Julius Caesar midterm

The flashcards below were created by user Sbjohnson on FreezingBlue Flashcards.

  1. Calpurnia character summary
    The wife of Caesar, she begs her husband not to go to the Senate on "the ides of March" (March 15) when she cries out "'Help, ho! They murder Caesar!'" three times in her sleep, the day before Caesar's death. This and strange occurrences such as a lioness whelping in the streets of Rome,"Fierce fiery warriors" fighting in the clouds (Act II, Scene II, Lines 12-24) and graves yawning and yielding up their dead, convince Calphurnia that her husband Julius Caesar, must stay home on the "ides of March" (the fifteenth of March). Unfortunately just as Calphurnia convinces Caesar to stay home and avoid the death that awaits him, Decius Brutus (not to be confused with Brutus), arrives at Caesar's home convincing him that these images mean that Rome will be revived by Caesar's presence at the Senate the following day. Caesar ignores his wife's pleas and meets his bloody destiny at the hands of Brutus and company the very next day.
  2. Portia character summary
    The wife of Marcus Brutus, she tries to learn from Brutus the assassination conspiracy he is hiding from her. She is later assumed to have committed suicide at the end of the play when her death is reported as being under strange circumstances...
  3. Brutus (Marcus Brutus) character summary
    The most complex character in this play, Brutus is one of the men who assassinate Caesar in the Senate. Brutus is complex, because he does not kill Caesar for greed, envy nor to preserve his social position like so many of the other conspirators against Caesar. This Brutus makes very clear in his speech in Act III, Scene II (Lines 12-76), when he explains his actions as being for the good of Rome.

    Unlike the other conspirators, Brutus is in fact a dear friend of Caesar's but kills his beloved friend not for who he is, but what he could become as a King. It is for this reason that when Brutus dies by suicide in Act V, Mark Antony describes his bitter enemy by saying "This [Brutus] was the noblest Roman of them all;" (Act V, Scene V, Line 68). Mark Antony recognizes with these words that Brutus acted from a sense of civic duty, not malice, nor greed nor envy.

    In academic circles, Brutus is still a source of much heated debate; does assassinating a leader for the good of the people constitute bravery worthy of a tragic hero or can the end never justify the means? The controversy on whether Brutus is tragic hero or villain still rages...

    Ironically, though it can be argued that Brutus assassinated his friend to prevent one man ruling the Roman Empire, history was later to make this a reality. Octavius, one of the Triumvirs who defeated Brutus and Cassius, was later to become a Roman Emperor ruling the entire Roman Empire alone following his victory over Cleopatra and Mark Antony.
  4. Julius Caesar character summary
    The victorious leader of Rome, it is the fear that he may become King and revoke the privileges of men like Cassius that leads to his death at the hands of Cassius, Brutus and their fellow conspirators.

    The threat that Caesar was moving away from the ideals of the Roman republic towards an Empire ruled directly by himself is the chief reason so many senators, aristocrats and even Caesar's friend Brutus, conspired to kill him.

    Introduced early in the play as a great (and arguably arrogant) leader who fears nothing, Caesar is warned by Artemidorus, The Soothsayer and wife (Calphurnia) alike not to go to the Senate on the "ides of March" the very day he is assassinated.

    Caesar later returns in the play as a ghost which haunts Brutus in Act V. Easily flattered by Decius Brutus (not to be confused with Brutus), Caesar appears to us as a man almost guided not so much by his own will but what he believes are the expectations his people have of "Caesar." This is why he is reluctant to show fear, Caesar, as he frequently refers to himself in the third person, fears nothing and can show no sign of weakness or indeed mortality...

    Note: The "ides of March" is the fifteenth of March (See Act II, Scene I, Line 58).
  5. Antony (Marcus Antonius) character summary
    One of the Triumvirs (leaders) who rule Rome following Caesar's assassination. Mark Antony (Marcus Antonius) is famous in this play for his speech, which turns the Romans against Brutus following his group's assassination of Caesar. Famous for the immortal lines "Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;" (Act III, Scene II, Line 79), Mark Antony with fellow Triumvirs, Octavius and Lepidus later defeat Brutus and Cassius on the Plains of Philippi in Act V.
  6. Cassius character summary
    One of the original conspirators against Caesar. Like the other conspirators he fears what life under King Caesar's rule could mean for him and the privileges he has.

    Unlike the other conspirators however, Cassius plays a leading role in Caesar's assassination. It is he who gathers those against Caesar around him and it is Cassius who carefully manipulates Brutus to their cause by appealing to Brutus' sense of civic duty which believes that Caesar as a King would be bad for the people of Rome and by Cassius' clever use of forged letters.

    The great thinker of the conspiracy, his advice is continually overruled by Brutus with tragic results for the conspirators.

    First, his advice to kill Mark Antony as well as Caesar is ignored leading to Mark Antony becoming their greatest enemy.

    Later at Caesar's funeral, Cassius' advice that Mark Antony should not speak at the funeral is also ignored leading to Antony turning the masses against the previously popular conspirators.

