Archive for July, 2011

Act four 2 & 3

This is really only one long scene split into two parts. Inside and outside the tent

In Brutus’ camp near Sardis he is waiting for Cassius to arrive. Things have cooled between them since the Assassination of Caesar and fleeing Rome


….. A word, Lucilius;
How he received you, let me be resolved.


With courtesy and with respect enough;
But not with such familiar instances,
Nor with such free and friendly conference,
As he hath used of old.


Thou hast described
A hot friend cooling: ever note, Lucilius,
When love begins to sicken and decay,
It useth an enforced ceremony

Cassius arrives and they begin to argue until Brutus rightly says that they shouldn’t appear hostile in front of the troops. They go inside the tent

Scene 3


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.


I an itching palm!
You know that you are Brutus that speak this,
Or, by the gods, this speech were else your last.


The name of Cassius honours this corruption,
And chastisement doth therefore hide his head

The strains of war are showing on them both.  Brutus still thinks that he is in the right and has honour on his side.


There is no terror, Cassius, in your threats,
For I am arm’d so strong in honesty
That they pass by me as the idle wind,
Which I respect not.

Brutus asked for money to pay his troops and Cassius refused to send him any. Cassius insists that it is a misunderstanding


I do not like your faults.


A friendly eye could never see such faults.


A flatterer’s would not, though they do appear
As huge as high Olympus.

Cassius takes out his dagger and asks Brutus to stab him if he cannot love him. Brutus relents and they agree to stay friends and forget. Brutus explains why is in such a mood.


I did not think you could have been so angry.


O Cassius, I am sick of many griefs.


Of your philosophy you make no use,
If you give place to accidental evils.


No man bears sorrow better. Portia is dead. 

Brutus has received a letter explaining Portia’s death to him. Link to Wiki Biography of Portia


How ‘scaped I killing when I cross’d you so?
O insupportable and touching loss!
Upon what sickness?


Impatient of my absence,
And grief that young Octavius with Mark Antony
Have made themselves so strong:–for with her death
That tidings came;–with this she fell distract,
And, her attendants absent, swallow’d fire

Allegedly, full of grief, she committed suicide by swallowing hot coals.

Council of war.

With Titinius and Messala they discuss the plan for the upcoming battle. Should they wait and rest of march to Philippi. Cassius would wait but Brutus urges them to go forward.


Under your pardon. You must note beside,
That we have tried the utmost of our friends,
Our legions are brim-full, our cause is ripe:
The enemy increaseth every day;
We, at the height, are ready to decline.
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.

Agreed they depart and Brutus settles to sleep but is disturbed by

The Ghost

Enter the Ghost of CAESAR

How ill this taper burns! Ha! who comes here?
I think it is the weakness of mine eyes
That shapes this monstrous apparition.
It comes upon me. Art thou any thing?
Art thou some god, some angel, or some devil
That makest my blood cold and my hair to stare?
Speak to me what thou art.


Thy evil spirit, Brutus.


Why comest thou?


To tell thee thou shalt see me at Philipp

Note that when Brutus asks “What art thou?” the answer is “Thy evil spirit, Brutus”.  Caesar is blaming him. This is taken directly from the writings of Plutarch.  Frightened Brutus wakes his men and they make preparations for battle as we prepare for the final act.


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Act Four Scene One

In this scene we see Mark Antony’s true colours. He is in conference with Octavius and Lepidius


But, Lepidus, go you to Caesar’s house;
Fetch the will hither, and we shall determine
How to cut off some charge in legacies.

In other words, all that I said to the citizens in the last scene, was a lie. They wont get any of Caesar’s will. We need the money for the war against Brutus and Cassius.

When Lepidius is gone


This is a slight unmeritable man,
Meet to be sent on errands: is it fit,
The three-fold world divided, he should stand
One of the three to share it?



You may do your will;
But he’s a tried and valiant soldier.


So is my horse, Octavius; and for that
I do appoint him store of provender:

Is this the eloquent man who cried at Caesars funeral and raised the city against Brutus?

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As with all Shakespeare plays there are no “intervals” marked and even the Act and Scene numbers are a recent addition.

Where do you take the interval in Julius Caesar. The obvious place is between three and four. Where have companies placed their intervals?

In Hamlet at the RSC with David Tennant, They took the Interval at the moment Hamlet sees Claudius praying and is about to stab him Act three Scene Three to tremendous effect.

 73   Now might I do it pat, now he is praying;
 74   And now I’ll do’t. (Raises Dagger —  BLACKOUT

Photo of David Tennant and Patrick Stewart in Hamlet


Any other memorable interval ideas? Not just for Julius Caesar but any play you’ve seen

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Julius Caesar – Act Three Scene Three

“Mob Mentality”

In the midst of the mob comes Cinna the Poet. He is confronted and for no other reason than his name is Cinna, he is beaten to death. Over the top? Unrealistic? Read these links and see what you think




I might do a longer post on this at the end of Julius Caesar. As there is a lot of info in the Psychology of crowds.

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After the assassination of Caesar, Brutus speaks to the crowds of Plebeians He convinces them that they acted for the good of Rome.


