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Wednesday, 5 November 2008

JULIUS CAESAR

Extract 1: Calphurnia Alas my lord, …………………………… …………………………… Here’s Decius Brutus, he shall tell them so. (i) State two reasons offered by Calphurnia for wanting Caesar to stay at home. Ans: Calpunrnia wanted Caesar to stay at home and not go to the Senate meeting. She had had a very bad dream the previous night, in which she saw Caesar’s statue spouting a hundred spouts of blood and many distinguished Romans bathing their hands in it, and smiling while doing so. Another reason she gives is that the sentinels had reported terrifying omens the previous night during the storm seen by an eye-witness. Both these examples fill her with a fear that Caesar’s life is in danger, therefore, she wants him to stay at home. (ii) Bring out three arguments Decius puts forward to make Caesar change his mind. Ans: Decius made Caesar change his mind with clever arguments. He gave a flattering interpretation of the dream. He said that Caesar’s statue spouting fountains of blood and Romans bathing their hands in it signified that great Rome would get their nourishment from Caesar and great men would gather round Caesar for some memento of Caesar. Secondly, Decius said that the Senate wanted to give him a crown that day. If he did not go, they might change their minds. Thirdly, he said that they would think that he was afraid and a coward. On hearing these arguments, Caesar changes his mind and decides to go to the Senate House. (iii) Explain clearly in your own words the meaning of “your wisdom is consumed in confidence”. Was Calphurnia correct in her judgment of her husband? Ans: The line “Your wisdom is consum’d in confidence” means that Caesar’s overconfidence (confidence) has destroyed (consumed) his wisdom and has made him unwise. She is referring to Caesar’s boldness in going to the Senate meeting when there were so many signs warning him not to go. Caesar personifies danger and says that he is more dangerous than danger and he would go forth. Yes, Calpurnia was correct in the judgement of her husband as Caesar foolishly falls into the trap of Decius. When the conspirators come to fetch him to the Senate House, he does not suspect their motives. Caesar’s changing of decisions shows that he has become very careless of his personal safely. A little later he is killed. Extract 2: Decius: Most mighty Caesar, let me know some cause, …………………………… …………………………… Caesar: The cause is my will. I will not come. …………………………… …………………………… She dreamt to-night… (i) What did Calphurnia dream? How did she interpret her dream? How does Decius interpret her dream? Ans: Calpurnia dreamt that she saw Caesar’s statue spouting fountains of blood and many Romans were bathing their hands in it with joy. According to her, her dream was a sign of imminent and grave danger to Caesar. Decius interpreted the dream in a completely different manner. He gave a flattering interpretation of the dream saying “It was a vision fair and fortunate.” He said that Caesar’s statue spouting fountains of blood and Romans bathing their hands in it signified that great Rome will get her blood rejuvenated with his and that Caesar will revive the Roman Empire. Great men would gather round Caesar for some memento of Caesar. (ii) What other reasons did Calphurnia state for not wanting Caesar to go to the Senate? Ans: Calpurnia gave other reasons for not wanting Caesar to go to the Senate. In addition to what omens they had seen and heard, a person in the house had been relating some terrible scenes which the sentinels had seen. They reported that a lioness had whelped in the streets; the dead had come out of their yawning graves. Up in the clouds fierce fiery warriors in ranks and squadrons fought while their blood fell steadily down upon the Capitol. The air was filled with the clash of arms, the neighing of horses and the moans of dying men, while ghosts shrieked and squealed in the streets. When Caesar said that the portents did not concern only him but other people as well, she said that comets were seen in the heavens. There was a belief that when a great person was about to be born or about to die, comets would streak across the sky. “When beggars die there are no comets seen; The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes,” (iii) What other statements did Decius make to convince Caesar that he should attend the Senate? How is it that Decius has come on the scene at the time? Ans: Decius gave three more reasons to convince Caesar that he should attend the Senate. He said the