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Julius Caesar Act 1 Scene 2 Dialogue Analysis Activity

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Excerpt From This Document

Through dialogue, playwrights reveal a character’s motivations, personality traits, and relationships with other characters. Diction (word choice) plays an essential role in writing dialogue because it creates mood, develops characters, and establishes events in the play. The following activity will help students analyze passages of dialogue and determine how they inform scenes in the play.

The Tragedy of Julius Caesar dramatizes the brutal assassination of Caesar that occurred in Rome in 44 BCE; the play also dramatizes the events leading to Caesar’s murder and those that follow as Rome is plunged into civil war. While recounting with dramatic license Caesar’s rise to power, subsequent assassination, and the war that will determine the future of Rome, Shakespeare focuses primarily on those who play essential roles in the conflicts that destroy Caesar and compromise the freedom of the Roman people—the conspirators Brutus and Cassius, the loyal but ambitious Antony, and Caesar himself. In act 1, scene 2, Caesar has returned to Rome in triumph after defeating Pompey and his armies and has taken control of the Roman government. His growing political power and dictatorial manner alarm some members of the Roman senate, including Brutus and Cassius; their concerns are evident in the dialogue in the scene as Caesar presides over the ceremonies at the feast of Lupercal.

Skills: character analysis, drawing inferences from text, interpreting diction for connotative meaning

Learning Objectives:
In completing this activity, students will

  • analyze passages of dialogue to identify the speaker’s character traits, conflicts, and motivations;
  • examine the diction in passages of dialogue to interpret the connotations of key words and explain how they create mood in the scene;
  • determine from passages of dialogue characteristics of the speaker’s relationship with another character in the play.

About this Document

Our eNotes Classroom Activities give students opportunities to practice developing a variety of skills. Whether analyzing literary devices or interpreting connotative language, students will work directly with the text. The main components of our classroom activities include the following:

  • A handout defining the literary elements under discussion, complete with examples
  • A step-by-step guide to activity procedure
  • An answer key or selected examples for reference, depending on the activity

In completing these classroom activities, students will be able to classify and analyze different literary elements, thereby developing close-reading skills and drawing deeper inferences from the text.