JULIUS CAESAR JOURNALS
This passage is important because it shows that one of Brutus's greatest attributes, his nobility, will work against him in Julius Caesar. This quality, which is often considered admirable, will become his disadvantage. It is demonstrated that even if someone has worthy traits, they still have a point of weakness. Cassius is extremely aware of Brutus's Achilles heel as he plans how he will use it to his advantage in Act I, Scene II.
The passage also shows that Cassius is a good judge of character. He knows precisely what Brutus's defining attributes are and how to exploit them. Brutus seems to be the antithesis of Cassius in that he is not wise in his judgement of people. He allows himself to become "putty in Cassius's hands", therefore not suspecting that Cassius is using him. Brutus's pride may be what blinds him from seeing people for who they really are.
Another significant conclusion that can be drawn from the passage is that Caesar and Brutus are somewhat similar. They are both excessively proud, although they take pride in different aspects of themselves. Perhaps the fact that Caesar and Brutus are alike is the reason why Caesar adores Brutus; because he sees himself in Brutus.
Reaction to #1
Judging from this passage, it is obvious that Caesar was an extremely determined man. He did not believe that his best was enough. He simply did not give up until he was at the top. Caesar was the type of person who could not be happy until he reached his ultimate goal. In this case, Caesar's goal was probably setting up a monarchy in which he was at the head.
The main importance of this passage is that it gives a bit of foreshadowing about some of the events that might take place in the play. Perhaps Julius Caesar will be about those who want to stop Caesar from achieving his dream. Also, it was hinted that Calpurnia may give Caesar a child during the play. This is shown when the writer of the passage said, "but thus far she had borne him no children."
It is demonstrated in the quotation why Caesar is known and remembered: because of his many accomplishments for Rome. He achieved many things during his lifetime. He was not doing all this just so that he could be popular, though. This was shown when it is said that he probably wanted to set up a monarchy so that his power would not be passed on to just anyone.
Reaction to #7
In this passage, it is showed that Caesar is not such a great judge of character. His love for Brutus blinded him from the fact that Brutus was plotting against him; he was involved in Caesar's assassination. Cassius probably saw that Caesar's respect for Brutus shielded him from seeing the truth and wanted to take advantage of it. Just like Cassius was able to manipulate Brutus's weakness, he will do the same to Caesar's flaw. Cassius can see that Caesar would never suspect Brutus of turning against him; that is why Brutus is ideal for Cassius's scheme.
It is demonstrated that even though Caesar is such a magnificent conqueror and politician, he still has human feelings and frailties. This aspect of Caesar's personality was especially exhibited when he discovered that Brutus had turned against him. The passage shows how much Caesar was hurt by Brutus when it said, "...he seems to die as much from a broken heart as from the daggers." Caesar never would have guessed that his adoration and admiration of Brutus would eventually lead to his death.
This passage is important because it provides a background for the events that will transpire in the play. It also shows the irony that Caesar's excessive pride does not show itself so much in his governing of the empire, as one would expect. Rather, it is revealed more in his misjudgment of Brutus.
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The lack of political unity that was mentioned in this passage is also present in America today. There are many different political parties, ideas, and beliefs about how the government should be run. The reason for this, though, is probably not always due to a lack of education. It is most likely because people in the United States come from diverse backgrounds which cause them to have differing values and ideals.
In the Roman empire, starting in the 2nd century B.C., it looks as if the political disunity was a rather large problem that no one made any propositions on how to solve. This seems to be almost the opposite of the United States because there are so many conflicting ideas on what to do about the country's numerous problems.
An example of the absence of political conformity spoken about in the passage can be found in Julius Caesar. His assassins, Brutus, Cassius, and their conspirators, obviously disagree with Caesar's ideas about running the Roman Empire because they worked together to murder him. If these men had believed that Caesar was a good man who shared their beliefs about government, then they would not have killed him. A lack of political unity has provided a basis for the play.
It is ironic that behind the physical splendor of Athens, is a part of life not quite as beautiful. Athens was built on the hard and grueling labor of slaves, some of whom lived extremely short lives. It is hard to believe that the loveliness of the city is based on such a degrading form of cruelty. This testifies to the fact that so often there is more to the picture than just physical beauty.
Athens and its irony can be compared to the Southern region of the United States prior to the Civil War. Athens, without its slaves, would not have flourished to the extent that it did. The South, like Athens, also greatly depended on slaves. Its economy was based on their work; it relied on the slaves for its cotton and tobacco trade.
The government of Athens is similar to the government of America. Both are democracies in which the amount of property owned by a man does not keep him from having the right to vote. Athens, like America, grants its people quite a bit of freedom, which was demonstrated when the author of the passage wrote, "we are thus unconstrained in our private [lives]". A major difference, though, is that the United States no longer depends on slaves for it economic success.
Reaction to #15
This passage shows that there is a great difference between what is emphasized in the education of the ancient Romans and American students today. In ancient Rome, the wealthy sons were trained extensively in public speaking. The reason for this was to prepare the young men to hold a political office. In the present-day United States, a variety of subjects are studied because not all the students need to get ready for a career in public office.
The passage does demonstrate a similarity between America and ancient Rome, however. In both cultures, education is greatly valued and considered necessary in order to get ready for life. The lives that the American students are preparing for are quite different from that of the Romans, though.
It is shown that Julius Caesar was not only an extraordinary general and leader, but he was also a magnificent writer. Although he did not excel in the subjects that are emphasized in Roman education, Caesar was still a noteworthy author. He was an individual because his writing was of a different sort; it was simpler and more straight-forward than other pieces of work at that time. This quality may have been reflected in his personality, too. It could be the reason why he was successful and accomplished so much.
