In "Julius Caesar," what dramatic action has Caesar taken in front of the people before his fainting?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In "Julius Caesar," as Caesar enters Rome, a trumpet sounds three times since he is thrice offered a crown, but he rejects it each time. Casca tells Brutus and Cassius,

I can as well be hanged as tell the manner of it:  it was mere foolery; I did not mark it.  I saw Mark Antony offer him a crown--yet 'twas not a crown neither, 'twas one of these coronet [ornamental bands used as crowns] --aand, as I told you, he put it by once; but for all that, to my thinking, he would fain have had it.  Then he offered to to him agains; the he put it by again; but to my thinking, he was very loath to lay his finger off it.  And then he offered it the third time.  He put it the third time by; and still as he refused it, the rabblement hooted, and clapped their chopt hands, and threw up their sweaty nightcaps, and uttered such a deal of stinking breath because Caesar refused the crown, that it had, almost, choked Caesar; for he swounded [swooned and fainted] and fell down at it.  And for mine own part, I durst not laugh, for fear of opening my lips and receiving the bad air (I,ii,234-250)

Casca adds that Caesar opened his doublet and "offered them his throat to cut."  Casca adds that Caesar apologized when he came to himself and asked the crowd to forgive his "infirmity," and the crowd forgave

him with all their hearts; there's no heed to be taken of them [three wenches who said 'Alas, good soul!']; if Caesar had stabbed their mothers, they would have done no less.

These significant actions and their interpretation may well have influenced Brutus's decision to join the conspiracy against Caesar because Brutus declares in his explanation to the Romans that Caesar has becomes too self-serving and power-hungry and is not so much interested in the welfare of the republic as he is in his position.  Also, that Brutus is concerned for the republic is evident in his soliloquy in Act II, as he reflects,

...He would be crowned./How that might change his nature, there's the question (II,i, 13-14)

Continuing to ponder, Brutus, then reasons,

...But when he [the climber] once attains the upmost round [of the ladder of success]/He then unto ladder turns his back,/Looks in the clouds, scorning the base degrees/By which he did ascend (II,i,24-27)

This act of seducing the crowd with his dramatic refusals of the crown, may have, indeed, reversed his purposes and contributed to Caesar's undoing.

disney123's profile pic

disney123 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 2) eNoter

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Antony offered a crown to Caesar three times, but Caesar refused it each time. While the crowd cheered for him, Caesar fell to the ground in a fit. Brutus speculates that Caesar has “the falling sickness".

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