Senate wanted to give him a crown that day. If Caesar did not go, they might change their minds. Secondly, he said they would think he was afraid and a coward. Thirdly, he said that someone in the Senate may crack a joke and say, “Break up the Senate till another time, When Caesar’s wife meet with better dreams.” On hearing these reasons, Caesar changes his mind and decides to go to the Senate House. One the previous night, in Brutus’ orchard, when the conspirators had their meeting, Cassius remarked that he was not sure whether Caesar would attend the Senate meeting the next morning as he had become superstitious and his augurers would advise him not to go. At this moment, Decius offers to bring Caesar to the meeting by flattering him. Decius, being an intimate friend of Caesar, felt very confident that he would persuade Caesar to attend the meeting. That is why Decius has come ahead of the others to Caesar’s house to make sure that he would come. Extract 3: Decius: If you shall send them word you will not come, ………………………………………………… Caesar: How foolish do your fears seem now, Calphurnia! ………………………………………………… Give me my robe, for I will go. (i) When a similar thing was already offered and what was the reaction of Caesar at that time? Ans: A crown of laurel leaves was offered to him thrice on the fifteenth of February, 44 B.C., the day of the Lupercal Festival, by Antony. Caesar was very eager to take the crown but to show the mob that he was not ambitious, he refused it thrice, each time more reluctantly than before. (ii) Briefly relate Calphurnia’s dream. How did she interpreted it? What interpretation had Decius offered? What was his motive? Did he succeed in his aim? Ans: Calphurnia’s dream – See No. 17(ii) From – Calpurnia dreamt – memento of Caesar. Decius’ motive was to make sure that Caesar came to the Senate Meeting where they were going to kill him. Yes, he succeeded in his aim as Caesar changed his mind after listening to his flattering interpretation of the dream and three other reasons that he put forward, and decided to go to the Senate House. Extract 4: Brutus: You wronged yourself to write in such a case. Cassius: In such a time as this it is not meet …………………………………………… Brutus: Let me tell you, Cassius, you yourself…. (i) Where are Brutus and Cassius at this time? Relate briefly what charge Brutus lays against Cassius later? Ans: At this time, Brutus and Cassius are in Brutus’ tent at Sardis in Asia Minor. Later, Brutus accuses Cassius of corruption. He deserved to be condemned for accepting bribes in order to appoint incompetent men in positions of responsibility. To quote: Brutus: “Let me tell you, Cassius, you yourself Are much condemn’d to have an itching palm; To sell and mart your offices for gold To undeservers.” (ii) What had Cassius just complained about to make Brutus say “You wronged yourself”? Explain the meaning of Brutus’s words. Ans: Cassius complained to Brutus that in spite of his letters to him requesting him not to punish Lucius Pella for taking bribes from the Sardians, knowing him to be an honourable man, Brutus ignored them and punished and disgraced Lucius Pella. Brutus’ words mean that Cassius acted in a manner unworthy of himself to have made such a request. He had lowered his own prestige by defending a wrong-doer like Lucius Pella. (iii) What did Brutus accuse Cassius of when be says “Let me tell you …”? How did Cassius react to this? Ans: When Brutus says, “let me tell you….”, he accused Cassius of having “an itching palm” and of selling and trading positions of responsibility in return for gold, to incompetent men. (iv) In the argument which continues between these two, Brutus accuses Cassius of other faults. Point out two of these faults, and say how Cassius reacted to these accusations. Do you think Brutus was being fair to Cassius? Ans: When Brutus accuses Cassius of appointing incompetent officers, Cassius defends himself by saying he is a soldier of longer experience and so he was more capable of deciding about appointments than Brutus was. Now Brutus accuses him of a false statement by saying that he wants Cassius to prove that he is a “better” soldier. Cassius replies that he did not say he was “better” than Brutus but that he had longer experience in war. When Brutus gives an indifferent reply. Cassius says that even Caesar, when he was alive would not have dared to provoke him like this. Brutus “You say, you are a better soldier; Let it appear so; make your vaunting true, I shall be glad to learn of noble men.” Cassius “You wrong me in every way; you wrong me, Brutus; I