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What was the Elizabethan belief regarding birds of prey such as the ones found in act 5...

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shambhavi | Student, Grade 10

Posted October 25, 2008 at 1:06 PM via web

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What was the Elizabethan belief regarding birds of prey such as the ones found in act 5 scene 1 of "Julius Caesar"?

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

Posted February 2, 2009 at 11:53 PM (Answer #1)

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"The sport of kings, falconry revolves around one’s training of the bird of prey to take dead meat from the arm of the falconer, obviously not a natural act.  Yet, as Mary K. Wilson says in her article, “The sport of falconry binds man and raptor into an intimate dance of life and death.” 

This is similar to a math question requiring several sequential steps. First you must identify the lines from the play identifying the "birds of prey". Second, research carefully the background of these birds using Wiki, or another recognized data source, and third, once you have knowledge of these birds, begin referencing their usage in Elizabethean society and literature. (More often than not--individual and societal beliefs are represented in the literature of the time.)

Lines regarding "birds of prey", when read carefully, represent the characters/conspirators within in the play waiting for the right moment when they can "swoop" in, kill Caesar, and assume his power. Even more literally, decide which conspirator is directing his "birds of prey" toward Caesar.

 

 

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