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In Julius Caesar, what does Casca see Caesar do while at the race?
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Casca, who stays to see the public footrace in which Mark Antony participates and Caesar attends, subsequently reports back to Brutus and Cassius what happened (Act 1 Scene 2). He relates that Antony, one of Caesar's staunchest supporters, three times offered him a crown in public and each time he refused it, to the adoring delight of the watching crowds. In fact, Casca remarks that the crowd were so noisy that they caused Caesar to have an epileptic fit - the 'falling sickness' (I.ii.347)
In his reportage of these incidents involving Caesar, Casca makes clear his dislike of the whole spectacle. In his view at least, Caesar refused the crown not out of true modesty but simply because he wanted to put on a show to please the crowds. Casca, a plain speaking, hard-bitten man, reveals his contempt for Caesar in this scene, but, even more, his disgust is levelled at those who clap and cheer Caesar:
the rabblement hooted and clapped their chapped hands and threw up their sweaty night-caps
and uttered such a deal of stinking breath because Caesar refused the crown that it had almost choked
Caesar; for he swounded 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.337-343)
Casca, then, paints a very unflattering of the crowd, the 'rabblement' with their 'chapped hands' and bad breath which, as he testifies, almost suffocated Caesar.
Casca's scathing description of the ordinary Roman people is in keeping with their general representation in the play. TheRoman crowds are generally presented in a negative light as being boorish, loud, and fickle, and lacking in all political understanding.
Posted by gpane on November 6, 2013 at 4:28 PM (Answer #1)
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