Act I, Scene 1: Questions and Answers
1. How does Shakespeare use humor in the opening scene?
2. A pun is a play on words, two words that sound alike but have different meanings. Find two examples of puns in the opening lines of the scene.
3. How does Shakespeare show the political conflict in Rome?
4. What is the reason the cobbler tells Flavius and Marullus he is leading the people through the street?
5. What is the real reason the people are out in the street?
6. What about Pompey is revealed in this scene?
7. What information is given about Caesar?
8. How does the scene show the fickleness of the crowd?
9. Shakespeare often uses comparisons (metaphor and simile) and figurative language. What is the comparison Flavius makes in the final lines of the scene?
10. What are the intentions of Flavius and Marullus as the scene ends?
1. His characters pun, or play with word meanings. They use words that sound alike but have different meanings.
2. The word “cobbler” has two meanings, shoemaker and bungler. A “mender of bad soles” is a reference to shoemaker. This is a play on the word “souls.” An awl is a leather punch. It is used with the word “all.” Recover means to repair, as in repair shoes. Recover also means to get better as from an illness.
3. He does this by opening the play with a confrontation between the tribunes and the citizens, two opposing forces in Rome.
4. The cobbler wants them to wear out their shoes so he will get more work.
5. They are out to see Caesar and rejoice in his triumph.
6. Pompey was once loved and respected by the people of Rome.
7. Caesar was responsible for Pompey’s death.
8. Flavius and Marullus are able to change the mind of the crowd with their words and convince them to disperse.
9. He compares Caesar to a bird. Driving the crowd from the street will be like plucking feathers from a bird’s wing so it can not fly high.
10. They plan to go through the streets and pull down any banners that honor Caesar.
Act I, Scene 2: Questions and Answers
1. How is Caesar’s power indicated in the scene?
2. What was the soothsayer’s warning?
3. What reason does Brutus give Cassius for his coolness towards him?
4. What two stories does Brutus tell about Caesar?
5. What does Cassius compare Caesar to in lines 142–45?
6. What reasons does Caesar give Antony that Cassius is dangerous?
7. Why does Casca say Caesar fell?
8. What does Brutus mean when he says Caesar has the “falling sickness”?
9. What does Cassius mean when he says, “But you, and I / And honest Casca, we have the falling sickness”? (266–67)
10. How does Cassius plan to trick Brutus into joining the plot against Caesar?
1. When he tells Antony to touch Calphurnia in the race, Antony says, “When Caesar says ‘Do this,’ it is performed.”
2. The Soothsayer warns, “Beware of the ides of March.”
3. Brutus says that he has some private matters on his mind that are troubling him.
4. Caesar challenged Cassius to a swimming race, and Cassius had to save his life. He also saw Caesar with the fever in Spain, crying like “a sick girl.”
5. He compares Caesar to a giant statue, under whose legs Romans must walk.
6. He is too thin. He is lean and hungry for power. He doesn’t sleep. He reads. He is an observer. He doesn’t smile or go to plays or listen to music. He thinks too much.
7. Casca says that the bad breath of the crowd knocked Caesar down.
8. Caesar suffers from epilepsy.
9. Cassius means that Romans are falling down before Caesar’s power.
10. Cassius plans to forge letters and leave them where Brutus will find them. The letters will convince Brutus that public sentiment is against Caesar.
