What are Flavius and Murellus angry about at the beginning of the play?
Flavius and Murellus are initially angry because they see a number of commoners neglecting their work. They learn that the commoners are celebrating Caesar’s defeat of his archrival Pompey. Flavius and Murellus wonder why Pompey’s death should be considered a good thing, considering the people of Rome used to adore him. They are upset that the people turned their affections so quickly to Caesar, and that Caesar is becoming too self-important. Even though Flavius and Murellus do not appear again in the play, they are the first to voice the distrust of Caesar that eventually leads to his murder later in the play.
Why does Caesar decide to go to the Senate despite his wife’s warnings?
Caesar goes to the Senate because his ambition surpasses his desire to comfort his wife. After Calpurnia’s terrifying nightmare that portends Caesar’s assassination, Caesar initially agrees to stay home, despite his belief that nothing can change his fate. Midway through the scene, Decius—one of the conspirators—arrives to escort Caesar to the Senate. Not wanting to lie about the reason he refuses to attend, Caesar informs Decius of Calpurnia’s dream. Knowing that he needs to convince Caesar to come, Decius tells two lies. First, he reinterprets Calpurnia’s vision, insisting that the blood in her dream does not represent death, but instead represents the life and renewal Caesar will bring about for the Romans. Second, Decius says the Senate plans to crown Caesar the first emperor of Rome. Decius’s two lies stoke Caesar’s thirst for power and convince him to go to the Senate despite Calpurnia’s warnings, ultimately leading to Caesar’s doom.
Why does Brutus allow Antony to speak at Caesar’s funeral?
Brutus allows Antony to speak at Caesar’s funeral in the hopes that doing so will work to the conspirators’ benefit. Brutus plans to make a speech to the Roman people, outlining the reasons for Caesar’s death, and he tells Antony that he can speak afterward. Brutus instructs Antony to speak well of the conspirators: “You shall not in your funeral speech blame us, / But speak all good you can devise of Caesar, / And say you do ’t by our permission.” Cassius strongly objects to this plan, pointing out that there’s no way to know “how much the people may be moved / By that which he will utter.” Brutus insists, however, that having Antony speak at Caesar’s funeral will help justify the conspirators’ actions in the eyes of the Roman people. Later, this plan goes awry. Although Brutus’s words temporarily win the crowd’s sympathies, Antony goes on to deliver a moving speech full of masterful rhetoric that quickly turns the Roman people against the conspirators, leading to a riot and, later, war. Brutus’s mistake in letting Antony speak derails the conspirators’ cause and leads to tragedy.
How does Cassius die?
Cassius kills himself with the same sword that killed Caesar because he believes his friend Titinius has been captured by enemy troops. Cassius sends Titinius to ride to a distant camp and determine whether the camp belongs to friends or enemies. Pindarus, Cassius’s servant, reports that a group of men on horseback surround Titinius and take him captive. Aggrieved and ashamed that he should “live so long / To see my best friend ta’en before my face,” Cassius decides he too must die. However, Cassius doesn’t take his own life, technically avoiding suicide as he instructs Pindarus to “guide” the sword. The audience learns immediately after Cassius dies that Titinius was never captured and is alive among friends. Cassius thus kills himself for no good reason. Although he appeared politically savvy and cunning throughout the play, Cassius proves in the final act he is not as shrewd as the audience is led to believe.
Was assassinating Caesar the right decision?
The conspirators justify the assassination of Caesar by claiming that they want to preserve the Roman Republic, in which no one is king and the ruling aristocrats are equals. If Caesar claims absolute power and becomes crowned as king, the Roman Republic will end as they know it. While Julius Caesar does show that the conspirators have some valid reasons to fear Caesar—mainly because Caesar really does regard himself as superior—the play presents this decision as a mistake in several ways. First, the assassination does not accomplish what the conspirators intended to do—the Republic is never restored, and Antony and Octavius rise up to take Caesar’s place as rulers, with Octavius eventually becoming the first Roman Emperor. Second, the play presents the decision to assassinate Caesar as ultimately Brutus’s decision, and that decision is portrayed as a fateful mistake, a dark choice with sinister consequences. The audience sees Brutus tempted by Cassius’s lies and stratagems, misleading him into thinking the Roman people want him to kill Caesar. The decision itself is made in sinister circumstances, in the midst of a storm and with the conspirators masked. As with any tragedy, this decision leads to Brutus’s inevitable downfall and death.
Why does Cassius hate Caesar?
Cassius hates Caesar because he is jealous of Caesar’s power and he believes that Caesar is a weak man and, therefore, undeserving of the power and admiration he has been given by the Roman citizens. To highlight his feelings, Cassius describes to Brutus how he once saved Caesar’s life when the two raced each other across the Tiber River. While he tells the story, he reveals his anger and resentment toward Caesar when he suggests that Caesar “[i]s now become a god, and Cassius is / A wretched creature [who] must bend his body” to him. During this conversation with Brutus, Cassius goes on to spitefully explain Caesar’s epileptic fits as another sign of the would-be emperor’s weakness. Caesar’s physical weakness, in contrast with his overreaching power, leads Cassius to judge Caesar as a danger to Rome and the Republic; he fears that Caesar will become emperor and strip the senators of their power, essentially enslaving them.
