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Senior Secondary School


I. Read the following extracts and answer the questions:

1. Cowards die many times before their deaths;

The valiant never taste of death but once.

Of all the wonders that I yet have heard.

It seems to me most strange that men should fear;

Seeing that death, a necessary end,

Will come when it will come.

a).What trait(s) of Caesar’s character do these lines reveal?

Ans: The lines show him to be wise, valiant and fearless.

b).Who is he speaking to? What is the listener’s fear?

Ans: He is speaking to his wife, Calpurnia. Her fear is that some harm will
befall Caesar.

c).How does this fear come true?

Ans: Caesar is murdered at the Capitol by a group of senators including some of
his close friends like Brutus.
2. Your wisdom is consumed in confidence.
Do not go forth to-day: call it my fear
That keeps you in the house, and not your own.
Let me, upon my knee, prevail in this.

a). Who speaks these lines to whom?

Ans: Calpurnia is speaking these lines to Caesar.

b).What is the speaker’s fear and what does she/he request the listener to do
or not to do?
Ans: The speaker fears that Caesar’s life is in danger. She requests Caesar not
to go out of the house.

c). What idea do you get about the speaker from the above lines?
Ans: The speaker- Calpurnia is very much concerned about the listener- Julius
Caesar. She doesn’t mind being labelled as coward as long as her husband is not
exposed to any risk.

d).What is the listener’s response to the speaker’s advice? What is the

Ans: Caesar initially agrees to Calpurnia’s advice but hearing Decius Brutus’
arguments he goes to the Senate against her wishes. Consequently he is stabbed by
the conspirators and he dies.

3. This dream is all amiss interpreted;

It was a vision fair and fortunate:
Your statue spouting blood in many pipes,
In which so many smiling Romans bathed,
Signifies that from you great Rome shall suck
Reviving blood and that great men shall press
For tinctures, stains, relics and cognizance.

a).Who speaks these lines? Whom are they addressed to? Who had
misinterpreted the dream?
Ans: These lines are spoken by Decius Brutus to Julius Caesar. Calpurnia had
misinterpreted the dream.

b).What is the speaker’s interpretation of the dream?

Ans: The speaker calls the dream a favourable and a fortunate one. He
says that Caesar would give life energy to the Romans and they would flock
around him and get relics and mementoes from him.

c).Why does he interpret in such a way?

Ans: Decius Brutus is keen to take Caesar to the Senate where the
conspirators are waiting to assassinate him. Hence he gives a twist to the
interpretation of the dream so that Caesar would brush aside Calpurnia’s
fears and leave for the Senate.

4. If I could pray to move, prayers would move me:

But I am constant as the northern star,
Of whose true-fix’d and resting quality
There is no fellow in the firmament.
a). Who speaks these lines to whom?
Ans: Caesar to Metellus Cimber.

b).What light do these lines throw on Caesar’s character?

Ans: Caesar is very rigid, obstinate and adamant and he seems to be proud of
these traits.

c).In what way is he ‘constant’ in the context of these lines?

Ans: He had ordered the banishment of Publius Cimber and he sticks to
his decision. He refuses to revoke his order of banishment despite the
repeated and earnest pleas of Metellus Cimber.
5. But here’s a parchment with the seal of Caesar;
I found it in his closet, ‘tis his will:
Let but the commons hear this testament-
Which, pardon me, I do not mean to read-
And they would go and kiss dead Caesar’s wounds.
a). Who speaks these words? Where is the speaker at this moment?
Ans: Antony speaks these words to the mob. He is at the Capitol at this moment with
Caesar’s body lying in the coffin.

b).What is the content of Caesar’s will that he is referring to?

Ans: The content of Caesar’s will is that he had left seventy-five drachmas for each
Roman. Moreover he willed all his walks, private gardens and newly planted orchards
on the banks of Tiber to the Romans for their pleasure and recreation.

c).Why does the speaker say, ‘I do not mean to read’ (the will)?
Ans: Antony cleverly arouses the curiosity of the listeners to learn about the contents of
the will by suggesting that if they would hear the will, they would kiss Caesar’s wounds
and dip their handkerchiefs in his sacred blood.

II. Short answers :

1. Why does Calpurnia say that Caesar’s wisdom is consumed in confidence?

Despite Calpurnia’s arguments that in view of her nightmare and unnatural
occurrences witnessed by the watchman, he should not take the risk of going out,
Caesar insists upon going to the Senate. She then comments that his overconfidence
was overshadowing his wisdom. She then advises him to be practical.

2. What are the conditions imposed by the conspirators before allowing Antony to
speak at Caesar’s funeral?
Antony was told not to blame the conspirators. He could praise Caesar, but he must
mention that, he spoke with the permission of Cassius, Brutus and their supporters.
Apart from it, he would be given a chance to speak only after Brutus had addressed
the public.

