Compare and Contrast

1. Compare what you know about the women in the play to women today. How has the role of a wife changed? Is it better or worse for women today?

2. Research the life and actual events that we know about Caesar’s murder. How much artistic license did Shakespeare take in his play?

3.Compare what we know of Caesar’s actions in the play from what he is accused of by Casssius and Brutus. Was he a threat to the republic or not?

 

Relational

1. Is there such a thing as honorable preemptive murder or crime? Is it right to kill in order to prevent something that might happen (i.e. Caesar might have become an evil emperor)?

2. Consider the political world of America. Today senators do not kill one another physically, but what kinds of tricks do they play to ‘kill’ one another’s careers?

3. Cassius and Brutus both commit suicide at the end of the play in order to escape their perceived failures. What are the real effects of suicide?

 

Textual

1. Based on what Cassius says in 1.2.90-161,308-322 concerning his motives for wishing to be rid of Caesar what are we to think of Cassius? Is he right? Should we pity him? What can we make of his character? See also, 4.2.93-106

2. Why is the play called Julius Caesar if he only appears alive in three scenes? How does Caesar remain an important character in the play after his death? Look especially at the comments Brutus makes about him in the battle scenes.

3. Examine Portia’s speech to Brutus in 2.1.237-302. What do we learn about her idea of honor? From Brutus’ response to her what do we learn about their relationship as husband and wife?

 

Shakespeare’s World

1. Romans viewed suicide as honorable; the Christian world views it as a sin. What is Shakespeare saying about suicide in this play? Examine each example and draw conclusions.

2. Brutus and Messala both claim to be followers of the Stoic philosophy. What is stoicism? What do you think was Shakespeare’s attitude about stoicism?

3. This play was written only a few years before Queen Elizabeth I’s death. What comparisons could be drawn between the English monarchy of Shakespeare’s day and Caesar’s Roman republic?