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Presentation on theme: "This is a partial version of Thinking about Julius Caesar, an interactive study guide produced by Shakespeare Help. Viewing this Presentation To view this."— Presentation transcript:

1 This is a partial version of Thinking about Julius Caesar, an interactive study guide produced by Shakespeare Help. Viewing this Presentation To view this presentation in Slide Show View: Press the F5 key on the top row of the keyboard, or click the Slide Show tab on the ribbon and then click the From Beginning button. To exit the presentation, press the ESC key. To purchase the complete presentation, please visit: Next Slide

2 Cesar-sa mort, Michele Cammarano, 1798 Click anywhere to begin.

3 IntroductionQuizzesQuotesCharactersThemesYouTube VideosEssay Topics Home © 2010, ShakespeareHelp.com

4 The TextSourcesHistorical SettingHistorical AccuracyThe Battle at PhilippiThe Roman Senate Main Menu Main Menu

5 The source used by Shakespeare was Sir Thomas North's translation of Plutarch's Life of Brutus and Life of Caesar. Plutarch was a Greek historian and biographer born in 46 AD who eventually became a Roman citizen. Best known for his Parallel Lives, a series of biographies of famous Greeks and Romans arranged in pairs to emphasize their moral strengths and weaknesses Although many of the Lives have been lost over the years, the biographies of Caesar, Brutus and Marc Antony are extant. Main Menu Main Menu Introduction A page from the 1470 Ulrich Han printing of Plutarch's Parallel Lives

6 Main Menu Main Menu Introduction From Wikipedia.com (5/9/2011)Wikipedia.com (5/9/2011) The Battle at Philippi was the final battle in the Wars of the Second Triumvirate between the forces of Mark Antony and Octavian against the forces of Julius Caesar's assassins Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus in 42 BC, at Philippi in Macedonia. The Second Triumvirate declared this civil war to avenge Julius Caesar's murder. For dramatic purposes, Shakespeare combined the two historical battles of Philippi, actually fought 20 days apart, into one battle.

7 Act IAct II Act IIIAct IV Act V Main Menu Main Menu

8 1.Why are the tribunes, Flavius and Marcellus, disgusted with the commoners in Scene 1?   2.In Scene 2, Cassius tells Brutus of a swimming race he once had with Caesar. Describe the outcome of the race. 3.What strange thing happened to Caesar after he was offered a crown three times by Antony? 4.Describe two of the unnatural occurrences that Casca describes to Cicero at the beginning of Scene 3. 5.What is Cassius’s plan to convince Brutus to join the conspiracy, and how does he enlist Cinna to help him at the end of Act I? Main Menu Main Menu Quizzes

9 1.Why are the tribunes, Flavius and Marcellus, disgusted with the commoners in Scene 1? Click anywhere for the answer. Main Menu Main Menu Quizzes The tribunes are disgusted with the commoners for switching loyalties so easily. The same commoners who are now celebrating Caesar’s victory over Pompey once filled the streets to cheer for Pompey’s victories in battle. In reality, while the tribunes resent the defeat of their former leader, the commoners are glad to have a day off from work and don’t care whose victory they are celebrating.

10 Act IAct II Act IIIAct IV Act V Main Menu Main Menu

11 1.Beware the Ides of March!   2.And this man Is now become a god, and Cassius is A wretched creature, and must bend his body If Caesar carelessly but nod at him. 3.Men at some time are masters of their fates: The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings. 4.Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous. Main Menu Main Menu Quotes

12 1.Beware the Ides of March! Click anywhere for the answer. Main Menu Main Menu The soothsayer greets Caesar with this warning as he crosses the public square to enter the Capitol building. Caesar dismisses him as “a dreamer.” The Ides of March is the name for March 15 in the Roman calendar, the day Caesar was assassinated in 44 B.C. Quotes

13 BrutusJulius CaesarCassiusMark AntonyCalpurnia Main Menu Main Menu PortiaOctaviusThe ConspiratorsThe Roman MobMinor Characters

14 Marc Antony is a Roman politician and general, deeply loyal to Julius Caesar. After Caesar’s assassination, Antony formed the Second Triumvirate with Lepidus and Octavian Caesar. Antony is in some ways the opposite of Brutus. His decisions are cold and unemotional; he is not tortured by moral principles. After the assassination, Antony is distraught over Caesar’s death, but quickly recovers to plan his revenge and establish his own power. He is willing to bring down the republic for revenge against the conspirators. He coldly condemns men to death, including his own nephew. (IV, 1) Characters Main Menu Main Menu Next

15 Antony is a skillful politician and orator. In his funeral speech, he masterfully manipulates the crowd, turning them against the conspirators. After the funeral, he plots the elimination of his political enemies with Octavius and Lepidus. He reveals to Octavius that Lepidus is not worthy of sharing their power and plans to remove him after he has served his purpose. Bust of Mark Antony from the Vatican Museums Characters Main Menu Main Menu Next Back

16 Antony ultimately triumphs over Brutus. Are realists more likely than idealists to survive in political societies? Are ruthless politicians more successful than honest ones? NOTE: Although Antony is victorious at the end of the play, he was ultimately defeated by the forces of Octavius at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, where he committed suicide. Octavius became the Emperor Augustus (31 BC-14 AD). Roman aureus bearing the portraits of Mark Antony (left) and Octavian (right). Struck in 41 BC, this coin was issued to celebrate the Second Triumvirate by Octavian, Antony and Lepidus in 43 BC. Characters Main Menu Main Menu Back

