emotionally supportive of Antony and he was able to provoke them to rise against Brutus and others. Antony shows Caesar’s will gradually by increasing the suspense and by asking the conspirators to circle around it. First he shows his unwillingness to reveal it, which makes the Romans very excited. They are pleasantly surprised to discover that Caesar has left all his riches and belongings to them. All his walks, gardens, chambers, orchards for the use of local Romans. This makes all the Romans very emotional and they feel that Caesar has been wronged and rise to mutiny. The mob is basically fickle-minded. Firstly, they are swayed by the emotions of Brutus and support him. Later they feel emotionally supportive of Antony and get provoked to rise against Brutus and others.
Qu.10-Discuss the character of Caesar in the light of the following:
(a) As a husband
(b) As a statesman
(c) As a friend
Answer-(a) As a husband : Caesar is a concerned husband and gives due regard to Calpumia’s fears by refusing to go to the senate. He is thoughtful of her considerations and does believe that she has only his true interests at heart.
(b) As a statesman : Caesar is an able general, very valiant and bent upon the welfare of Rome. He has waged wars, brought many captives and tilled the coffers of Rome. He is conceited but not unmindful ofthe liberty of local people. He had refused to become the Emperor of Rome, thrice.
(c) As a friend : Caesar was a true friend of Antony and Brutus. He was very loyal and was most hurt to see that even his dear friend Brutus had stabbed him. Antony respects Caesar and his love is proved by his tribute offered to Caesar on his funeral.
Qu.11-Caesar had done a lot of good things for the people of Rome. Yet he got nothing but death. Do you think his end was justified? Explain.
Answer-Caesar was a great diplomat and a zealous Republican. He is ambitious, dominant and often aggressive and rude. He is also haughty, boastful and arrogant. He calls men like Decius Balms ‘curs’ and calls the senators ‘grey beards’. He succumbs to flattery and that proves to be his undoing. Though he has the welfare of Rome at his heart but he comes across as very arrogant who would never change himself for anything and anyone. He is insulting to many and this infuriates people like Deems Brutus. However, his murder is not justified in any way because he was a true Roman and a benefactor of the common people.
Qu.12-Why did Calpurnia try to prevent Caesar from going to the senate house? Did she succeed in her mission? Why/Why not?
Answer-Caesar is a fearless valiant and believes that the fixed hour of death cannot be averted. When Caesar is adamant about going to the Senate, Calpurnia dissuades him pleading that she has seen a terrifying dream in which Caesar is murdered, his statute is gushing blood and many smiling Ramans are bathing their hands in his blood. She also sees a dead man walking about. She feels that the dream was premonition of the evil that was going to befall Caesar. So she forbids him to go to the senate. But she doesn’t succeed in her attempt because Decius Brutus cleverly interprets it positively. He says that the vision of Romans bathing in Caesar’s blood signifies that Caesar’s spirit or influence will touch many lives, and are indicates reverence and dedication for Caesar on part of the Romans. Caesar comes under the flattery of Brutus and refuses the requests of Calpumia and leaves for the Senate.
Qu.13-How does Antony pay a glowing tribute to Julius Caesar?
Answer-Antony’s tribute to Julius Caesar:
(i) Antony gets permission to take Caesar’s body to the market place by showing loyalty towards the conspirators. In his soliloquy, he calls Caesar ‘bleeding piece of the earth’.He also asks pardon for showing allegiance towards the butchers. He exhibits his reverence to Caesar by referring to him as ‘the ruins of the noblest man’. He pledges to avenge the death of Caesar by turning the tide against the conspirators. He takes Caesar’s body to the market place and makes an emotional speech on Caesar’s funeral. He employs rhetorical devices to win the hearts and sympathy of the mob. He shows Caesar’s wounds and speaks for Caesar. He inflamed the mob to anger and succeeded in taking revenge, which is a glowing tribute to Caesar.
Qu.14-What arguments did Brutus give to justify the killing of Caesar?
Answer-(i) Brutus participated in the assassination not because he loved Caesar less but because he loved Rome more.
(ii) If Caesar had been allowed to continue ruling the country, the Romans would have been reduced to a state of slavery.
(iii) Caesar’s assassination was necessary to ensure liberty and freedom of the people of Rome.
(iv) He wept over Caesar’s death because he loved him.
(v) He honoured Caesar’s memory because he was known for his velour and courage.
(vi) Every Roman who loved his country and who believed in freedom should rejoice at his death. I. Value Based
Qu.15-“What can be avoided whose end is purposed by the mighty gods.” The above statement reflects Caesar’s dignity and wisdom that the hour of death cannot be averted and is decided by Cod. Keeping the above statement in mind, discuss the circumstances that led to Caesar’s death.
Answer-Caesar is fearless, valiant and believes that the fixed hour of death decided by heavens cannot be averted. This proves true in his case. He is persuaded by Calpumia to avoid going to the Senate due to ill-omens. Caesar had nearly succumbed to Calpumia’s entreaties, but Decius Brutus ignites Caesar’s pride, vanity and overconfidence proves to be his failing. Despite the premonitions. he proceeds towards the Senate. He haughtily rejects the petition of Metellus Cimber to revoke his brother’s banishment. The conspirators are ready to kill Caesar. Casca is the first one to stab Caesar, followed by Brutus and others.
