Homework Help

What is the significance of Act II Scene I of Shakespeare's play 'Julius Caeser'?

user profile pic

chitrambhatt | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 2, 2007 at 4:42 AM via web

dislike 1 like

What is the significance of Act II Scene I of Shakespeare's play 'Julius Caeser'?

2 Answers | Add Yours

user profile pic

bmadnick | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted June 2, 2007 at 4:56 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 0 like

This scene is important because Brutus finally makes the decision to kill Caesar. After this scene, there is no going back. He becomes the leader of the conspirators, replacing Cassius. Brutus is doing this for Rome since he considers Caesar to be a threat to the future of Rome. He refuses to allow Antony to be killed since he feels this would be wrong, a decision that he will later regret.

user profile pic

skearney1960 | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted June 2, 2007 at 7:56 AM (Answer #2)

dislike 0 like

The literal significance of the scene is, as the writer above points out, the decision that Brutus makes to betray and murder Caesar. The scene also has symbolic significance if you consider the setting. Brutus makes the decision in his garden at 3 a.m. (the devil's hour) when he decides that Caesar must be killed before he could do more harm. In making this decision, Brutus compares Caesar to a serpent still in the egg: “And therefore think him as a serpent’s egg, / Which, hatched, would, as his kind, grow mischievous, / And kill him in the shell.” (33–35) The garden, the hour, and the serpent all suggest the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. Here Brutus is making the conscious decision to sin by betraying his friend and emperor. The murder itself has been compared by critics to the betrayal of Abel by his brother Cain.

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes