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114. 'Tis strucken eight : Compare “stricken three” (ii, 1, 192). 116. O' nights : The Folio reads “ a-nights." See on i, 2, 193. 118. So to most noble Antony : What is this so? 121. Hour's: here a dissyllable.
126. Taste some wine with me: “It is acknowledged, even by his enemies, that in regard to wine Cæsar was abstemious. A remark is ascribed to Marcus Cato that `Cæsar was the only sober man amongst all those who were engaged in the design to subvert the government.' - Suetonius, Julius Cæsar, liii. Of course, Froude makes much of this commendation.
The Folio simply reads Enter Artemidorus, without any indication of a new scene. 6-8. Look about you
gods defend thee : ACcount, if possible, for the change of number in the pronoun.
8. Thy lover : For this use of lover, see on iii, 2, 13.
12. Emulation : jealous or factious rivalry. Compare Troilus and Cressida (i, 3, 133): “An envious fever Of pale and bloodless emulation."
14. Contrive : plot, conspire.
The Folio, of course, merely reads Enter Portia and Lucius. This scene is one of the most charming in the play, though it perhaps does little to develop the main stream of action. The wifely fears and imaginings, and the rambling talk of Portia-whom Brutus seems, somehow, to have told of the “action toward”—are well contrasted with the matter-of-fact replies of our little friend Lucius ; replies which show a straightforwardness of expression somewhat at variance with the method of the boy's speeches earlier in the act.
6. Constancy : It will be remembered that Brutus advises (ii, 1, 227) the conspirators to “bear it
with untir'd spirits and formal constancy."
14. For he went sickly forth : a hint of Elizabethan grandiloquence.
18. Rumour: as frequently, in its Latin sense, of bruit or noise.
20. Sooth : a frequent use in Shakspere. The Anglo-Saxon adjective so8, true, seems later to have been used as à noun, meaning truth. The word is here used adverbially ; sometimes we find the
expressions “in sooth” or “in good sooth.” Compare the noun sooth-sayer.
27. Thou hast some suit to Cæsar : Compare in Much Ado about Nothing (ii, 1, 210) : The Lady Beatrice hath quarrel to you.”
37. A place more void: a place more open (as opposed to the idea in “Here the street is narrow”); or a place less crowded (compare “ The throng that follows him at heels ").
42. Brutus hath a suit, etc.: evidently an explanation of her conduct, addressed to the boy.
1. What sort of garden do you imagine Shakspere conceived this of Brutus' to have been–English or Roman ? 2. Can you picture it as Roman, from your knowledge of ancient Rome ? 3. Do you notice anything at variance with your idea of the character of Bru. tus in the soliloquy at the beginning of the act ? 4. What is Brutus' attitude toward the boy Lucius? 5. What suggestion as to the natural feelings of Brutus do you receive from his treatment of this servant ? 6. What expectation do you have, up to the time of the entrance of Cassius and the other conspirators, of Brutus' ultimate decision concerning the conspiracy? Why? 7. What simple, natural touches do you find in the talk immediately after “the faction” enter? 8. Do these touches heighten the dramatic effect of the scene ? 9. Can you justify the high moral stand of Brutus as regards the question of killing Antony ? 10. Why do you suppose the other conspirators yield so readily to his opinions ? 11. Can you find grounds in his speech and action for the esteem in which they hold him ? 12. Does the entire scene of the midnight meeting seem to you dramatic and interesting ? Why? 13. Does the scene between Brutus and Portia, the only important scene for a woman in the play, make you feel that a greater feminine interest would increase your liking for the story, or does the story absolutely satisfy you as Shakspere has written it ? Why ? 14. Does Portia give to you any notion of what the noble Roman lady may have been ? 15. What heroic elements can you find in her character ? 16. How does the scene between Brutus and Portia impress you ? Why ?
17. Does the second scene of the play, up to the entrance of Decius Brutus, give you anything you had not learned from the third scene of the first act ? 18. What new ideas do you get of the char, acter of Cæsar ? 19. Does he seem to you to be the Cæsar you had imagined from what you have read of him elsewhere? 20. Can you give the reason for his vacillation ? 21. Is Calpurnia a stronger or a weaker woman than Portia? 22. Which seems to you the more lovable of the two matrons ? 23. Does the conduct of Decius Brutus in this scene appear in any way praiseworthy or heroic ? 24. Do you get any new impression of Antony, from his appearance here ? 25. Are your sympathies against Cæsar or with him here, just before his death ? 26. Which do you suppose Shakspere meant his audience to do, sympathise with Brutus, or with Cæsar ? 27. If you are of the party of Brutus, what do you think of his conduct at this point ? 28. Can you suggest a nobler course for him to have followed ?
29. What new notion of Portia does the fourth scene give you? 30. Do you like the contrast between her highly wrought, nervous condition and the unconsciousness of Lucius ? 31. What do you suppose Shakespere meant by this scene ?