Romans, countrymen, and lovers! hear me for my
cause, and be silent, that you may hear: believe me
for mine honour, and have respect to mine honour, that
you may believe: censure me in your wisdom, and
awake your senses, that you may the better judge.
If there be any in this assembly, any dear friend of
Caesar’s, to him I say, that Brutus’ love to Caesar
was no less than his. If then that friend demand
why Brutus rose against Caesar, this is my answer:
–Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved
Rome more. Had you rather Caesar were living and
die all slaves, than that Caesar were dead, to live
all free men? As Caesar loved me, I weep for him;
as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was
valiant, I honour him: but, as he was ambitious, I
slew him. There is tears for his love; joy for his
fortune; honour for his valour; and death for his
ambition. Who is here so base that would be a
bondman? If any, speak; for him have I offended.
Who is here so rude that would not be a Roman? If
any, speak; for him have I offended. Who is here so
vile that will not love his country? If any, speak;
for him have I offended. I pause for a reply.


None, Brutus, none.

 The crowd cheer him and his deed. In the opening scene  the common men were criticised by Marullus for cheering Caesar’s return after the defeat of Pompey, when before they cheered Pompey. Now they Cheer Brutus for the defeat of Caesar. Then comes Mark Antony with one of the most famous speeches of Shakespeare



Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Caesar answer’d it.
Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest–
For Brutus is an honourable man;
So are they all, all honourable men–
Come I to speak in Caesar’s funeral.
He was my friend, faithful and just to me:
But Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
He hath brought many captives home to Rome
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill:
Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?
When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept:
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
You all did see that on the Lupercal
I thrice presented him a kingly crown,
Which he did thrice refuse: was this ambition?
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And, sure, he is an honourable man.
I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke,
But here I am to speak what I do know.
You all did love him once, not without cause:
What cause withholds you then, to mourn for him?
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

The crowd are now on his side. They begin to doubt Brutus’ actions. Mark Antony inflames them more by mentioning Caesars’ will.

Fourth Citizen

Read the will; we’ll hear it, Antony;
You shall read us the will, Caesar’s will.


Will you be patient? will you stay awhile?
I have o’ershot myself to tell you of it:
I fear I wrong the honourable men
Whose daggers have stabb’d Caesar; I do fear it.

Fourth Citizen

They were traitors: honourable men!


The will! the testament!

Second Citizen

They were villains, murderers: the will! read the will. 

He then comes down to Caesar’s body


If you have tears, prepare to shed them now.
You all do know this mantle: I remember
The first time ever Caesar put it on;
‘Twas on a summer’s evening, in his tent,
That day he overcame the Nervii:
Look, in this place ran Cassius’ dagger through:
See what a rent the envious Casca made:
Through this the well-beloved Brutus stabb’d;
And as he pluck’d his cursed steel away,
Mark how the blood of Caesar follow’d it,
As rushing out of doors, to be resolved
If Brutus so unkindly knock’d, or no;
For Brutus, as you know, was Caesar’s angel:
Judge, O you gods, how dearly Caesar loved him!
This was the most unkindest cut of all;
For when the noble Caesar saw him stab,
Ingratitude, more strong than traitors’ arms,
Quite vanquish’d him: then burst his mighty heart;
And, in his mantle muffling up his face,
Even at the base of Pompey’s statua,
Which all the while ran blood, great Caesar fell.
O, what a fall was there, my countrymen!
Then I, and you, and all of us fell down,
Whilst bloody treason flourish’d over us.
O, now you weep; and, I perceive, you feel
The dint of pity: these are gracious drops.
Kind souls, what, weep you when you but behold
Our Caesar’s vesture wounded? Look you here,
Here is himself, marr’d, as you see, with traitors

Antony is a true politician. Meaning the opposite of what he says. Allowing the listeners make up their own minds.


Good friends, sweet friends, let me not stir you up
To such a sudden flood of mutiny.
They that have done this deed are honourable:
What private griefs they have, alas, I know not,
That made them do it: they are wise and honourable,
And will, no doubt, with reasons answer you.
I come not, friends, to steal away your hearts:
I am no orator, as Brutus is;
But, as you know me all, a plain blunt man,
That love my friend; and that they know full well
That gave me public leave to speak of him:
For I have neither wit, nor words, nor worth,
Action, nor utterance, nor the power of speech,
To stir men’s blood: I only speak right on;
I tell you that which you yourselves do know;
Show you sweet Caesar’s wounds, poor poor dumb mouths,
And bid them speak for me: but were I Brutus,
And Brutus Antony, there were an Antony
Would ruffle up your spirits and put a tongue
In every wound of Caesar that should move
The stones of Rome to rise and mutiny.


We’ll mutiny.

First Citizen

We’ll burn the house of Brutus.

Third Citizen

Away, then! come, seek the conspirators

The crowd rise against Brutus and the conspirators.


Now let it work. Mischief, thou art afoot,
Take thou what course thou wilt

Shakespeare’s Genius is the power of words and he knows the magic contained in them.

This is one of the true great scenes of Shakespeare and never fails to thrill audiences. How many scenes can compare to this? The Ghost of Banquo in Macbeth perhaps, The opening scene of Hamlet? Any others?

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The Death of Julius Caesar

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