To give you a comprehensive understanding of all aspects of the play, answer the following questions for Act One. Write your answers on a separate piece of paper using complete sentences.
1. What is the setting of the first scene?
2. Why have the shopkeepers left work?
3. What is Marullus and Flavius’s reaction to the citizens’ behavior? Why? 4. What important information about the political and social atmosphere does Shakespeare provide us in the first scene?
1. What does Caesar want Antony to do when he runs by Calpurnia? Why? 2. What does the soothsayer tell Caesar? What is Caesar’s reaction? 3. How has Brutus been feeling lately? How does this open a door for Cassius? 4. What is your reaction to Brutus’s lines: “Into what dangers would you lead me, Cassius, / that you would have me seek into myself / for that which is not in me?” What might this hesitation or caution foreshadow?
5. What does Brutus love (even more than his own life)?
6. Why does Cassius tell Brutus the story about Caesar swimming the Tiber River? What does this reveal about Caesar? What does this reveal about Cassius? 7. Describe Brutus’ reaction to Cassius’s ideas.
8. Why does Caesar distrust Cassius? Why does Caesar not fear Cassius, however? 9. Why does Caesar tell Antony to “Come on [his] right side”? 10. Explain why the crown was offered to Caesar three times. What is your reaction to this spectacle?
11. Why does Caesar faint? Why does Cassius say: “No, Caesar hath it now; but you, and I / And honest Casca, we have the falling sickness”? To what is Cassius referring? 12. The phrase “It’s all Greek to me” has become a common saying referring to something incomprehensible or meaningless. This saying comes from Casca’s line: “...but for my own part, it was Greek to me,” which originates from the Medieval Latin proverb Graecum est; non potest legi, meaning “It is Greek; it cannot be read.” Explain how Casca’s line is ironic....
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