Qu.16-What characteristics are displayed by the Roman mob in the play? Discuss how the mob changes the fate of the main characters of the play?
Answer-Mob is of strategic importance in the plays of Shakespeare. It gives us a deep insight of the main characters and is instrumental in turning the tide of events. The mob is full of hero worship. They glorify Caesar when he brings victory and fills the coffers of Rome. They rejoice in his honour, worship him and put him on a pedestal as a hero. But the commoners are too gullible, very easily swayed and exhibit ‘herd-mentality.’ when Brutus convinces them that Caesar’s murder was justified in the interest of Rome, they believe him, but when Mark Antony plays on their emotions, they rise in mutiny. They are overwhelmed to hear of Caesar’s will and cause heavy destruction. So mob can turn the tide, depending upon who proves to be clever to exploit it to his advantage.
Qu.17-Compare and contrast the characters of Brutus and Mark Antony.
Answer-Brutus is a powerful public figure, a dignified military leader and a loving friend. The conflicting value systems that battle with each other, in the play, arc enacted on a micro level in Brutus’ mind. Even after the murder of Caesar has been committed, questions remain whether it was a noble, selfless act or failure of a great nobleman and friend. Brutus’ rigid idealism is both his greatest virtue and his most deadly flaw. He lives up to Antony’s elegiac description as ‘the noblest of Romans.’ His commitment to principles leads him to miscalculations: wanting to curtail violence, he ignores Cassius’ advice and does not kill Antony as well. In another moment of naive idealism, he allows Antony to give his funeral oration over Caesar’s body. So he forfeits the authority of having the last word on the murder and allows Antony to incite the plebeians to riot against him He later endangers his good relationship with Cassius by self-righteously condemning the fundraising tactics. So Brutus acts out of a desire to limit the self serving aspects of his actions, ironically in each incident he dooms the very cause, he seeks to promote. thus serving no one.
Qu.18-Flow was Antony successful in instigating the people of Rome against the conspirators?
Antony displays lot of maturity in the way he befriends the conspirators in order to average Caesar’s death. Explain.
Answer-Mark Antony is a clever statesman and a good friend of Caesar. He is foresighted enough to judge that Brutus is a famous public figure and has already won the approval of the plebeians, instead of censure, idler killing Caesar. Now it is upto him to turn the tide, which threatens to flow on the side of the conspirators. Antony proves strong in all the ways while Brutus proves weak. His impulsive, improvisatory nature serves him perfectly to persuade the conspirators that he is on their side, thus gaining leniency. Throughout his speech. he keeps repeating, ‘Brutus is an honorable man.’ “I come to bury Caesar. not to praise him,” whereas he does just the opposite. He is able to persuade the plebeians of the conspirators’ injustice and gains mass support. He contradicts the charges of Brutus that Caesar was ambitious by pointing out that Caesar had refused the crown twice, had f the coffers of Rome and wept for all Romans. Not too scrupulous to stoop to deceit and duplicity, as Brutus cl to be, Antony proves himself to be a consummate politician, using gestures and rhetoric to his advantage-graphically displays all the stabs, Brutus and others have inflicted on Caesar’s body and uses Caesar’s exploit the plebeians emotionally. He responds to subtle cues, tailors his words very deftly and uses the appropriate actions to incite the people. He deliberately thrusts the words ‘mutiny’ and ‘riot’ at them and g desired results. Unlike Brutus, who prides himself on solely acting with respect to virtue and blinding himse his personal concerns. Antony never separates his private affairs from his public actions. So Antony’s mil Caesar’s funeral is a master-stoke, and the mention of Caesar’s will that leaves money and his property f Romans, acts as the final nail in the coffin of the conspirators. So Antony’s speech is a combination of wit. I sarcasm, pathos and satire.
Qu.19-“Actions speak louder than words.”Caesar was a philanthropic who did a lot for Romans. It was only because of the value of doing the best for Romans that his death was avenged by the mob. Comment.
Answer-Caesar, the great general of Rome, did a lot for Romans. He left lots of money, all his private harbours and orchards for the Roman public. After Brutus’ speech they were all convinced that the conspirators were right in murdering Caesar as he was arrogant and over-ambitious who wanted to make the Romans his slaves. But it was only after the speech of Antony that they realised Caesar’s love for them. They came to know that Caesar sympathsised with them and was not over-ambitious as he had refused the crown thrice. They all became impatient, angry and violent. They avenged his death by killing and burning the houses of the conspirators. It is true had Caesar not revealed his love for Romans through his will, his death would never have been avenged. Good deeds always pay back. Actions do speak louder than words. Caesar was dead but his will changed the entire scene. The conspirators were brutally killed. It is justified through the play ‘Julius Caesar’ that the value of doing the best for Romans helped Caesar after his death.