Act I, Scene 3: Questions and Answers
1. Why does Casca have his sword drawn?
2. What two “supernatural” events does Casca describe to Cicero?
3. What unusual “natural” event does he tell about?
4. Why does Casca think these unusual things are happening?
5. What information about Caesar is revealed in their conversation?
6. How is Cassius’ conduct in the storm different from Casca’s?
7. How does Cassius interpret all that is happening in Rome?
8. What news does Cinna bring to Cassius?
9. Why does Casca think it is important for Brutus to join with them in the plot against Caesar?
10. How does Cassius plan to put extra pressure on Brutus at the end of Act I?
1. He passed a lion walking in the streets of the Capitol.
2. A slave with his hands on fire was not burned. Men on fire were walking through the streets.
3. An owl, the bird of night, sat hooting in the marketplace at midday.
4. The gods are either at war or are trying to destroy the world.
5. He is going to the Capitol in the morning on the ides of March.
6. He is unafraid because he is an honest man. He even dares the lightning to strike him.
7. He says the gods are warning Romans against Caesar.
8. The other conspirators are assembled at Pompey’s Porch and they are awaiting Cassius.
9. Public opinion of Brutus is favorable, and he will make the killing of Caesar seem like a noble act.
10. He and Casca and the others plan to go to his house and press him to join them.
Act II, Scene 1: Questions and Answers
1. What reason does Brutus give in his soliloquy for killing Caesar?
2. What do the letters addressed to Brutus say?
3. Why can’t Lucius identify the men with Cassius?
4. Why does Brutus oppose the idea of swearing an oath?
5. Why does Brutus object to Cicero joining the conspiracy?
6. Why does Brutus oppose killing Mark Antony?
7. How does Decius plan to get Caesar to the Capitol?
8. What advice does Brutus give the conspirators as they leave his house?
9. Why does Portia think she is strong enough to share in Brutus’ plans?
10. How does Caius Ligarius prove his high regard for Brutus?
1. Brutus justifies killing Caesar for the good of Rome, fearing that he may abuse his power.
2. The letters urge him to “speak, strike and redress,” to act against Caesar.
3. The men have their hats pulled down and their cloaks pulled up so their faces are hidden.
4. Brutus feels their cause is good enough to bind them together, and if it is not, they might as well go home and wait for death to take them.
5. He says Cicero will never follow what someone else began.
6. Their cause would seem too bloody, and they would be considered murderers. He thinks Antony is not dangerous.
7. He says he will use flattery.
8. He tells them to look fresh and hide their plans by smiling so their appearances won’t give them away.
9. Portia is the daughter of Cato and the wife of Brutus, and she gave herself a voluntary wound in the thigh without crying out.
10. Ligarius agrees to do whatever Brutus needs him to do without knowing what it may be, even though he is sick.
Act II, Scene 2: Questions and Answers
1. Why is Caesar concerned when the scene begins?
2. What is Calphurnia’s request of Caesar?
3. What is Caesar’s response to Calphurnia’s concern he might be killed?
4. What was the result of the sacrifice performed by the augurers?
5. What reasons does Caesar give Decius for staying home?
6. What was Calphurnia’s dream?
7. How does Decius use flattery to get Caesar to change his mind?
8. How does Decius interpret Calphurnia’s dream?
9. What does Trebonius say when Caesar tells him to stay by?
10. What is the irony in Caesar’s last lines in the scene?
1. A storm is raging and Calphurnia had a dream that Caesar was murdered.
2. She wants him to stay at home. Calphurnia is afraid for his safety because of the unusual events that are going on and because of her dream.
3. Caesar’s response is, “Cowards die many times before their deaths; / The valiant never taste of death but once.”
4. The augurers could not find a heart in the beast they sacrificed and they want Caesar to stay at home.
5. Caesar tells Decius that he is staying home because Calphurnia wants him to.
6. Calphurnia dreamed a statue of Caesar was spouting blood and Romans were washing their hands in it.
7. Decius interprets Calphurnia’s dream in a favorable way. He tells Caesar that people will think Caesar is a coward if he doesn’t go to the Senate House. He says the senate may change their minds about giving Caesar a crown.
8. Caesar is the lifeblood of Rome, and Romans, bathing in his blood, derive strength from him.
9. He says, in an aside, that he will stay so close that Caesar’s friends will wish Trebonius had been further away.
10. He regards the conspirators as friends, having no idea they plan to kill him within the hour.
Act II, Scenes 3 and 4: Questions and Answers
1. How does Shakespeare add the element of suspense in these two short scenes?
2. What is Artemidorus’ warning?
3. What does Artemidorus mean when he says, “Security gives way to conspiracy”? (Sc. 3, 7–8)
4. How does he plan to give Caesar his letter?
5. Why doesn’t Lucius carry out Portia’s request?
6. What does Portia mean in her aside, “O constancy, be strong upon my side; / Set a huge mountain ‘tween my heart and tongue. / I have a man’s mind but a woman’s might. / How hard it is for women to keep counsel!” (Sc. 4, 7–10)?
7. What does she tell Lucius to do?
8. What does the soothsayer tell Portia he plans to do?
9. What is Portia’s wish for Brutus?
10. How does Portia try to cover up being overheard by Lucius?
1. He provides Caesar with two possibilities of saving his life: through Artemidorus’ letter or the soothsayer.
2. Artemidorus warns Caesar to be on his guard if he is not immortal.
3. He means that overconfidence on Caesar’s part opens the way to conspiracy and death.
4. He will wait on the street as a suitor looking for some political favor and present the letter to Caesar when he passes.
5. Portia does not make her intentions clear.
6. She is afraid she will not be able to keep Brutus’ plans a secret because she is a “weak” woman.
7. Portia tells Lucius to bring back word as to how Brutus looks, what Caesar does, and which suitors present themselves to Caesar.
