Act 1 Scene 2 (Lines 1 - 89) - Notes

Detailed notes on the first part of Act 1 Scene 2 of Julius Caesar for the Cambridge IGCSE English Literature Course.

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Julius Caesar - Act 1 Scene 2 (Lines 1 - 89)
In this scene, Caesar and his procession are at ceremonial games, where young men run
naked through the streets of Rome, touching people with leather thongs. He has asked
Mark Anthony, one of his seemingly loyal supporters, to touch his wife, Calpurnia, with his
bit of leather, in order to enable her to have children.
Caesar's first words in the play are about a personal matter; this is in line with
another theme of the play (Private life versus Public life). We know that this is not
good, because although is distress is the city (from the previous scene), Caesar is
ignorant of it, and is absorbed in himself.
Soon after Anthony leaves to prepare for the race, a soothsayer bids that Caesar beware
the Ides of March; however, Caesar dismisses this warning, and the procession leaves. Only
Cassius and Brutus remain.
Brutus according to Cassius
These are the words Cassius uses in his speech to Brutus to describe him.
Good
Gentle
Noble
Worthy
All these words are very flattering, and suggest that Cassius is manipulative.
Brutus according to himself
Poor
Vexed
Not gamesome
All these words are very honest, and suggest that Brutus is decent and unselfish.
In this way, there are many similarities between Flavius and Murellus (the two tribunes),
and Brutus and Cassius. Cassius and Flavius are similar; both are very manipulative and can
use words to persuade others to do what they want, even if it is leading their friends
astray. On the other hand, Murellus and Brutus are similar, because both are quite honest
about how they feel, and both have great pride in Rome.
Throughout the scene, Cassius manipulates Brutus. Here's how:
Cassius pounces on Brutus when Brutus in not behaving normally. This is good
timing. Good timing and Fate is another major theme of the play.
Cassius shows that he cares for Brutus (lines 32 - 36). He does this by:
a) By waiting for Brutus when everyone else left, even his own wife.
b) By asking after Brutus' health and well-being.
He makes Brutus feel guilty (lines 35 - 36), in order to try to make Brutus confess
what is on his mind.
Cassius uses a lot of flattery. He also compliments Brutus a lot, with words such as
`your hidden worthiness'.
He tries to show that he understands Brutus better than Brutus understands
himself (line 51 and lines 66 - 78).

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Cassius agrees with Brutus (e.g. in line 54 - `'tis just,'). Line 54 in particular is
emphasised by a gap of 8 syllables in the black verse, either to allow for the actor to
make some gestures to comfort Brutus and emphasise his point or to give the
audience the impression that Cassius is now thinking of a new way to manipulate
him.
Line 60, `(Except immortal Caesar)'.…read more

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Brutus into supporting him, if he can persuade
him that his dark matter is for the good of Rome.…read more

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