THE TRAGEDY OF JULIUS CAESAR BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE- ACT 5.3-5.5

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In act 5.3 of The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, Pindarus, a servant of Cassius, mistakenly informs his master that Brutus is dead. This information leads to Cassius’ suicide. Scholars question whether it was a mistake or intentional misinformation from Pindarus.

Which theme describes this scenario best?

friendship
honor
rhetoric
betrayal

betrayal

After reading The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, why would a reader consider Cassius to be Brutus’ foil? Support your answer with specific examples of the contrast in their character traits.

Responses may vary but should include some or all of the following information: Since Cassius’ temperament and character starkly contrast with Brutus’, he is considered Brutus’ foil. Where Cassius is cunning, strategic, immoral, and power hungry, Brutus is idealistic, honest, ethical, and justice seeking.

Read the excerpts below from act 5.3 and act 5.5 of The Tragedy of Julius Caesar and answer the question that follows.

CASSIUS:
[To PINDARUS upon learning of BRUTUS’ "death"]
Guide thou the sword.
[PINDARUS stabs him]
Caesar, thou art revenged,
Even with the sword that killed thee.
[Dies]

BRUTUS:
[Runs on his sword]
Caesar, now be still.
I killed not thee with half so good a will.
[Dies]

Were Cassius’ and Brutus’ deaths the work of fate or free will? Explain the ways that their deaths address the theme of fate vs. free will.

Responses may vary but should include some or all of the following information: Students may discuss that the deaths of Cassius and Brutus, being suicides, are based on free will. Students may also argue that their deaths are a matter of fate because they were bound to die anyway as a result of being Caesar’s murderers: they simply did what Octavius’ army would have done later. Students might also argue for both fate and free will in that their deaths would be the natural retribution for having killed Caesar, but they still choose to take their own lives.

Which relationship from The Tragedy of Julius Caesar does not explore the theme of betrayal?

Mark Antony and Caesar
Mark Antony and Octavius
Brutus and Caesar
Cassius and Caesar

Mark Antony and Caesar

Read the list of themes below and complete the instruction that follows.

The effects of power
Betrayal and friendship
Honor and integrity
Fate vs. free will

Choose one of the above universal themes and explain the ways that The Tragedy of Julius Caesar develops it.

Responses may vary but should include some or all of the following information: The effects of power: Students should discuss the ways that power was explored in the play including the conspirators’ reasons for the assassination, Caesar’s behavior in acts 1 through 3, Brutus’ and Cassius’ reactions to Caesar’s assassination, Mark Antony’s ascent to the Second Triumvirate, and the ways that the pursuit of power led to the Battle of Philippi. Betrayal and friendship: Students should discuss the value of friendship to the Republic, the role of friendship and betrayal between Brutus and Caesar and Brutus and Cassius, the destruction of friendship noted in Brutus’ assassination of his friend, Caesar, and the destruction of friendship as evidenced by the argument between Brutus and Cassius in act 4. Friendship is sacrificed with Caesar’s death. Honor and integrity: Students should discuss the role of honor and integrity among these men, particularly as it guides Brutus in his actions throughout the play. Fate vs. free will: Students should discuss the ways that the events of the play highlight both fate and free will. Students may discuss Brutus’ stoicism, evident in his reaction to Portia’s death, and his own fate at the hands of Octavius’ army; Caesar’s acceptance of death despite the soothsayer and Artemidorus’ warnings; or Brutus and Cassius’ suicides.

After reading The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, why could the reader consider Brutus the protagonist of the play?

Brutus’ story does not impact the play.
Brutus is the villain of the story.
Brutus’ story is the focus of the play.
Brutus is a minor character.

Brutus’ story is the focus of the play.

What is the difference between flat and round characters?

Round characters are one-dimensional characters with less important story lines; flat characters are multifaceted with story lines that are essential to the plot.
Flat characters are one-dimensional characters with less important story lines; round characters are multifaceted with story lines that are essential to the plot.
Flat characters usually have complicated story lines so that they can become the hero of the plot.
Round characters, like the servant, often have minor story lines.

Flat characters are one-dimensional characters with less important story lines; round characters are multifaceted with story lines that are essential to the plot.

After reading The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, why could the reader consider Mark Antony the antagonist of Brutus?

Brutus and Mark Antony are both protagonists because they do not cause problems for each other.
Cassius is the antagonist; Mark Antony is the protagonist.
Only Octavius is an antagonist to Brutus; Mark Antony plays a minor role in the play.
Mark Antony poses problems for and works against Brutus, who strives to live the Republic’s ideals.

