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Why does Shakespeare insert the death of the poet Cinna into Julius Caesar?
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In Act III, scene iii, we briefly encounter the minor character of a poet who unfortunately has the same name as one of Caesar's assassins, Cinna. Having dreamt of dining with the slain Caesar, Cinna is intent upon staying out of the mayhem that Mark Antony has stirred up, but despite his misgivings, "something" leads him forth. The frenzied plebian mob interrogates him mercilessly and it is evident that they are predisposed to harm him. When he insists that he is not Cinna the politician but Cinna the poet, one of the plebians exclaims, "tear him for his bad verses" (III, iii. l.30), and the mob drags him to his death. The killing of this incidental character is meant to intensify the sense of chaos that has taken hold of Rome with the death of Julius Caesar. The connection is reinforced by Cinna's following a pattern similar to Caesar; he senses danger but is nonetheless drawn into harm's way.
Posted by enotes on September 8, 2013 at 3:56 PM (Answer #1)
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