What is the significance of the comet?
The comet’s appearance mainly serves as an omen foreshadowing Julius Caesar’s impending assassination. However, Shakespeare also uses the comet to characterize Caesar’s ego as his tragic flaw. Calpurnia suggests the comet’s purpose when she explains, “When beggars die there are no comets seen. / The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes” (2.2.29–31). Such a description sets the comet up as one of three omens that portend the death of Caesar (the others are the Soothsayer’s prophecy and Calpurnia’s dream). By having Caesar flippantly ignore these three blatant omens, Shakespeare highlights Caesar’s ego as a central factor in his downfall.
Why does Caesar refuse the crown when Antony offers it to him?
There are differing responses to this question, depending on which character provides the answer. Casca explains to Brutus and Cassius that, in the arena, Caesar refused the crown every time Antony offered it because each time he refused, the crowd responded uproariously. Casca observes that “he would fain have had it,” implying that Caesar’s refusal was, essentially, theater and that he was simply pandering to the crowd. On the other hand, Antony uses the same incident to reveal that Caesar refused the crown because he was not ambitious or power-hungry. However, it’s more likely that Caesar’s motivations were as Casca implies: Caesar theatrically refused the crown to further secure the hearts and minds of the people, and he fully intended to accept the crown when the senate officially offered it to him.
What happens to Murellus and Flavius?
Casca explains to Brutus and Cassius that “Murellus and Flavius, for pulling scarfs off Caesar’s images, are put to silence.” Interpretations of this line vary. There is the obvious euphemistic interpretation that silence means death, suggesting Caesar had the two tribunes killed for speaking out against him in public. Yet other theories suggest that the pair may have been stripped of rank and possibly tortured, having their tongues cut out, or that they were simply threatened, stripped of rank, and forced to stop publicly opposing Caesar.
Why does Antony shake hands with the conspirators?
Antony shakes hands with the conspirators to make them believe that he does not have ill intentions toward them. He ultimately desires to take a brutal revenge against the group, but he is aware that confronting them directly after Caesar’s murder would likely prove fatal for him. Showing great wisdom, inner resolve, and patience, Antony “makes nice” with the conspirators and relies on his unassuming reputation in order to bide his time, turn the people against the conspirators, and raise an army to enact his revenge against them.
Why does Caesar’s will have such a powerful impact on the plebeians?
It is not the actual contents of Caesar’s will that have a powerful impact on the plebeians, but rather it is Antony’s reading of the will. He essentially uses the will as a rhetorical device that symbolizes Caesar’s love for the plebeians and the betrayal he endured at the conspirators’ hands, which gives the will the power to truly move the plebeians to rise up in mutiny. First, Antony primes the plebeians by telling them exactly what the will represents: Caesar’s love for them and all of Rome. He then states that he “must not read it” and cleverly implies how people should react if they were to hear its contents: “It is not meet you know how Caesar loved you. / You are not wood, you are not stones, but men. / And, being men, hearing the will of Caesar, / It will inflame you, it will make you mad.” Essentially, Antony tells the plebeians that Caesar loved them and suggests that the will is proof of this love.
What happens to Portia?
Unable to handle Brutus’s absence and all that is happening in Rome, Portia commits suicide. During their dispute in Act 4, scene 3, Brutus informs Cassius that Portia is dead. He explains her despair over the recent events, including “grief that young Octavius with Mark Antony / Have made themselves so strong.” Brutus then explains that when Portia’s servants were not around, she killed herself by swallowing hot coals.
How are Octavius and Caesar related?
Julius Caesar is Octavius’s great-uncle, as Octavius’s grandfather married one of Caesar’s sisters. However, at some point Caesar adopts Octavius as his son. Caesar’s will states that Octavius is the heir to the empire.
Why does Brutus refuse to swear an oath?
Brutus refuses to swear an oath because he believes that his doing so will belittle the great enterprise that he and the other conspirators have taken upon themselves. He feels that the righteousness of their intentions is enough to keep them all honest and that if they were to swear an oath, it would suggest that their resolve is weak and would dishonor their purpose, which he believes is to protect Rome from tyranny.
Why does Brutus kill himself?
In ancient Rome, it was considered more honorable for a Roman leader to commit suicide rather than face the humiliation of capture. If Brutus were taken prisoner, he would have likely been chained and paraded down the streets of Rome as a trophy, and he would ultimately have been executed for his crimes, so Brutus likely chose suicide to avoid such suffering and shame. Also, since Julius Caesar is based on historical events, Shakespeare simply presents this historical fact in his play.