8 Matching Annotations
  1. Jun 2017
    1. Caesar should be a beast without a heart, If he should stay at home today for fear. No, Caesar shall not: danger knows full well That Caesar is more dangerous than he: We are two lions litter’d in one day, And I the elder and more terrible; And Caesar shall go forth.

      Caesar, awoken by his wife Calpurnia’s nightmares, sends a servant to bid the priests to offer a sacrifice and tell him the results, which reveals an impossibly ominous future. Calpurnia enters and insists that Caesar remains home, but he rebuffs her, refusing to appear as a coward. But having witnesses the omens of the previous night (dead men walked, ghosts wandered the city, a lioness gave birth in the street, and lightning shattered the skies), she begs him to remain. Yet Caesar claims nothing can change the plans of the gods and deems the signs to apply to the world in general and refuses to believe that they bode ill for him personally.

      Caesar is an illeist (refers to himself in third person) as if his very name deserves recognition in his own speech. He constantly suggests he is greater than man and even “danger knows full well that Caesar is more dangerous than he” as if overshadowing death. He claims he is “without a heart”, unbound by the limitations of life or the fear of death. He self claims a God title where danger is but a child to him. The scene reveals Caesar’s unending pride and overconfidence, as he remains ignorant to the evident extent of menace.

    1. The noble Brutus Hath told you Caesar was ambitious: If it were so, it was a grievous fault; And grievously hath Caesar answer’d it. Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest,— For Brutus is an honourable man; So are they all, all honorable men,— Come I to speak in Caesar’s funeral. He was my friend, faithful and just to me: But Brutus says he was ambitious; And Brutus is an honourable man. He hath brought many captives home to Rome, Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill: Did this in Caesar seem ambitious? When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept: Ambition should be made of sterner stuff: Yet Brutus says he was ambitious; And Brutus is an honourable man. You all did see that on the Lupercal I thrice presented him a kingly crown, Which he did thrice refuse: was this ambition? Yet Brutus says he was ambitious; And, sure, he is an honourable man. I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke, But here I am to speak what I do know. You all did love him once,—not without cause: What cause withholds you, then, to mourn for him?— O judgment, thou art fled to brutish beasts, And men have lost their reason!—Bear with me; My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar, And I must pause till it come back to me.

      The crowd of plebeians is manipulated by Antony’s speech with the use of repetition, mockery, pathos, and sarcasm that degrades the justification of the assassination. He emphasises Brutus’ honour after each rhetorical question that contradicts their claims of ambition and greed, suggesting a deceitful and cynical motive. As his given motives become doubtful with unanswered absence, the crowd begins to convert into a dangerous mob, violently demanding an answer as shown by the murder of Cinna the Poet where their actions have become irrational and barbaric. The fickle responsiveness to rhetoric displays the corruptive and persuasive power that rhetoric can invoke.

      Shakespeare uses rhetoric to question the assumed or accepted beliefs that he (or his character) does not believe in. He purposely uses this in many of his other plays to express his own views. In the opening scene, the tributaries question the loyalty of the plebians who had once praised and worshipped Pompey, yet had celebrated his death upon Caesar’s victory. In Julius Caesar, rhetoric becomes the drive for change and rebellion as the characters use it to and share their own ideas to shake others’ once-concrete ideas.

    1. My spirit from mine eyes!—There is my dagger, And here my naked breast; within, a heart Dearer than Plutus’ mine, richer than gold: If that thou be’st a Roman, take it forth; I, that denied thee gold, will give my heart: Strike as thou didst at Caesar; for I know, When thou didst hate him worst, thou lovedst him better Than ever thou lovedst Cassius.

      My question is why does Shakespeare repeatedly use the idea of suicide? Does it have an effect on the play and what of this one in particular?

    1. But I am constant as the northern star, Of whose true-fix’d and resting quality There is no fellow in the firmament.

      The conspirators have come to Caesar in the Senate under the pretence of pleading for amnesty for Metellus’s banished brother, Publius Cimber. Caesar replies that he will adhere to his word as his actions are law.

      Comparing himself to the North Star, Caesar boasts of his refusal to waver under their pleads. The North Star is the star that guides the sailors that have navigated since ancient times, just as Caesar leads the Roman people. As it is the only star that never changes its position in the sky, it has “no fellow in the firmament.” Caesar implies that he alone remains “unassailable” among men, and his strictness illustrates this virtue.

      The speech adds irony to dramatic tension in the scene. Only just boasted that he is “unassailable,” Caesar is shortly assailed. In announcing his “constancy,” Caesar claims permanency, which is quickly revealed to be vulnerability.

    1. FIRST CITIZEN. Tear him to pieces! he’s a conspirator. CINNA. I am Cinna the poet, I am Cinna the poet. FOURTH CITIZEN. Tear him for his bad verses, tear him for his bad verses. CINNA. I am not Cinna the conspirator. FOURTH CITIZEN. It is no matter, his name’s Cinna; pluck but his name out of his heart, and turn him going.

      When Cinna the poet is pressured for his name, he is confused with one of the conspirators. Shakespeare humorously uses mistaken identity to demonstrate the mounting tension and suggest the loss of social order upon Caesar’s death.

      The bloodthirsty mob ignores his pleads and tear him apart. Indifferent to the acknowledgement of ill doings, only conscious of the name, they mercilessly slaughter him as “It is no matter, his name’s Cinna”. A plebeian even states “Tear him for his bad verses” as they no longer care for justice or vengeance, rather they wish to satisfy their barbaric rampage. This suggests the plebeians are nothing but potential puppets of the Tributaries, as they have become irrational and senseless in response to Anthony’s rhetoric.

    1. O, let us have him! for his silver hairs Will purchase us a good opinion, And buy men’s voices to commend our deeds: It shall be said, his judgment ruled our hands; Our youths and wildness shall no whit appear, But all be buried in his gravity.

      When discussing members of the plot, Metellus speaks up and says that the men should get Cicero's support because “his silver hairs will purchase us a good opinion…It shall be said his judgement ruled our hands” and that their “youths and wildness shall no whit appear, but all be buried in his gravity”. He suggests that Cicero's experienced age will help manipulate the interpretation of their reasons behind their plot. His addition will suggest an intensively analysed plan under the direction of someone with a respectable demeanour. The argument shows his insight and precaution. While the other men offer opinions, Metellus provides cunning suggestions to alter perspectives. The crowd’s opinion and Antony’s accusation of the conspirator’s actions may have been greatly changed if his idea was accepted.

    2. And therefore think him as a serpent’s egg Which hatch’d, would, as his kind grow mischievous; And kill him in the shell.

      Caesar is also accused of being ambitious that is a “serpent in its egg”. The metaphor suggests to Brutus that Caesar will eventually submit to dictatorship. This is reinforced when he constantly refuses the conspirators to lift the banishment of Publius Cimber, he simply boasts “I am as constant like the northern star”. Brutus attempts to persuade him, but to of no avail and sees Caesar gradually become the dictator that he fears would destroy Rome, like a serpent, “which hatched, would as his kind grow mischievous”.

      The refusal of the crown can be attributed to his obsessive conflation of his public image and himself, ultimately bringing his death. Although Caesar may not appear be power hungry, he is unable to separate his public life from his private life as he is seduced by the increasing idolization of his image. He ignores ill omens and threats against his life, believing himself as eternal as the North Star as if the Gods themselves protect him.

  2. May 2017
    1. I love The name of honor more than I fear death.

      Brutus cares not for death or any other form of punishment. Honour is his drive, his code.