said, an elder soldier, not a better: Did I say, better” Again, Brutus accuses Cassius of refusing to send him a sum of money he had asked him for, since Brutus could not obtain money by corrupt means. He had wanted the money to pay his troops, yet Cassius refused to give it. Brutus, would never have done that to Cassius, if he had asked Brutus for money. Cassius replies that he did not refuse to send Brutus the money, but the stupid messenger who took his message to Brutus must have misconstrued it. Brutus: “I did send to you For certain sums of gold which you denied me. Cassius: I denied you not. Brutus: You did. Cassius: I did not; he was but a fool That brought my answer back……” Cassius breaks down in despair regretting the rift in their relationship. Since he is “hated by one he loves” he does not wish to live anymore. Cassius now offers Brutus his dagger in a dramatic gesture so that he may kill him. Brutus was not being fair to Cassius, as Cassius rightly said that during was time, these offences should be overlooked. On the other hand, we come to know later, that Brutus was undergoing a very great tension as he had recently received the news that his dear wife, Portia had committed suicide as she was grieving over her husband’s absence, and because Octavius had collected a huge army to fight against him. Brutus was also disillusioned to find that his colleagues were insincere and Cassius was corrupt, therefore he lost his usual calm and burst into anger. Extract 5: Cassius: You know that you are Brutus that speaks this, ………………………………………………………… Brutus: The name of Cassius honours this corruption, ………………………………………………………… (i) Later in the scene how does Brutus accuse Cassius further? How does Cassius reply to this? Ans: Later, in the scene, Brutus accuses Cassius further. Brutus reminds Cassius that they killed the greatest man in the Empire. Julius Caesar, for the sake of justice. He laments that it is very demeaning to them if they barter their dignity as leaders of Rome for a handful of gold. Cassius threatens Brutus by telling him not to provoke him, for he will not tolerate it any longer. Brutus has no right to correct him or reprove him. He fiercely contends that he is a soldier of longer experience and therefore more competent to decide about appointments than Brutus, during war. Brutus, equally fiercely replies that Cassius is not what be claims to be, that is, a more experienced soldier and more able “to make conditions”,. Cassius, full of fury, advises Brutus not to aggravate him any more for he will not be able to control himself and may harm him. Brutus orders Cassius to get out of here calling him “slight man”, a worthless man, Cassius is shocked and amazed and cannot believe that Brutus is insulting him so. Again Brutus questions him whether he should tremble before him and adds that his futile anger can glance of a lunatic, that is, Cassius’. Cassius is enraged yet further and he wants to know whether he has to endure such insults. Brutus utters with scorn that Cassius can vent his anger on his slaves and make them tremble with fear. In a cold, supercilious tone, Brutus concludes that he will look upon Cassius as a source of laughter and an object of ridicule, when he shows signs of irritability. Cassius is so stunned by Brutus’ reproaches and taunts that he simply asks whether it has come to such a stage that Brutus treats him so lightly, “Is it come to this?” Again, Brutus ridicules his boast that he is a better soldier and challenges Cassius to prove it is true. Cassius complains Brutus is unfair to him. He denies that he had claimed he is “a better soldier”. He points that he had merely said that longer experience in was than Brutus has. Brutus flings aside this correction with words of contempt, “If you did, I care not.” Cassius declares that even Caesar when he was alive, would not have dared to insult him and arouse his anger as Brutus has done. Brutus retorts by telling him that he would never have dared to provoke him Cassius is almost hysterical with rage at this accusation and warns him that he should not rely too much upon of his friendship for Brutus or he may do Brutus some injury, which hasty action will regretted by Cassius afterwards. Brutus coldly remarks that he ought to regret the deeds he has already done. Cassius would not he able to frighten Brutus by his threats since his own honourable principles protect him from them. Then Brutus charges Cassius further that he refused to send him a sum of money he had asked for, as Brutus is unable to obtain it by corrupt means. He wants