Reaction to #28
This passage is extremely important because it tells the reason why Caesar was hated and eventually assassinated; because he wanted to be king. If the president of the United States desperately hoped to be made king, the people would probably start to dislike him, too. It shows that a man is power-hungry when he wants a crown because it is a symbol of absolute control. Someone with this much authority might abuse it and this is why the people would detest him.
It is ironic, though, that in the play, Caesar refused the crown offered to him three times. This shows that he did not want a monarchy. Yet, Brutus was still able to convince the citizens that Caesar had a great desire to be king (although Antony later persuaded them that Caesar was a good man). The fact that the people of Rome in Julius Caesar were so easily swayed from one side to the other demonstrates how weak and vulnerable they were. Since they readily change their minds, the citizens are setting themselves up to be manipulated. This is similar to Brutus, in that he was persuaded easily by Cassius into being a conspirator against Caesar. The people of Rome might be coaxed into something they'll regret if they continue to be won over so effortlessly.
Reaction to #11
This passage is important because it shows how well known and famous Julius Caesar is. It states that even if someone does not know exactly what Caesar's accomplishments were, they are still aware that he was something great. This is because the name Caesar is associated with magnificence. He left a legacy that still lives on many years after his death and had a lasting impact on society. If he is still such a celebrity in modern times, then he must have been even more well known when he ruled Rome.
Julius Caesar was a ruler that was "uniquely supreme" and had many great accomplishments. It is because of these reasons that he was given the honor of ruling Rome as long as he lived. In this sense, he can be compared to President Roosevelt, who was elected for four consecutive terms. Both were respected enough to be given the approval to be able to have power for an extended period of time. In these two cases, ill consequences came about from giving the leaders so much authority; Caesar was assassinated and Roosevelt died during his fourth term. Also, it is not a good idea to let someone have so much authority for such a long time; they are apt to take advantage of it.
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Both Caesar and Antony are examples of those people who "had come to put their own emotions above the public welfare". If Caesar did indeed want to be made king, then that is putting his own desires before the well-being of the Roman Empire. A monarchy would have provided Caesar with too much power, and the people would lose any say in the government they once had.
Antony is also selfish, like Caesar, in his revenge on Cassius and Brutus. He did not care when he was planning his vengeance that there would be riots and a loss of order. All he wanted was to make Brutus and Cassius pay for Caesar's death, while not worrying about the state of the empire.
When Brutus agreed to be a conspirator in Cassius's plan to assassinate Caesar, he was not being selfish. Unlike Caesar and Antony, he was doing what he felt was right for public welfare, not necessarily for himself. He wanted to get rid of Caesar because he believed Caesar wanted to be made king, which might lead to a misuse of power. Cassius, on the other hand, wanted to kill Caesar for personal reasons; he had a grudge against Caesar.
Reaction to p. 376- "Antony"
Antony demonstrated this quality of being able to understand the commoners when he made his speech at Caesar's funeral. He seemed to know exactly which buttons to push to get the mob of people on his side.
Not only does Antony know how to control the feelings of common people, but he can overpower his colleagues, too. Antony is clearly the leader of the trio of rulers (Antony, Octavius, and Lepidus). He shows this by the way he treats Lepidus as a servant. Also, Antony makes all the decisions for the group while Octavius agrees to his ideas.
It is perhaps because of Antony's "wild living" that he is brave enough to undertake such a task as going against Brutus and his fellow conspirators. Antony's wild side may also be the cause of Cassius's dislike for him. Cassius is a practical man who does not like to take chances. This trait he showed when he suggested to Brutus that their army should wait for the enemy to come to them, instead of tiring out the troops by marching them to Philipi (440). Cassius probably disapproves of adventurous people because they are the opposite of him.
Reaction to #16
Some of Caesar's more distinct characteristics are brought out in this passage. First, it is shown just how highly he regarded himself. Caesar is so egotistical that he demanded his ransom be higher when he was kidnapped. Also, he did not fear his kidnappers for the same reason; he believed he was beyond the reach of mere humans. Caesar himself said, right before he was assassinated, that he did not consider himself an "ordinary" man. He seems to think there is no one who can even be compared to him, which he demonstrated when he said, "But I am constant as the northern star, of whose true-fixed and resting quality there is no fellow in the firmament...Yet in the number I do know but one that unassailable holds on his rank... And that I am he" (413- 414). He means that there is no one that is his equivalent, just like there is no comparison to the north star.
It is also demonstrated in this quotation about Caesar that he was a charismatic person. He became the leader of the Cilicians, when in actuality, he was their prisoner. People were naturally attracted to him; he was appealing. This is the reason he was able to overcome his kidnappers and treat them so "highhandedly".
Reaction to #9
It is shown here a reason why Brutus got his reputation for honor and nobleness, which is his source of pride. Brutus was willing to kill a man who was his friend because of his ambitions to be made king. Brutus also demonstrated his strong devotion to Rome when he helped murder Caesar.
Brutus never quite got over the "tragic error" he made when he became involved in the assassination of Caesar. His ghost appears to Brutus at Sardis and again at Philippi, signifying that Brutus had failed to reconcile his participation in the murder of a man who was his friend.
Brutus was somewhat similar to Caesar in that they both thought highly of themselves, although Brutus was not teeming with arrogance as much as Caesar. Obviously, Brutus must have held himself in high regard if he thought he was above the law enough to make the decision to take it "into his own hands and do to Caesar the injustice of murdering him." Since he did this act for the good of Rome, and not for his own selfish reasons, this shows that Brutus was not egotistical in his reasoning. This is in great contrast to Cassius, who wanted to kill Caesar because of his personal grudge against him.
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