NOTE ON THE STRUCTURE OF THE Act.-Cæsar is prepared for the sacrifice, and Brutus strikes one of the cowardly blows against “the foremost man of all the world.” In this latter fact lies the dramatic kernel of the story. No one who saw the expression of horror, remorse, and pity with which the late Edwin Booth, as Brutus, drew back after stabbing Cæsar, can fail to remember the scene as the climax of the play. Here Brutus, the hero of the tragedy, commits his one irrevocable act. He has passed through the supreme crisis, and, from that time on, the old, quiet life is closed to him forever. For such a man there could be no happiness after such a deed ; yet, perhaps, if he could persuade the mob, and bring back Rome to its ancient ways—? And here Brutus makes his second great mistake-again in opposition to the more astute Cassius-and allows Antony to speak “ in Cæsar's funeral.” From the moment Antony turns the mob, the murder of Cæsar is seen to have been in vain ; henceforth it is the same old conflict between the spirit of Cæsar-or new ideas—and the conservative power, as typified in Brutus. From this point of view, perhaps the climax of the play is at Antony's speech ; those, however, who regard the blow of Brutus as the great flood-tide of the action, see in this scene of Antony's oration " the moment of dramatic reverse,” in which Brutus' fortunes finally and definitely change for the worse. And what is the episode of the murder of Cinna by the mob that An. tony has incited, but a sort of Q. E. D., which Shakspere adjoins as proof of Antony's foresight in prophesying that
“ Cæsar's spirit, ranging for revenge,
With Ate by his side, come hot from hell,
The passing, too, at this stage, of the mob, should be noted. It has done its work, and insurrection now becomes war.
The stage direction as it is printed in the text is substantially Capell's. The Folio reads, Flourish. Enter Cæsar, Brutus, Cassius, Caska, Decius, Metellus, Trebonius, Cynna, Antony, Lepidus, Artimedorus, Publius, and the Soothsayer. There is no indication in the Folio of the change from the street to the Senate-house, but Steevens adopted substantially the direction in our text after the words,
What, urge you your petition in the street ? Come to the Capitol.” See the description of the stage of the Elizabethan theatre in the Introduction, p. xv. The main action in the Senate-house probably took place on the inner stage. The murder of Cæsar did not occur in the Capitol, as is here represented, but in a hall or curia adjoining Pompey's theatre.
1. The Ides of March are come : It will be remembered that this soothsayer had warned Cæsar (i, 2, 18) to “beware the ides of March.". See North’s Plutarch, The Life of Julius Cæsar (ed. Skeat, p. 98): “That day being come, Cæsar going unto the Senate-house, and speaking merrily unto the soothsayer, told him, “the Ides of March be come': 'so they be,' softly answered the soothsayer, “but yet are they not past.'
1. Are come : Is this construction common to-day ?
3. Read this schedule : Another hint from Plutarch, The Life of Julius Cæsar (ed. Skeat, p. 99) : “ And one Artemidorus also a doctor of rhetoric in the Greek tongue, who
was very familiar with certain of Brutus' confederates, and therefore knew the most part of all their practices against Cæsar, came and brought him a little bill, written with his own hand, of all that he meant to tell him,” etc.
4. O'er-read : an unusual transposition.
7. That touches Cæsar nearer : For the construction, see Introduction, § 13.
8. Us ourself : Note how Shakspere makes Cæsar assume the language of royalty as Shakspere himself knew it.
12. Capell's stage direction is, Artemidorus is push'd back. Cæsar and the rest enter the Senate : The Senate rises. Popilius presses forward to speak to Cæsar ; and passing Cassius, says," etc.
13. I wish your enterprise may thrive : This construction is more rare to-day in the present than in the past tense. Compare in line 16, “ He wish'd to-day our enterprise might thrive.” This episode of Popilius Lena is described in Plutarch.
18. Makes to Cæsar : advances to Cæsar, 21. Cassius or Cæsar never shall turn back : The meaning is that
one or the other of us shall never return ; for if Cæsar is not killed, I will slay myself.”
26. He draws Mark Antony out of the way: as in North’s Plutarch, The Life of Marcus Brutus (ed. Skeat, p. 118).
28. Presently : immediately.
30. You are the first that rears your hand : See Introduction, $ 23. Consistency would require either “that rear your hand” or “that rears his hand.” Compare Love's Labour's Lost (v, 2, 66) : “To make me proud that jests"; and Titus Andronicus (iv, 2, 176): “For it is you that puts us to our shifts."
33. Most high, most mighty, and most puissant Cæsar : Scan this line for the pronunciation of puissant, generally a dissyllable in Shakspere. The rest of this scene is thus described in North's Plutarch, The Life of Marcus Brutus (ed. Skeat, p. 118): " When Cæsar was come into the house, all the Senate rose to honour him at his coming in. So, when he was set, the conspirators flocked about him, and amongst them they presented one Metellus Cimber, who made humble suit for the calling home again of his brother that was banished. They all made as though they were intercessors for him, and took Cæsar by the hands, and kissed his head and breast. Cæsar at first simply refused their kindness and entreaties; but afterwards, perceiving they still pressed on him, he violently thrust them from him. Then Cimber with both his hands plucked Cæsar's gown over his shoulders, and Casca, that stood behind him, drew his dagger first and struck Cæsar upon the shoulder, but gave him no great wound. Cæsar, feeling himself hurt, took him straight by the hand he held his dagger in, and cried out in Latin: 'O traitor Casca, what doest