funds to pay his troops. Cassius protests that he has not refused to send the money. He has never sent such a message, but the stupid messenger must have misconstrued it. He feels that a friend should put up with his friend’s weaknesses but Brutus makes them appear greater than they really are. Brutus asserts that, on the contrary, he overlooked them entirely, till Cassius used them against Brutus so as to trick him, and make him a victim of Cassius’ faults. Cassius cries out with emotion that Brutus does not appear to love him, Brutus remarks that he loves him but not his faults. Only a flatterer will overlook them. Cassius is now full of despair and dramatically offers his dagger to Brutus so that be may kill him. Brutus is moved by this gesture and thus the friends begin to be reconciled. Extract 6: Brutus: What do you think Of marching to Philippi? Cassius: I do not think it good. …………………………………… Brutus: Good reasons must, of force, give to better. (i) Where does Cassius want to fight the battle? Is his argument correct in connection with what happens later? Ans: Cassius wants to fight the battle in Sardis. Yes, his argument is correct in connection with what happens later. Later, at Philippi, Cassius was given the wrong information about Titinius by Pindarus and he commits suicide. When Titinius finds him dead, he too commits suicide. When the battle started, Brutus gave the word to attack Antony too early. Antony defeated Cassius. His soldiers started deserting the army, Brutus, on the other hand, was victorious against Octavius. His soldiers started plundering Octavius’ tents instead of going to help Cassius. All this confusion took place because the plains of Philippi being next to the sea were too narrow to accommodate the whole army. Brutus had a very large army and he could have won the war. If they had stayed at Sardis, Brutus and Cassius would not have to divide into two wings, but would be united as one large army on the battlefield of Sardis. So Cassius was right and they could have won the war. (ii) What two “better” reasons does Brutus go on to give, to persuade Cassius to change his mind? Ans: Brutus wrongly argues that the people between Philippi and Sardis were unwilling to follow them, neither was they willing to give them contributions. They would join the enemy if they passed through their country and strengthen their numbers. Thus the enemy would come to them with greater numbers and vigour. Another argument that Brutus gives is that they are like a merchant ship setting sail. If the ship takes advantage of the high tide and launches out to sea, it will have a successful voyage in its business venture leading to prosperity, if it did not do so, then the boat would run aground in shallow water and would lose everything, leading to poverty. In the same manner, in human affairs, they should take advantage of the favourable chance which would lead to success and prosperity or else they would be buffeted by miseries and loss forever. To quote: “There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; Omitted, all the voyage of their life Is bound in shallows and in miseries On such a full sea are we now afloat; And we must take the current when it serves, Or lose our ventures.” (iii) Why is Cassius willing on this occasion, against his better judgement, to give in to Brutus’ suggestion of marching to Philippi? Ans: Cassius is willing on this occasion, against his better judgement, to give in to Brutus’ suggestion of marching to Philippi for these reasons: Firstly, they had just had a furious quarrel and are now reconciled. Cassius does not want to have another quarrel. Secondly, Brutus tells him of Portia’s death and that was the real reason for his rudeness to Cassius, Cassius is deeply moved and does not want to upset Brutus in his state of grief. Thirdly, Brutus is the leader of the Republican Party, and Cassius obeys the leader though he knows that Brutus does not have the experience and practical foresight that he himself has. (iv) What does “presently” mean? How does Antony later account to Octavius for the enemy’s marching the Philippi? Ans: “Presently” means “immediately”. Later, just before the battle of Philippi is about to begin, Octavius tells Antony that he was wrong. Antony had thought that Cassius would make the military decisions and that he would not come to the plains of Philippi. Antony explains to Octavius that the enemy is marching to Philippi just to put on a gallant show that they are brave and to confuse them. They want to impress the Caesarian army with their courage which