"Cowards die many times before their death;
The valiant never taste of death but once."

Caesar, Julius Caesar, Act II, scene ii


Characters Historical Background

Caesar the Man Caesar by Shakespeare

Video Questions Assignments

Shakespeare Home Page

"Men at some times are masters of their fates"

Cassius, Julius Caesar, Act I, scene ii


Julius Caesar protagonist, most powerful leader and politician in Rome
Calpurnia wife of Caesar
Marcus Brutus antagonist, friend of Caesar, believed in Republic, conspirator
Portia wife of Brutus, daughter of Cato (loyal to Pompey)
Caius Cassius brother-in-law of Brutus, conspirator
Mark Antony friend to Caesar, senator, triumvirate member after Caesar's death
Octavius Caesar great-nephew to Julius Caesar, member of triumvirate, heir to kingdom
Casca conspirator, friend of Brutus
Plebeians commoners
Conspirators Casca, Cassius, Cinna, Metellus Cimber, Decius Brutus, Trebonius, Marcus Brutus
Soothsayer predicts the future
March 15 Ides of March



Fall of 450 year old empire
Started as a monarchy (similar to Britain)
Rebellion led to a republic
publicly elected rulers
2 consuls, limited terms, elected
Senate appointed by consuls
patricians (nobles) - dominated
plebeians (commoners)
Conflict between Senate factions
Caesar sided with plebeians against nobles & spent his own money on entertainment & tax relief
Formed triumvirate - governing body with Caesar, Pompey (military leader), Crassus (wealthy noble)
Caesar led army into Gaul and became governor there
popularity grew
sent riches home to people
Crassus died
Pompey feared Caesar's popularity and power - ordered Caesar to disband and return to Rome
Caesar refused
Pompey fled to Greece - killed eventually in Egypt by Caesar
Pompey's sons continued fight - defeated by Caesar
Caesar appointed dictator for life
Returns to Rome in triumph
Conspiracy against Caesar
Caesar killed 44 B.C.
End of republic - start of civil war
Augustus Caesar crowned emperor


102 B.C. - 44 B.C.
Noble family
Wife Calpurnia - no children
Gifted politician and military leader
Ambitious, arrogant, egotistical
Cared about people of Rome
Falling sickness - Epilepsy, partially deaf


begins after Caesar's defeat of Pompey's sons
based on Plutarch's (historian) The Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans
source for Caesar, Mark Antony, Marcus Brutus, Caius Cassius
warning to Elizabethan England
concerned with political power, leadership, and civil order
no easy solutions
need for strong leader to maintain order
noble intentions not always enough - result in negative outcomes
conspiracy against Caesar to preserve the Republic resulted in its demise
Key ideas
rebellion against tyranny
strong leadership and order in state
reality versus idealism
individuals influence on history
omens and dreams (supernatural)


page #


1. How was Rome governed in the first century B.C.?


2. Why are people rejoicing at the beginning of the scene?
3. How do the plebeians fell about Caesar?
4. How do some of the city officials feel about him?


5. What warning does the soothsayer give to Caesar?
6. What is Caesar's reaction to the warning?


7. How does Cassius get Brutus' attention?
8. What is Brutus worried, concerned, about?
481 9. Who does Caesar consider dangerous?
483 10. What did the crowd offer Caesar? How many times? Who made the offer? What did Caesar do?
484 11. What is Caesar's malady?
486 12. As the next scene open what is the setting? How does Shakespeare establish the setting?
13. What do the Senators plan to do?
14. What does Cassius plan to do if the Senators go through with their plan?
489 15. What does Casca mean by, "So every bondman in his own hand bears the power to cancel his captivity?"
16. How far is Casca willing to go?
17. How does Cassius describe the enterprise?
490 18. Where is Cinna to place the three papers? What is the purpose of the letters? (493 intro.)


