Julius Caesar William Shakespeare CBSE Class 10 English Notes
Julius Eaesar summary For Class 10 CBSE
One Of the greatest dramatists Of all times, Shakespeare has Skilfully dramatised historical material from Roman history for this play. is an extract from his famous play ‘Julius Caesar’. It hag been set against a background. ‘Julius Caesar’, is about a man’s personal dilemma over moral action. Julius Caesar, an able general and a conqueror, returns to Rome amidst immense popularity after defeating the sons of Pompey. The common people of Rome celebrate the victory and the return of Julius Caesar. Mark Antony offers the crown to Julius Caesar which is refused by him. Cassius, Who is jealous Of Caesar, feels he might become a dictator, so he instigates a conspiracy to murder Caesar. TO make his action legitimate, he includes Brutus, Who is a very honourable man and a great friend Of Caesar, in his plot to murder Caesar.
Caesar is murdered at the foot of Pompey’s statue.
The play opens With Caesar Who is at his chambers. It is thundering and lightning. Caesar comments that both the Earth and heaven are not at peace as Calpurnia had thrice cried Out in her sleep, “Help, ho! they murder Caesar!” Just then Calpurnia enters and says that Caesar will not venture out Of his house today. Caesar is very arrogant, he is adamant on going out for he says that all things that are threatening, have only looked at his back; the minute they would see his face they would disappear. He dismisses her fears as foolish.
Calpurnia’s Dream and the Use of the Supernatural Element
Calpurnia Who is very disturbed tells Caesar that earlier, she has never believed nor paid any heed to any superstitious things, yet, that day she was finding them frightening. Besides, she has heard about somebody in the house witnessing the most horrid thing. He had told them a lioness had given birth to her young ones in the street, the graves had opened and the dead had come Out of them. Fierce warriors were seen fighting in the sky and blood on the Capitol.
The whole air was filled With the noise Of war. Horses were heard neighing and the groans Of the dying men could be heard. Also, ghosts were heard shrieking and squealing about the Calpurnia finds all these happenings very unusual and fears them. Caesar who is a practical person says that if destiny has determined someone’s death, it cannot be avoided. Besides all the happenings Were the same for the whole world and not for him only, so he would definitely go out.
Calpurnia reasons Out with him saying, when men die there is no disturbance but when something unfavourable is to happen to anyone great, even the heavens are ruffled. Caesar being brave and courageous, believes that cowards experience the pangs of death many times. But the valiant die only once. Caesar finds it very strange that man fears death, that death comes to everyone and at the time it is destined to no One can avoid it.
Calpurnia feels that her husband’s overconfidence was consuming his wisdom. Once again, she requests her husband not to go out because Of her fear and Caesar gives in to Calpurnia’s request and agrees to stay at home.
Decius Brutus’s Interpretation of Calpurnia’s Dream
Just then, Decius, Brutus enters, who is a great flatterer and
one of the conspirators; he had taken up the task Of getting Caesar to the Senate House in case he decides against going there. He informs Caesar that he had come to fetch him. Caesar is happy to see him and tells him that he had come at a very appropriate time. He wants Decius to take his message to the Senate House that he would not be there that day. Decius Brutus very cunningly wants to know the reason so that he is not laughed at.
Caesar says that his Wife, Calpurnia had a dream in which she saw Caesar’s statue. It was like a fountain With a hundred spouts and Caesar’s blood was flowing unceasingly from it. Many Romans dipped their hands in it with a smile Calpurnia considered it as a bad omen and had requested Caesar to stay at home.
Decius Brutus, Who is very clever in the art of sycophancy, says that Calpurnia’s dream had been interpreted wrongly. In fact, he says, it was a dream which predicted something good. The sight Of Romans washing hands in Caesar’s blood meant that the state would revitalise itself from him. Also, people would like something Of his to keep as a memory and would consider it a great treasure. When dying they would leave it as a priced inheritance for their successors.
Further, he informs Caesar that the Senate had decided to crown him and if he doesn’t go they may change their mind. Caesar falls into his trap and asks for his robe to go. As decided, the other conspirators Publius, Brutus, Ligarius, Metellus, Casca, Trebonius and Cinna all reach Caesar’s house. Caesar invites them to have wine With him after which they would leave for the Senate together as friends. Brutus is disturbed and whispers aside that sometimes what is seen is not the truth. His heart grieves when he thinks that being ‘like’ a friend is not the same as being’ a friend.
