List the images Casca relates to Cicero in Julius Caesar.
Suggest how each denotes chaos in Caesar's Rome. How do these images hint events that could happen in future?
The answer should be found in lines 15-32 of Act I Scene iii when Casca relates the storm vision to Cicero.
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Casca is breathless as he shares the portentous signs of the terrifying, stormy night. The storm is raining fire. Men's hands appear to be on fire without being scorched or burned. Casca met a lion in front of the capitol. The lion glared and angrily passed on by Casca. A hundred ghastly women swore they saw men on fire walking up and down the streets.
Casca claims that yesterday there was an owl out at the market place at noon, howling and shrieking. This is quite strange for a bird that sleeps in the day and normally hoots thoughout the night.
Casca is certain that such a ominous, stormy night with all the strange happenings is an omen. Of course, these strange happenings are widespread on the night before Caesar will be murdered.
The omens have to be true signs that Caesar will be murdered the next day. In Act two, Scene two, while the storm is raging, Calpurnia screamed in the night that Caesar was being murdered. Caesar shares Calpurnia's fears with a servant:
Neither heaven nor earth have been at peace tonight.
Three times Calpurnia has cried out in her sleep,
"Help, oh! They murder Caesar!"—Who's there?
Calpurnia shares her fears with Caesar after the stormy night's warning. She claims that she has never been one to fear omens, but she does not want Caesar to leave his house for fear he will be murdered:
Caesar, I never believed in omens,
Yet now they frighten me. Besides the things that
We have heard and seen, there is a man inside
Recounting the most horrid sights seen by the guards.
A lioness has given birth in the streets;
And graves have opened up and given up their dead;
Fierce fiery warriors fight on the clouds,
In ranks and squadrons and right forms of war,
Which drizzled blood on the Capitol;
The noise of battle screaming into the air,
Horses neighed, and dying men groaned; And ghosts shrieked and squealed around the streets.
O Caesar, these things are past all customs,
And I’m afraid them!
Casca has endured the same signs throughout the night. He shares these with Cicero. The night has proved to be one of such strange events, until anyone would believe the happenings to be a dreadful sign or a dangerous omen.
The stormy night may be a warning that danger is soon to come to Rome. If Caesar has indeed become a tyrant, Rome could suffer greatly. If the stormy night is just an omen that Caesar will die, then the strange, stormy night has proved to be effective in its attempt to forewarn.
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