493 19. In the textbook, read Act II, scene i, lines 10-34. How does Brutus feel about Caesar and his rise to power? Why should Caesar be killed?
494 20. How does Shakespeare establish the date? What is it?
495 21. Who visits Brutus at night?
493 22. Why has Brutus been awake all night?
496 23. What is the allusion to the east?
498 24. Who does Cassius want to kill?
25. Why does Brutus object?
499 26. What is the plan?
498 27. How does Brutus describe Mark Antony?
501 28. Why is Portia upset?
502 29. What reasons does Portia give to Brutus to persuade him to tell her what is going on? (3)
30. Portia continues to converse with Brutus, yet he still does not tell her hi plans. She ten give him more reasons for trusting her even if she is a woman. What are they? (3)
31. What is Brutus' response?
505 32. In the next scene, who has disturbing dreams?
33. Why does Caesar send the servant to the priests?
34. When Caesar comments on the threats, he gives us an example of his self-confidence. What does he say?
35. What does Calpurnia want Caesar to do?
36. What arguments does Calpurnia use to dissuade Caesar from leaving? (3)
37. How does Caesar brush off the visions?
506 38. What is Caesar's opinion of death?
39. What did the augerers find?
40. What is Caesar's reaction?
41. Why has Decius Brutus come to Caesar's house?
507 42. Calpurnia wants Caesar to say he is sick, but he refuses. Why? What does he want Decius to say?
43. Caesar describes Calpurnia's dream. What is it?
44. How does Decius turn the dream around?
45. What arguments finally convince Caesar to go? (2)
508 46. Who comes to escort Caesar?


513 47. Why doesn't Caesar read the petition?
515 48. Who is to be the first to stab Caesar?


49. Where is Mark Antony?


50. What is Metellus Cimber's request?


51. What are Caesar's famous last words to Brutus?
52. What is the conspirators rallying cry?

518 53. What prophetic statement does Cassius make? (a statement that has been true through history)
520 54. How do the conspirators try to appease Antony?
521 55. What does Cassius ask Antony?
522 56. Cassius objects to Antony's speaking. How does Brutus plan to nullify the effect of Antony's speech? What restriction does he place on Antony? (3)
57. What is Antony's curse? (2)
524 58. Who is coming to Rome?
525 59. What reason does Brutus give the people for the murder? What was Caesar's major offense? (2)
526 60. What is the reaction of the crowd?
61. What are Brutus' parting words?
527 62. How does Antony get the crowd's attention?
63.Describe Antony's famous speech. How does he use the word honorable? (3)
530 64. Does Antony really mean what he says about reading the will?
533 65. What is the crowd's reaction to Mark Antony's speech?
534 66. Where is Octavius?
67. Who left Rome?


537 68. What are Octavius and Mark Antony planning for the region?
542 69. Why is Brutus upset with Cassius?
543 70. Why is Cassius really upset?
545 71. What happened to Portia? How?
548 72. Why is it important for Brutus' army to strike now? Where are they to meet the enemy?
550 73. What does Brutus see? What is the message? What does it mean?


553 74. Why do you think Octavius "crosses" Antony?
554 75. What does Octavius declare? What does he mean?
556 76. What special day is it for Cassius?
560 77. What does Cassius ask Pindarus?
561 78. Who does Brutus blame?
566 79. How did Brutus kill himself? Why that way?
567 80. What words of praise does Antony have for Brutus?

"This was the noblest Roman of them all . . .
His life was gentle, and the elements
So mixed in him that Nature might stand up
And say to all the world, 'This was a man!"
Mark Antony, Act V, scene v


Daily Vocabulary sheets for each Act need to be completed and returned the following day.
As we watch the video, fill out the questions. Page references from your textbook are included for material you are not sure of, or if you need further explanation. The video questions will be collected and graded at the completion of each act in the unit.
Tests After the presentation of the background material, there will be a test over that material, the background information in the textbook, and the glossary of Shakespeare terms. (handout)
There will be one final test over the entire video after Act V.
Project (fooled ya!) no project
Speeches All students will memorize and present in class a portion of Mark Antony's famous speech. You may choose how much you wish to memorize and present to the class based on the desired grade. (see handout) Dates will be assigned.
Essay This will be the final essay of the quarter and no rewrites will be possible.Upon completion of the test, students will write an essay. Those students who have a "B" or better for the quarter have optional assignments.
Students with less than an 83 will complete a semester final essay. This is optional for those with better than an 83. This will count double and give you an opportunity to improve your grade demonstrating good writing, organization, grammar, and thinking skills.
Select a theme that appears in three of the works studied this semester (may include The Pearl). Write a complete, well thought out essay showing how that theme is developed. You may use compare/contrast or illustration as a means of developing your essay. (Remember: a theme is expressed as a complete idea.)
Students with an 83 or better may select to write the semester essay or develop an essay based on one of the following topics.
one of the key ideas from the text
Caesar as a tragic figure