    Finally in Act V, Brutus ignores Cassius' advise to stay on high ground, leading to a battle in the plains of Philippi, a battle favored by Mark Antony and Octavius, their enemies. Like Brutus, he dies by suicide in Act V, when fearing Brutus dead, he commits suicide.
  7. Casca character summary
    One of the conspirators against Caesar, he starts the actual assassination of Caesar by stabbing first from behind.
  8. Cinna character summary
    A conspirator against Caesar, who plays a key role in enlisting Brutus to their cause. It is Cinna who suggests to Cassius that Brutus join their conspiracy. Also assists Cassius' manipulation of Brutus by placing Cassius' letters responsible for manipulating Brutus where Brutus is sure to find and read them... Indirectly responsible for Cinna, the poet's death; since it is he the mob originally wished to kill...
  9. Decius (Decius Brutus) character summary
    A man who lures Caesar to his death by his deep understanding of Caesar's true vanity...

    Not to be confused with Marcus Brutus, who is referred to in Julius Caesar simply as as Brutus. It is Decius Brutus who convinces Caesar to turn up to the Senate on the "ides of March" after Caesar announces that he is unwilling to attend the day's Senate because of his wife Calphurnia's dream foretelling doom. Decius Brutus turns Calphurnia's dream into a reason to attend the Senate by cleverly reinterpreting its negative imagery to instead symbolize Caesar's triumph.
  10. Soothsayer character summary
    This is the guy who famously and cryptically warns Caesar to "beware the Ides of March" (1.2.3). The "Ides of March" refers to March 15, the day Julius Caesar is assassinated by the Roman conspirators. Even though he gets to speak the coolest line in the play, nobody pays any attention to the soothsayer (except the audience, who knows all about how the historical Julius Caesar was stabbed in the back that day).

    The soothsayer's warning raises an interesting question about fate and free will. If Caesar had actually heeded the warning to "beware the Ides of March," could he have changed the course of events that day? On the one hand, the soothsayer's warning about his impending doom (along with all the other creepy omens in the play) suggests that Caesar's fate is already decided. On the other hand, why would the soothsayer bother warning Caesar if there was nothing he could do to prevent his death?
  11. "Cry Havoc! and let slip the dogs of war."
    Antony - Thinking of revenge contemplating Caesar's corpse
  12. "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars but in ourselves that we are underlings."
    Cassius - Trying to convince Brutus to kill Caesar
  13. "There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune."
    Brutus, talking about fighting at Phillipi
  14. "Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valliant never taste of death but once."
    Caesar - dismissing Calpurnia's fears
  15. "Let me have men about me that are fat, Sleek-headed-men, and such as sleep o'nights; Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; he thinks too much; such men are dangerous."
    Caesar - speaking to Marc Anthony
  16. "Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears! I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him."
    Anthony's eulogy of Caesar
  17. "Not that I lov'd Caesar less, but that I lov'd Rome more."
    Brutus - trying to explain to the angry men why he assassinated Caesar
  18. "Mischief, thou art afoot, Take thou what course thou wilt."
    Marc Antony
  19. "Thou art the ruins of the noblest man, That ever lived in the tide of times. Woe to the hand that shed this costly blood!"
    Marc Antony
  20. "Et tu, Brute? Then fall Caesar!"
    Julius Caesar
  21. I shall remember, When Caesar says, "Do this", it is performed."
  22. "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."
  23. "This was the most unkindest cut of all; For when the noble Caesar saw him stab, Ingratitude, more strong than traitors' arms, Quite vanquished him."
  24. "I know where I will wear this dagger then; Cassius from bondage will deliver Cassius."
  25. "...I do fear the people choose Caesar for their King."
  26. "The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones."
  27. "Even for that our love old, I prithee Hold thou my sword-hilts whilst I run on it."
  28. "He was my friend, faithful and just to me. But Brutus says he was ambitious; And Brutus is an honorable man."
  29. "Men at some time are masters of their fates. The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings."
  30. "Let's carve him as a dish fit for the gods, Not hew him as a carcass fit for hounds."
    Brutus speaking of Caesar
  31. And therefore think him as a serpent's egg, Which, hatched, would as his kind grow mischievous, And kill him in the shell."
  32. "I am not gamesome. I do lack some part Of that quick spirit that is in Antony. Let me not hinder, Cassius, your desires. I'll leave you."
  33. "Cassius, Be not deceived. If I have veiled my look, I turn the trouble of my countenance Merely upon myself."
  34. "Let each men lend me his bloody hand. First, Marcus Brutus, will I shake with you..."
  35. "Let us kill him boldly, but not wrathfully...We shall be called purgers, not murderers."
  36. "...take this paper/And look you lay it in praetor's chair/Where Brutus may but find it."
  37. "Into what dangers would you lead me.../That you would have me seek into myself/For that which is not in me?"
  38. "Let us bathe our hands in Caesar's blood/Up to the elbows, and besmear our swords/Then walk we forth, even to the market place."
  39. "I have made strong proof of my constancy/Giving myself a voluntary wound."
  40. "Thy evil spirit, Brutus."
    Caesar's ghost
  41. Exposition of Julius Caesar
    Caesar's victory over Pompey
  42. Rising Action of Julius Caesar
    Brutus' involvement in the conspiracy
  43. Climax of Julius Caesar
    Antony's speech at Caesar's funeral. The appearance of Caesar's ghost.
  44. Falling Action of Julius Caesar
    When Brutus realizes he was wrong for killing Caesar. When Brutus and Cassius are defeated, they both realize their fortune has changed.
  45. Resolution of Julius Caesar
    Brutus' death - puts Caesar to rest
Card Set
Julius Caesar midterm
Julius Caesar midterm
Show Answers