Mark Antony poses problems for and works against Brutus, who strives to live the Republic’s ideals.

How is the soothsayer an archetype in The Tragedy of Julius Caesar?

Responses may vary but should include some or all of the following information: The soothsayer is an archetype because he represents a symbolic pattern: the Wise Old Man. He shares his wisdom with Caesar, trying to warn him to "[b]eware the ides of March." Though the soothsayer looks out for Caesar’s life, Caesar ignores his wisdom and is assassinated.

Based on your reading of The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, whom do you think is a tragic hero: Julius Caesar or Brutus? Support your answer by using the traits of the Tragic Hero archetype.

Responses may vary but should include some or all of the following information: (Traits of the Tragic Hero archetype: noble heritage or elevated status; relatable to the audience; hubris or other tragic flaw [hamartia]; downfall leads to recognition.) Brutus: Born of noble parents, Brutus is a Roman senator and a well-respected rhetorician (noble status). His naiveté and idealistic approach to life motivate him to participate in the assassination plot (tragic flaw), yet his intense internal dilemma and his quest to preserve the Republic’s ideals make him relatable. Faced with Caesar’s heir, Octavius, and surrounded by the destruction of the Republic’s ideals, he takes his own life, realizing that Rome is now worse than it was under Caesar’s reign (recognition). Julius Caesar: Caesar was the dictator of Rome (elevated status) who possessed great ambition, power, and pride (hamartia) but still was loved by the plebeians (relatable). As a result of his status and power, senators of the Republic planned his assassination to thwart him from gaining more power and to end what they considered tyranny. His death, however, brought forth the worst tyranny Rome had ever seen (recognition).

Based on the characteristics of the Tragic Hero archetype, what recognition does Caesar’s downfall reveal?

Rome enjoys great success and peace.
Brutus becomes the rightful king of Rome.
Cassius becomes the king of Rome.
Rome turns to rebellion and tyranny after his death.

Rome turns to rebellion and tyranny after his death.

Which characters in The Tragedy of Julius Caesar fit the Tragic Hero archetype?

Brutus and Cassius
Julius Caesar and Brutus
Caesar and Mark Antony
Lepidus and Mark Antony

Julius Caesar and Brutus

Which trait does not describe Brutus?

honest
manipulative
idealistic
ethical

manipulative

Because The Tragedy of Julius Caesar deals with themes like power, ambition, friendship, death, and loss, its lesson are __________, relevant to society across the ages.

current
timeless
archetypal
outdated

timeless

Why is Caesar considered a round character in The Tragedy of Julius Caesar?

Caesar is one dimensional: everyone adores him. His story line is essential to the plot.
Caesar is multifaceted: he is stubborn and proud, and the plebeians adore him, while the senators hate him. His story line is essential to the plot.
Caesar is one dimensional: everyone adores him. His story line is not essential to the plot.
Caesar is multifaceted: he is stubborn and proud, and the plebeians adore him, while the senators hate him. His story line is not essential to the plot.

Caesar is multifaceted: he is stubborn and proud, and the plebeians adore him, while the senators hate him. His story line is essential to the plot.

Which archetype fits Brutus’ character in The Tragedy of Julius Caesar?

Father Figure
Villain
Witch
Tragic Hero

Tragic Hero

Which description correctly explains the deaths of Cassius and Brutus?

Cassius stabs himself due to the information that Brutus has been killed; Brutus is killed by Octavius.
Cassius and Brutus are both killed by Octavius.
Cassius and Brutus are both killed by Mark Antony.
Cassius asks Pindarus to kill him with his own sword; Brutus runs onto his own sword, which is held by Strato.

Cassius asks Pindarus to kill him with his own sword; Brutus runs onto his own sword, which is held by Strato.

How are Caesar’s and Brutus’ tragic flaws different?

Caesar’s tragic flaw is his ambition; Brutus’ flaw is his idealism.
Caesar’s tragic flaw is his shyness; Brutus’ flaw is his ambition.
Caesar’s tragic flaw is his idealism; Brutus’ flaw is his manipulative anger.
Caesar’s tragic flaw is his anger; Brutus’ flaw is his manipulative nature.

Caesar’s tragic flaw is his ambition; Brutus’ flaw is his idealism.

Which trait does not describe Cassius?

cunning
strategic
kind
power hungry

kind

Who is not a flat character in The Tragedy of Julius Caesar?

Lepidus
Mark Antony
Messala
Pindarus

Mark Antony

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