What details in Julius Caesar, Act 1, scene 3 do you think evoke a sense of danger and terror?What details in Julius Caesar, Act 1, scene 3 do you think evoke a sense of danger and terror?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is important to be aware how in Elizabethan times it was thought that disorder in the world of man was mirrored by disorder in the world of nature, and how natural events can indicate this profound disorder and point towards severe upheaval in the world of man. Note the way in which the stage directions tell us at the beginning of this important scene that there is "Thunder and lightning." As Casca and Cicero have their conversation, Casca reports a series of portentous events from the world of nature that clearly mirror the plans of the conspirators to assassinate Caesar in the world of men. Note what he says to Cicero:

A common slave--you know him well by sight--

Held up his left hand, which did flame and burn

Like twenty torches joined, and yet his hand,

Not sensible of fire, remained unscorched.

Besided--I ha'not since put up my sword--

Against the Capitol I met a lion,

Who glazed upon me and went surly by

Without annoying me.

In addition he talks of ghosts and apparitions and further examples of animals acting against their nature. Such reference to supernatural events really serves to increase the audience's sense of terror and foreboding as we know that the conspirators plan to kill Caesar imminently, and nature itself revolts against this deed that is to happen as a result.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The upsetting of the Chain of Being for the Elizabethans is extremely disturbing.  There are several incidents of oddity as a result:

  1. There is thunder and lightning
  2. The "sway of earth" shakes like somthing that is crazy.
  3. There is a tempest dropping fire
  4. Casca wonders if there is something with the gods.
  5. A hundred ghastly women/Transformed with their fear, who swore they saw men all afire, walking up and down the streets.
  6. An owl sat at noon upon the market place
  7. a tempest dropping fire.
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Julius Caesar

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