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The Tragedy of Julius Caesar

The Tragedy of Julius Caesar

Julius Caesar

The tragedy of Julius Caesar is one of the plays written by Shakespeare based on some true facts from the history. The play is based on themes like friendship, treachery, power and patriotism.

The story is based on the events leading to the assassination of Roman general Julius Caesar. This play is unique as compared to the rest of Shakespearean tragedies in the sense that the protagonist, whose name supplies the title to the play, has shorter role in the play than some other characters. Marcus Brutus, who is one of the people who conspire against Caesar, has far more dialogues in the play than Julius Caesar.

The plot of the play is based on a conspiracy by some Roman senators and officials against Julius Caesar. Marcus Brutus, who happened to be Caesar’s friend, was also manipulated by the rest of this group of conspirators. Cassius used various ways to convince Brutus that Caesar was to be killed for the welfare of Rome. Caesar was even warned by a soothsayer and his wife, due to a premonition she had, but he still could not foresee the conspiracy against him. He was killed and the biggest shock for him was that Brutus, his friend, had also been part of the conspiracy.

Following Caesar’s death, the conspirators tried to convince the people how Caesar’s death was in favour of Rome. However, Mark Antony intervened and questioned the intentions of the conspirators. His instigation led the people to oust the conspirators from Rome. The crowd got so infuriated that it killed poet Cinna confusing him with one of the conspirators, Lucius Cinna.

The group of conspirators fights a battle against Mark Antony and Octavius. However, they lost the battle and the main conspirators like Brutus, Cassius and Titinius committed suicide or got themselves killed turn by turn due to the loss.

Some well renowned dialogues are one of the major reasons for the fame of the play. Characters like Marcus Brutus and Mark Antony have displayed great oration skills. The most effective sections of the play include those mentioning the efforts of the conspirators, mainly Cassius, to convince Marcus Brutus against Caesar; those displaying the confusion faced by Brutus; those exhibiting the murder of such a strong character as Julius Caesar; those expressing the efforts of the conspirators and Mark Antony, respectively, to influence the people; and, those depicting the battle between the two parties leading to the death of all the major conspirators.

The play also gives rise to some very strong emotions which make it a great tragedy. The emotions expressed by Caesar, for example, when he realizes that Brutus has also been part of conspiracy against him are much stronger than those he experienced on realizing that his death was so close. Shakespeare has even added a dialogue to Caesar’s stating that if Brutus too has been against him then he should readily die. The respect displayed by Mark Antony to Brutus despite that the latter died fighting against him is an example of a philosophically positive attitude of a character.

Thus, the play is an example of great characterization, strong dialogues, very clear philosophical ideas, a very gripping plot and lot more.

 Multiple Choice Questions and Answers

1.‘The Tragedy of Julius Caesar’ is believed to have been written in:

  1. 1596
  2. 1592
  3. 1599
  4. 1606

2. The character of Julius Caesar appears in ‘The Tragedy of Julius Caesar’ in:

  1. 5 scenes
  2. All scenes
  3. 7 scenes
  4. 12 scenes

3. The biggest share of dialogues in ‘The Tragedy of Julius Caesar’ goes to:

  1. Julius Caesar
  2. Marcus Brutus
  3. Mark Antony
  4. Caius Cassius

4. The conspiracy against Caesar by the senators was based on their fear that:

  1. Caesar planned to turn Republican Rome into a Monarchy
  2. Caesar had grown exceptionally powerful
  3. They doubted Caesar to be planning to execute them all
  4. They wanted one of them to become the king

5. The character who used letters written by him in different hand-writings to convince Brutus against Caesar is:

  1. Mark Antony
  2. Octavius
  3. Titinius
  4. Caius Cassius

6. In which act does Caesar get assassinated?

  1. Act 2
  2. Act 3
  3. Act 4
  4. Act 1

7. Whose speech in ‘The Tragedy of Julius Caesar’ includes the famous address ‘Friends, Romans, Countrymen’?

  1. Marcus Brutus
  2. Julius Caesar
  3. Octavius
  4. Mark Antony

8. Who was responsible for getting the people against the conspirators?

  1. Marcus Brutus
  2. Julius Caesar
  3. Octavius
  4. Mark Antony

9. Who was warned by Caesar’s ghost regarding defeat in the battle?

  1. Marcus Brutus
  2. Mark Antony
  3. Caius Cassius
  4. Octavius

10. Who was/were against the conspirators in the battle that took place after the death of Julius Caesar?

  1. Mark Antony
  2. Mark Antony and Octavius
  3. Octavius
  4. Octavius and Titinius

11. Who was Octavius in ‘The Tragedy of Julius Caesar’?

  1. Caesar’s adopted son
  2. One of the conspirators
  3. Mark Antony’s friend
  4. Caesar’s subordinate

12. Who killed Cassius in ‘The Tragedy of Julius Caesar’?

  1. Mark Antony
  2. Octavius
  3. Caesar
  4. One of his servants

13. Whose wife was Portia in ‘The Tragedy of Julius Caesar’ who committed suicide?

  1. Julius Caesar
  2. Mark Antony
  3. Marcus Brutus
  4. Octavius

14. Which of these characters in ‘The Tragedy of Julius Caesar’ did not die in a way that his/her death could be considered to suicide?

  1. Portia
  2. Titinius
  3. Cassius
  4. Caesar

15. Whom does Antony call ‘the noblest Roman of them all’?

  1. Julius Caesar
  2. Mark Antony
  3. Marcus Brutus
  4. Octavius

 

16. The two characters of ‘The Tragedy of Julius Caesar’ appear in Shakespeare’s ‘Antony and Cleopatra’ as well. the two characters are:

  1. Mark Antony and Octavius
  2. Julius Caesar and Mark Antony
  3. Mark Antony and Marcus Brutus
  4. Caius Cassius and Octavius

17.The hint of conflict between Mark Antony and Octavius at the end of ‘The Tragedy of Julius Caesar’ is the basis for which of Shakespeare’s tragedy?

  1. Romeo and Juliet
  2. Macbeth
  3. Antony and Cleopatra
  4. Othello

Answer Keys for Multiple Choice Questions

  1. c
  2. a
  3. b
  4. a
  5. d
  6. b
  7. d
  8. d
  9. a
  10. b
  11. a
  12. d
  13. c
  14. d
  15. c
  16. a
  17. c

Further Reading

Wikipedia

Full text of Julius Caesar

Notes on Julius Caesar

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