really, they do not possess. They would much rather be somewhere else. To quote: “ ………………………They could be content To visit other places; and come down With fearful bravery, thinking by this face To fasten in our thoughts that they have courage; But ‘tis not so.” (v) Give a brief comment on the force which seemed to dominate the actions of Brutus and Cassius at the end of the play. Ans: The force that seems to dominate the actions of Brutus and Cassius at the end of the play is the force of the dead Caesar. When Caesar was dead, “the spirit of Caesar” which Brutus tried to destroy, was all-powerful. The prophecy they Antony made of “Blood and destruction” over the dead body of Caesar is fulfilled. When the conspirators quarreled, Caesar was in their mind. Their words then were also in reference to Caesar. When Caesar’s ghost appeared to Brutus twice, the final movement of the action starts. Their cause is doomed as the supernatural power has authority over them. Cassius dies with Caesar’s name upon his lips. When Brutus sees Cassius and Titinius dead, he blames Caesar’s spirit for this incident. He says: “O Julius Caesar, thou art might yet, Thy spirit walks abroad, and turns our swords In our own proper entrails.” Later, in another part of the field, Brutus requests his friends to kill him. The appearance of the ghost serves as a supernatural prediction to Brutus that his end is about tome. He tells Volumnius, “I know my hour is come.” When he dies be admonishes the spirit of Caesar and tells it to be still. “Caesar, now be still I kill’d not thee with half so good a will.” The whole play teaches us that the spirit is greater than matter. Extract 7: “Wherefore rejoice? What conquest brings he home? ……………………………………………………… ……………………………………………………… To see great Pompey pass the streets of Rome;” (i) Who speaks these words? From which place in Rome is he speaking? Ans: Marullus, a tribune, speaks these words. He is speaking from a street in Rome. (ii) Who is accused of rejoicing in the extract? How does the speaker conclude that they are rejoicing? Ans: In the extract, the cobbler, with other commoners, is accused of rejoicing. Same as no. 47 ii. The people are ……….. triumph. This makes the speaker conclude that they are rejoicing. (iii) What does the speaker ask the “accused of rejoicing” to do for their ingratitude? Ans: To atone for their ingratitude Marullus told the people to run home, to fall upon their knees, and pray to the gods to put off (intermit) the plague, a punishment which would certainly fall upon them for their ingratitude towards Pompey’s memory. Flavius adds to his remarks by telling the people to collect all the others of their class and go to the banks of the river Tiber. He tells them to weep there till their sad tears fill the stream and raise the level) of the waters to such a height that it reaches the highest bank of all. (iv) Give the meaning of the following: “ What tributaries follow him to Rome. To grace in captive bounds his chariot-wheels?” Ans: Marullus is telling the people that by winning a victory over the sons of Pompey, Caesar is not bringing any foreign captive princes, payers of tribute, to adorn his triumphal march by being tied in chains to the wheels of his chariot. (This was the custom in triumphal entries). (v) What had the “people accused of rejoicing” done when Pompey passed through the streets of Rome? Ans: The people used to climb up to the walls and battlements, windows and even chimney – tops with infants in their arms. They sat there the whole day in great patience hoping to get a glimpse of Pompey as he passed the streets of Rome. And no sooner did they see his chariot appear on the scene, than they let out such a ringing cheer that the river Tiber trembled as the echo rolled through her hollow banks. (vi) What does Flavius ask, later, the “people accused of rejoicing” to do for their fault of rejoicing at Caesar’s victory? Ans: Flavius adds to his remarks by telling the people to collect all the others of their class and go to the banks of the river Tiber. He tells them to weep there till their sad tears fill the stream and raise the level) of the waters to such a height that it reaches the highest bank of all. (vii) What did Flavius ask the speaker to do after the latter went towards the Capitol? Ans: Flavius tells Marullus to strip Caesar’s statues of their decorations, if he finds them adorned with any. He also tells him to drive away the people from the streets wherever he sees them gathered in large numbers. (viii) Why did the speaker hesitate in carrying out the direction