Monday, November 5, 2012

Julius Caesar – Act I

Scene I – Rome. A Street

Marullus and Flavius sent away two commoners who were taking a holiday and dressed to take part in rejoicing Julius Caesar’s triumph; for Caesar did not deserved the same treatment as what they had given Pompey, Caesar’s triumph was nothing compared to Pompey’s.

* One witty scene [Marullus & 2nd Commoner – a cobbler]:
Marullus:     “What trade, thou knave? Thou naughty knave, what trade?” 
Commoner: “Nay, I beseech you, sir, be not out with me; yet, if you be out, sir, I can mend you.” –l. 84 :)

* Here is the early sign of conspiracy….

Scene II – A Public Place

  • Caesar was preparing for his course with Mark Antony, while a Soothsayer warned him about the prophecy of the Ides of March, which Caesar instantly ignored as a nonsense (“He is a dreamer, let us leave him”.)
  • Cassius held Brutus out of the others, and began to approach him for conspire against Caesar, and to convince Brutus that people loved him. Brutus still hesitate, as he was a noble man who did not want to plunged in Rome’s politics :

If I be aught toward the general good,
Set honor in one eye and death i’ the other
And I will look on both indifferently.
For let the gods so speed me as I love
The name of honor more than I fear death” –l. 139

Brutus had rather be a villager,
Than to repute himself a son of Rome
Under these hard conditions as this time
Is like to lay upon us.” –l. 167

Mark Antony offers Caesar
the crown

* Cassius envied Caesar, was that his real reason for building the conspiracy?
“…and this man is now become a god, and Cassius is 
A wretched creature and must bend his body 
If Caesar carelessly but nod on him.” -l. 146

* Shakespeare used a metaphor ‘the falling sickness’ (meant for epilepsy, which Caesar did suffered from) for Rome’s condition at that time under Caesar’s tyranny.

Brutus:  “Tis very like. He hath the falling sickness.”
Cassius: “No, Caesar hath it not, but you, and I,
                  And honest Casca, we have the falling sickness.”

* Cassius seemed to be not really sure yet whether Cicero was in their side or not. On the event of Mark Antony “pretended” to offer Caesar the crown and Caesar “pretended” to refuse, Cassius asked Casca:
Cassius: “Did Cicero say anything?”
Casca:    “Ay, he spoke Greek.”
Cassius: “To what effect?

Why else was Cassius so interested in Cicero’s comment in particular?

Scene III – A Street. Thunder & Lightning

  • Great thunder and lightning 'swayed' Rome, and Casca reported to Cicero several preternatural things in the city, which he was sure to be signs of something terrible to happen.
  • Cassius was approaching Casca for the conspiracy too, and Casca joined him.
  • Cassius sent Cinna (already in the group of conspiracy) to sent several letters to Brutus as if they were from people who could no longer resist Caesar’s tyranny.

As usual, Cicero did not believe in any sign of superstitious.

"Indeed, it is a strange-disposed time.
But men may construe things after their fashion,
Clean from the purpose of the things themselves."

Cassius criticized Romans who got weaker so Caesar can became a tyrant.

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