17 Calpurnia Pisonis, the third and last wife of Julius Caesar Calpurnia tries to prevent Caesar from going to the Senate in II, 2. She has had a nightmare that Caesar’s statue spouted blood and many Romans “did bathe their hands in it.” Her vision literally foreshadows the scene after the assassination. She describes strange omens reported by the night watchmen: A lion gave birth in the street. Graves yielded up dead bodies. A battle was waged in the sky that drizzled blood on the Capitol. Ghosts walked the streets, shrieking. Calpurnia from Promptuarii Iconum Insigniorum Characters Main Menu Main Menu Next

18 Act II, Scene 2, immediately following a domestic scene with Brutus and Portia, shows a glimpse of Caesar’s private life. Caesar initially discounts his wife’s warnings, but she defends the omens: When beggars die, there are no comets seen; The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes. (II, 2) He finally gives in to his wife’s warnings when she begs him on her knees to say he is sick. Decius convinces Caesar to reverse his decision to stay home by appealing to his pride and ambition. He says the Senators may change their minds about offering him a crown if he delays. He suggests that others will think “Lo, Caesar is afraid.” Characters Main Menu Main Menu Back

19 Portia Catonis, wife of Brutus Devoted to Brutus and anxious for his safety After the nighttime meeting with the conspirators, she pleads with Brutus to share his plans with her. He agrees to confide in her when she reveals to him that she has wounded herself in the thigh during their conversation to prove that she can keep a secret. Brutus informs Cassius in Act IV that Portia has committed suicide after learning of the military victories of Antony and Octavius. Portia Wounding her Thigh, Elisabetta Sirani, 1664 Characters Main Menu Main Menu

20 Abuse of PowerFate vs. Free WillSupernatural EventsPrideThe Power of SpeechPublic Identity vs. Private Identity Main Menu Main Menu

21 The primary reason for the conspiracy is Caesar’s perceived abuse of power. Cassius believes Caesar wants to become a king, threatening the republican form of government. Although Caesar is portrayed as arrogant and prideful, Shakespeare does not side with the conspirators. Cassius is also shown as jealous of Caesar’s power and motivated by his own desire for political power. The Triumvirate that replaces Caesar (Antony, Octavius and Lepidus) is more ruthless and tyrannical than Caesar. Many historians mark the end of the Roman Republic in 44 B.C., when the Second Triumvirate assumed power. Themes Main Menu Main Menu Next

22 Is Shakespeare saying that the desire for power is inherent in political societies? In human nature? The plot to limit Caesar’s power results in the establishment of a worse dictator (Octavius, later the Emperor Augustus). Ironically, the conspiracy to save the republic results in its destruction. Themes Main Menu Main Menu Back Would Shakespeare have agreed with Lord Acton that “Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely”? Is this true of Caesar? Brutus? Cassius? Antony? Octavius? All human beings? Modern bronze statue of Julius Caesar, Rimini, Italy

23 Private Caesar vs. Public Caesar Early in the play, Cassius points out the reality behind Caesar’s public persona when he describes his physical weakness during the swimming race: Caesar cried "Help me, Cassius, or I sink!“ … And this man / Is now become a god, and Cassius is A wretched creature… (I, 2) Caesar fails to thwart the conspiracy because he puts his public image before the more private, human concerns of his wife. Decius convinces him to go to the forum after suggesting that the senators might change their minds about offering him the crown. If Caesar hide himself, shall they not whisper “Lo, Caesar is afraid"? Themes Main Menu Main Menu Next

24 Decius also offers a positive public “spin” on Calpurnia’s dream that Caesar’s statue “like a fountain with an hundred spouts, / Did run pure blood…” (II, 2) Decius’s interpretation of the “fair and fortunate” dream is that Rome “shall suck reviving blood” from Caesar’s greatness. Caesar changes his mind about going to the Senate when he realizes the harm it may do to his public image if he stays home. How foolish do your fears seem now, Calpurnia! I am ashamed I did yield to them. Give me my robe, for I will go. (II, 2) Caesar again rejects personal concerns when Artemidorus offers him a letter that will reveal the conspiracy and avert the assassination. What touches us ourself shall be last served. (III, 1) Themes Main Menu Main Menu Next Back

25 Private Brutus vs. Public Brutus Brutus struggles with his decision to join the conspiracy because he has strong personal loyalties to Caesar. Privately, Brutus is revealed as a sensitive and studious man who hates violence and loves Caesar. His final decision is based on his assessment of the “general” or common good. It must be by his death: and for my part, I know no personal cause to spurn at him, But for the general. After Portia demonstrates her loyalty to Brutus by concealing her self-inflicted wound, Brutus expresses his love for her. O ye gods, / Render me worthy of this noble wife! Themes Main Menu Main Menu Next Back

26 Shakespeare skillfully reveals the “private lives” of Caesar and Brutus by showing them “at home” with their wives in consecutive scenes. II, 1 – Brutus and Portia (follows the meeting with the conspirators) II, 2 – Caesar and Calpurnia (precedes the assassination) Themes Main Menu Main Menu Back Brutus (James Mason) and Portia (Deborah Kerr) Julius Caesar, 1953 While both scenes juxtapose the public vs. private identities of Caesar and Brutus, they also invite the audience to compare Brutus’s relationship with Portia to Caesar’s relationship with Calpurnia. and

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