SCENE BY SCENE
ACT 1, SCENE 1
•Flavius is angry that the commoners (crowd) are celebrating Caesar’s return with a holiday. This establishes conflict at the very beginning of the play. •The cobbler says he is a “mender of bad soles”. This is a pun, as he is a mender of people’s shoes, but he is intentionally making fun of Flavius and Murellus, as he is saying he is a “mender of bad souls”. •He also says that he “can mend” them. Here he is again making fun of them. •In lines 31 to 54, Murellus makes a long speech. Speech is an important aspect of Julius Caesar, as is rhetorical question, both of which are found here. The main purpose of his speech is asking why the crowd are happy to see Caesar triumph. He says that the people often gone to great effort to see “great Pompey pass the streets of Rome”. However, now that Julius Caesar “comes in triumph over Pompey’s blood” the commoners are celebrating with a holiday. This annoys Murellus, and he is accusing the crowd of being fickle, and hypocrites. •When the commoners have left on order of Flavius, he says, “See where their basest metal not be moved”. This is a pun on ‘mettle’; he shows how their personal willpower and strength is low, as they simply side with whoever is more popular at the time. •At the end of the scene, Flavius uses animal imagery to convey how Caesar thinks highly of himself. After he has given the orders to ‘disrobe the images’ (pull decorations off the statues) he says, “These growing feathers plucked from Caesar’s wing/Will make him fly an ordinary pitch”. The metaphor of birds and flying implies that Caesar thinks himself better than others. This is backed up by the next line, “Who else would soar above the view of men”. •The final line of the scene, “And keep us all in servile faithfulness”, portrays that Pompey’s supporters and those in favour of the Triumvirate see Caesar as a tyrant. ACT 1, SCENE 2
•Mark Antony makes the point: “When Caesar says ‘Do this’, it is performed”. This could have both positive and negative connotations about Caesar. It could mean that he is highly respected, so that people are willing to do whatever he asks, or it could mean that he rules tyrannically, and people obey him out of fear. •When the soothsayer bids Caesar “Beware the Ides of March”, it shows the superstition of the Romans. The “Ides” or the fifteenth of the lunar month was seen as an unlucky time, and no Roman would do business on this night. •Caesar responds to the soothsayer, “He is a dreamer, let us leave him. Pass.” This perhaps could mean that he thinks himself invincible, and does not worry about ill omens. •A long discussion between Brutus and Cassius follows. Brutus is Caesar’s best friend, and Cassius is a malcontent general of Caesar’s. The general idea of the discussion is that Cassius is trying to convince Brutus to not be content with Caesar being all-powerful. •Cassius asks Brutus, “Can you see your face?” Here he is asking whether Brutus can see himself as a good ruler, as Cassius can. Cassius believes that Brutus could be more than he knows himself to be. •He goes on to say that he has heard “many of the best respect in Rome” speak of Brutus. •Brutus is wary of what Cassius is saying to him, as he replies, “Into what dangers would you lead me, Cassius,/That you would have me seek into myself/For that which is not in me?” He is not naturally filled with ambition, and is aware that Cassius is trying to implant this in him. •Cassius then replies to Brutus that he will be Brutus’ “glass”. Since Brutus could not see his own face, Cassius continues the metaphor and says that he will be a glass, or mirror, for Brutus to look into to see his own self-worth that he could use. •He goes on to say that Brutus can trust him, because he does not “fawn on men and hug them hard/And after scandal them”. •After this, a ‘Flourish and shout’ is heard from outside. Brutus says absent-mindedly, “What means this shouting? I do...