8. He will go down the street and speak to Caesar when he comes by and try to warn him about the possible danger.
9. She hopes the heavens will help him in his enterprise.
10. She tells him Brutus has a suit (a request) that Caesar will not grant him.
Act III, Scene 1: Questions and Answers
1. Why does Caesar not read Artemidorus’ letter?
2. Why does Cassius think their assassination plan has been discovered?
3. Why does Caesar get angry at Metellus?
4. What does Brutus tell the frightened senators after Caesar’s assassination?
5. How does Calphurnia’s dream come true?
6. What does Antony want from the conspirators?
7. What restrictions does Brutus place on Antony when he allows him to speak at the funeral?
8. What does Antony predict in his soliloquy?
9. What information does the messenger bring to Antony?
10. What are Antony’s intentions as the scene ends?
(The entire section is 318 words.)
Act III, Scenes 2 and 3: Questions and Answers
1. How does Brutus justify the killing of Caesar to the people of Rome?
2. What is the crowd’s reaction to Brutus’ speech?
3. What two reasons does Antony give to prove Caesar wasn’t ambitious?
4. How does Antony use irony in his funeral speech?
5. What is the pun Antony uses in line 114 of Scene 3?
6. How does Antony use Caesar’s cloak to manipulate the crowd?
7. How does Antony say that Caesar died?
8. What is the news that the messenger brings to Antony at the end of the scene?
9. Why is Cinna out on the streets?
10. What is the excuse the mob uses to kill Cinna?
(The entire section is 297 words.)
Act IV, Scene 1: Questions and Answers
1. Why are Antony, Octavius, and Lepidus together in the scene?
2. How does Shakespeare show their callousness?
3. Why does Antony send Lepidus to Caesar’s house?
4. What is Antony’s true opinion of Lepidus?
5. Why did Antony pick Lepidus as one of the new leaders of Rome?
6. What does Antony compare Lepidus to?
7. What is Octavius’ assessment of Lepidus?
8. What is Antony’s response to Octavius?
9. What news does Antony tell Octavius about Brutus and Cassius?
10. Why does Octavius agree with Antony’s plan to go after Cassius and Brutus?
1. They are...
(The entire section is 274 words.)
Act IV, Scenes 2 and 3: Questions and Answers
1. Why is Brutus concerned about Lucilius’ account of his meeting with Cassius?
2. Why does Brutus tell Cassius to come into his tent?
3. Why is Cassius angry with Brutus?
4. Why is Brutus angry with Cassius?
5. Why does Brutus say he is not afraid of Cassius’ threats?
6. What is the advice given to Cassius and Brutus by the poet?
7. What is the news from Rome?
8. What are Brutus’ and Cassius’ battle plans?
9. What reasons does Brutus give for his plan?
10. What does the ghost of Caesar tell Brutus?
1. It reaffirms Brutus’ feelings that Cassius’...
(The entire section is 284 words.)
Act V, Scene 1: Questions and Answers
1. What does Octavius report to Antony in the opening lines of the scene?
2. What is the cause of the disagreement between Antony and Octavius?
3. How does Antony insult Cassius and Brutus?
4. What is Cassius’ response to Antony’s insult?
5. Why is Cassius reluctant to fight the battle?
6. What are the omens he has observed?
7. Why would it be ironic if Cassius dies in the battle?
8. What is Brutus’ attitude concerning suicide?
9. What is Brutus’ response when Cassius asks if he is “contented to be led in triumph / Thorough the streets of Rome?” (119–20)
10. Why is Brutus anxious for...
(The entire section is 253 words.)
Act V, Scenes 2 and 3: Questions and Answers
1. What order does Brutus give Messala in the battle?
2. How does Cassius try to prevent the retreat?
3. What news does Pindarus bring the retreating Cassius?
4. Why does Cassius ask Pindarus to describe Titinius’ ride instead of doing so himself?
5. What does Pindarus describe?
6. What request does Cassius make of Pindarus?
7. What is ironic about the way Cassius dies?
8. What is the message Titinius has for Cassius?
9. How does Titinius show his high regard for Cassius?
10. Why does Brutus plan to send Cassius’ body to Thasos for burial?
1. Brutus tells him...
(The entire section is 217 words.)
Act V, Scenes 4 and 5: Questions and Answers
1. What happens to young Cato?
2. How does Lucilius try to confuse the enemy troops?
3. What does Lucilius request of the two soldiers?
4. What does Antony do when he recognizes Lucilius?
5. Why does Brutus say he wants to commit suicide?
6. What is the one thing Brutus says he is happy about before he dies?
7. How does Brutus die?
8. How does Strato answer Messala’s inquiry about Brutus?
9. How does Octavius restore order to Rome after the battle?
10. How does Antony regard Brutus at the end of the play?
1. He is killed in the battle.
(The entire section is 273 words.)