3. Give a brief account of the content of Caesar’s will.

Mark Antony highlights Caesar’s love for Romans by giving the details of his will.
Caesar had left seventy-five drachmas for each Roman. Moreover he willed all his
walks, private gardens and newly planted orchards on the banks of Tiber to the
Romans for their pleasure and recreation.

4. How does Antony prove to the crowd that Caesar was not ambitious?
Antony reminds the people that the public treasury was filled with the amount
charged for the release of those whom Caesar brought to Rome as captives. He wept
in the miseries of the poor. Thrice he refused the crown on the feast of Lupercal. All
this proves that he was not ambitious.

5. Whom does Antony call the ‘the choice and the master spirits of this age’? Why?
Antony calls the assassins of Caesar the choice and master spirits of this age. He
uses this expression sarcastically as they have killed the choicest and the most
powerful man of Rome. Moreover he uses these words of praise as he wants to give
them the impression of his friendly attitude, so that he would get an opportunity to
avenge Caesar’s murder.

III Long answers :

1. Write a note on the characteristics of the mob in the play.

Shakespeare shows great psychological depth in the depiction of the character of the
common people as a mob. The first thing that strikes us is the Roman people’s hero
worship. The Romans hold Caesar in awe and adore him. They rejoice in his victories
and would love to see him crowned as the Roman Emperor. A striking trait of the
Roman crowd is that it is fickle-minded, like most mobs are. They are as easily
influenced and convinced by Brutus as they are by Mark Antony. Brutus convinces
the common people that Caesar’s killing was justified in the interest of Romans but
Mark Antony plays upon the emotions of the very same crowd and makes it rise in
mutiny against Brutus, Cassius and company to avenge Caesar’s assassination. Mad
with anger, the mob causes widespread death and destruction. No wonder Mark
Antony can easily sway their feelings and views of such a fickle-minded lot.

2. What were the arguments put forward by Decius Brutus to convince Caesar to go
to the Capitol?
Decius Brutus argued that in the first place Calpurnia’s dream regarding Caesar’s
statue spouting blood where Romans wash their hands meant that Caesar would give
life energy to the Romans. They would enthusiastically get relics and mementoes from
him. Thus rather than being unlucky, it was a lucky dream and there was no need to
stay back at home by misinterpreting it. Secondly, the Senate had plans to crown
him as the king that day and if he didn’t go to the Capitol, they might change their
minds and he might miss such a golden opportunity to be the Roman king. The
arguments convinced Caesar and he decided to go to the Senate.

3. Write a short character sketch of Caesar.

Caesar is a great warrior and a formidable conqueror. As the play opens he is shown at
the height of the power and the most dominating character of the play. He is ambitious
and a man of vacillating nature. When Calpurnia appeals to him not to go out of the
house in view of the super-horrors that have been witnessed, he rejects her warning
and shows complete disregard for bad omens. However on her much insistence, he
agrees to stay at home. But when Decius comes and urges him to attend the meeting
at the Senate, he is taken in and promptly agrees. He changes his mind and says to
Calpurnia, “How foolish do your fears seem now, Calpurnia!” It can be also said that
under the influence of flattery (i.e.) the way Decius interpreted dream he gets ready to
go forth. Caesar is also presented as a haughty, boastful and arrogant person. His
remark, “I am constant as a northern star” marks the height of his arrogance.
Ironically, soon after when he utters these words the first blow is struck to him.
4. What dream did Calpurnia see? What were her fears? How was the dream
interpreted by Decius Brutus?
Calpurnia saw a horrible dream in which some people murdered her husband Caesar.
She fears that the dream foretells that some evil is going to befall Caesar. So she forbids
Caesar to go to the Senate. Decius Brutus interprets the dream as a fair and fortunate
vision. He says that the vision of Romans bathing in Caesar’s blood signifies that
Caesar’s spirit or influence will touch many Roman lives. Great men shall gather
around Caesar and stain their handkerchiefs in his blood which will serve as colors
added to a coat of arms, an object of reverence, mementoes and a badge of service.
Thus, he concludes that Calpurnia’s dream is very significant as it is going to bring
honors to her husband.

5. Write a short character sketch of Mark Antony.

Before Mark Antony emerges as an orator, a statesman, he is depicted as a man who is a
pleasure seeker. Antony betrays a complete lack of principles. He befools Brutus by
saying that he will follow the fortune if Brutus can give satisfactory reasons for Caesar’s
murder. Brutus takes the message at the face value. He then seeks Brutus’ permission
to address the mob, his real intention being to instigate the mob. He has a great love for
Caesar and shows an unflinching loyalty to him. He is overpowered by sorrow and grief
at the murder of Caesar and pledges to take revenge.

He proves himself to be a great orator. His funeral speech is a masterpiece of oratory. It

contains all the rhetorical devices that can be employed to win over an audience. By his
persuasive art, he succeeds in gaining his objective and convinces every member of the
mob of the innocence of Caesar and the brutality of the conspirators.