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Please explain Act II, scene 3 in "Julius Caesar"?

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sakthi | College Teacher | Honors

Posted July 31, 2009 at 11:12 PM via web

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Please explain Act II, scene 3 in "Julius Caesar"?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 1, 2009 at 1:32 AM (Answer #1)

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In this short scene of "Julius Caesar," Artemidorus, a teacher and friend of some of the conspirators, has learned of the assassination plot against Caesar.  Therefore, he writes to Caesar naming the conspirators and urging Caesar

If thous beest not/immortal, look about you:  security gives way to conspiracy/The mighty gods defend thee!

Artemidorus determines that he will stand on the street until Caesar passes, and, as a devoted friend, he will give him the letter.

Although this scene is extremely brief, it reinforces some of the reflections of Brutus in scene 1 and some of the remarks of Caesar in scene 2 of this act.  For instance, Brutus worries that Caesar as the

climber [who] upward turns his face/But when he once attains the upmost round,/He then unto the ladder turns his back,/Looks in the clouds, scorning the base degrees/By which he did ascend.   So Caesar may (II,i,21-27)

The concern of Brutus that Caesar may become too powerful and give little heed to those beneath him is suggested in Caesar's words in the next scene as he refutes the words of the augurer's (officials who interpret omens) who urge Caesar also not to go to the Senate; he feels himself more powerful than they:

Danger knows full well/That Caesar ismore dangerous than he./We are two lion littered in one day,/And I the elder and more terrible,/and Caesar shall go forth. (II,ii,44-47)

 As a wise teacher and a man knowledgeable of the conspirators, Artemidorus wisely reflects that no good can come from those conspirators who envy him; at the same time he understands the power of Fate upon Caesar whose tragic fault of pride takes him to the Senate.

My heart laments that virtue cannot live/Out of the teeth of emulation/If thou read this, O Caesar, thou mayes live;/If not, the Fates with traitors do contrive (II,iii,12-15)

Thus, in this brief scene are allusions to the motifs of ambition and Fate as well as some foreshadowing of the interaction of these two elements.

 

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