given by Flavius? Ans: The speaker, Marullus, hesitated in carrying out the direction given by Flavius, to disrobe the images of Caesar since the feast of Lupercal is to be celebrated the same day, and they will be considered impious if they do so. Also, that year, Caesar was appointed President of the Lupercal festivities. Extract 8: Caesar: She dreamt to-night she saw my statue, ………………………………………………… ………………………………………………… It was a vision fair and fortunate. (i) Where are Caesar and Decius at this time? Who else was present? Ans: At this time, Caesar and Decius are in Caesar’s house in Rome. Calpurnia, Caesar’s wife was also present. (ii) What had Decius said earlier in the play to the conspirators regarding Caesar’s superstitious nature and his ability to o’ersway him? Ans: The night before, when Decius and the other conspirators were in Brutus’s garden, Cassius said that the terror of that stormy night coupled with the predictions of his augurers may so influence Caesar that he will decide not to attend the Senate Meeting the next morning, the ides of March, as he has become very superstitious. Then Decius assures him not to have any fear about that as he can overrule Caesar’s decision as he is very friendly with him. He said that he would tell Caesar that unicorns are deceived by trees, bears with glasses, elephants with big concealed holes in the ground and men are deceived by flatterers, but not Caesar who hates flattery. When Caesar would hear this, he would be all the more flattered. Decius told them he would thus lure Caesar to the Capitol by playing upon his weakness for flattery. (iii) What interpretation does Caesar say ‘she’ gave to her dream? State three ‘sights’ that ‘she’ had before Decius’ arrival. Ans: Caesar says that Calpurnia interprets her dream as an indication of imminent grave danger to Caesar’s life, and on bended knees, she has persuaded him to stay at home. Before Decius’ arrival, she spoke of the most horrid sights seen the previous night. A lioness whelped in the streets. Up in the clouds fierce fiery warriors in ranks and squadrons fought while their blood fell steadily down upon the Capitol. The air was filled with the clash of arms, the neighing of horses and the moans of dying men. Comets were seen in the heavens a sign that a great person was about to die. (iv) How does Decius go on to show that the dream ‘was a vision fair and fortunate? What else does he say to change Caesar’s mind? Ans: Decius interpreted the dream in a completely different manner. He gave a flattering interpretation of the dream saying “It was a vision fair and fortunate.” He said that Caesar’s statue spouting fountains of blood and Romans bathing their hands in it signified that great Rome will get her blood rejuvenated with his and that Caesar will revive the Roman Empire. Great men would gather round Caesar for some memento of Caesar. Decius gave three more reasons to convince Caesar that he should attend the Senate. He said the Senate wanted to give him a crown that day. If Caesar did not go, they might change their minds. Secondly, he said they would think he was afraid and a coward. Thirdly, he said that someone in the Senate may crack a joke and say, “Break up the Senate till another time, When Caesar’s wife meet with better dreams.” On hearing these reasons, Caesar changes his mind and decides to go to the Senate House. (v) Briefly refer to what (a) Marks Antony and (b) Brutus say shortly afterwards, and in what circumstances, to prove that the dream was prophetic. Ans:(a) After Caesar is assassinated Mark Antony comes to meet Brutus and the conspirators. He tells them if they consider him dangerous, they should get rid of him now when the blood of Caesar is still hot and steaming on their hands. When Brutus assures him that they have no intention of doing so, Antony shakes hands with each of them. Then he turns to the dead Caesar and tells him to forgive him. He says at this place, he was cornered by his enemies, a deer chased by hunters, and here he fell. Here the hunters who killed him are standing bearing on their hands the stains of his blood that flowed from him as a sign of victory. (b) Soon after Caesar is assassinated, Brutus tells all the conspirators to bend down and wash their hands in the blood of Caesar up to their elbows and redden their swords with his blood. After this they should go to the market-place and wave their blood-stained swords shouting, ‘Peace, liberty, freedom!’ The above examples prove that Calphurnia’s dream was prophetic.

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