Metellus Cimber’s Petetion to Caesar that He Rejects
All reach the Senate House. As the proceedings of the day start as planned, Trebonius takes away Antony. Caesar is approached by Metellus Cimber Who in a flattering and humble manner approaches Caesar with a request. Caesar is firm With him and says if Metellus Cimber was paying these salutations to request for his brother then he should stop as Caesar doesn’t get affected by such flings and that he was rigid in his decision. He was requesting to change the order and rules that have existed into children’s law which can be changed according to one’s whims and wishes. Further, Caesar tells Cimber that he was firm that his brother should remain banish-al and if Cimber was flattering and requesting for his brother’s punishment, Caesar would spurn him like a dog.
He very pompously declares that Caesar do anything wrong and until a satisfactory reason is given, he was firm that Publius Cimber should remain banished. Brutus seconds Metellus Cimber’g request which surprises Caesar greatly. Just then, Cassius also approaches Caesar and requests him for the freedom Of Publius Cimber.
Caesar, Who is firm in his decision, says that he has never requested anyone so he is not moved by the pleadings made to him and that he is constant like the North star (Pole star) which is known for its fixed position and stability and none Of the Other stars possess this quality. Earlier also, he was firm that Cimber should be banished and now he had resolved to be firm in his decision.
Stabbing of Caesar and Antony’s Expression of Grief
Casca now takes this opportunity to strike Caesar followed by other conspirators. The last to stab Caesar is Brutus. When Caesar sees Brutus, his dearest friend, amongst the conspirators he is very hurt at his betrayal and prefers to die. The conspirators, Cinna and Cassius think that they must go to the common pulpit and declare that they were now free from the tyranny of Caesar. Antony, Who had been taken away by Trebonius, re-enters.
When he sees mighty Caesar lying on the Earth bleeding, he speaks to the dead Caesar expressing that had all his conquests had been reduced tn the little piece Of ground on which he was lying. Then, he turns to the conspirators and says that he is unaware of their intentions about who else has to be put to death, but if his name was in the list, then they should kill him there and then, for he would find no other time so appropriate to die.
He would prefer to be killed With the same dagger which was smeared With the most noble blood Of mighty Caesar. Even, if he lived for thousand years, he would not find himself so willing die as at that moment and at the same place as Caesar. He places himself in the hands of the people Who were now the masters of the time.
Brutus’s Expression of Affection for Antony, Antony’s Crafty Plans
Brutus is moved by Antony’s request and pacifies him by telling him not to plead for his death. Though their blood smeared hands were making them seem cruel, yet their hearts were filled With pity and this pity wag for the Of Rome. Further, Brutus explains to Antony that like fire is used to extinguish fire, similarly, the pity for Romans had driven out pity for Caesar from their hearts and made them do the deed. As for Mark Antony, their hearts were filled with brotherly love to receive him in their arms. Cassius also assures Antony that when distributing the new posts, his opinion would be given equal importance.
Antony, Who is very shrewd and crafty, says he doesn’t doubt their wisdom and asks all of them to give their hands, one by one. He finds himself unable to say anything for he feels presently his reputation was very unsteady and he would be considered as a coward or a flatterer. He then speaks to the dead Caesar and says that if Caesars spirit sees him shaking hands with his enemies even in the presence of his dead body, it would grieve him even more than his death.
Cassius wants to know about Antony’s allegiance. Should they depend on him or proceed With their plans? Antony reassures him that he was With them and hopes that they would give him reasons that led them to believe that Caesar was dangerous. Brutus, Who is an honourable man, assures him that their were valid that even if he was the real son of Caesar, he would have been satisfied.
Antony Gets Nod to Speak at the Funeral, Vows to Avenge Caesar’s Death
Antony expresses his satisfaction and requests them to permit him to bring Caesar’s body to the pulpit 8B is expected from a friend and speak at his funeral. Cassius is not in favour Of Antony, addressing the crowd and warns Brutus not to agree to the request but Brutus disagrees with Cassius and tells him that he, Brutus would be speaking from the same pulpit first and would tell the audience that whatever Antony was speaking about Caesar he was doing so with their permission. Though Cassius gives in, he is not very happy about it and fears something unfavourable will happen.
Brutus grants permission to Antony to take Caesars body and warns him not to accuse them in his funeral speech. Also, he would at the game place where Brutus would speak. Brutus leaves. Antony then turns to the dead Caesar and asks for forgiveness from Caesar for being so mild with his murderers. Grieving, Antony calls Caesar the noblest soul that has ever lived on Earth. He curses the hands that had shed his blood. He vows over Caesar’s wounds which seemed like dumb mouths begging him to seek revenge, that a curse would fall upon mankind and that there would be a civil war all over Italy and’ destruction would be a common sight. Caesar’s spirit-would be moving around With Ate, the Greek Goddess of revenge. The Earth would stink with foul deeds. There would be dead bodies all around and none left to bury them.
Brutus Addresses the Mob, Expresses Love for Liberty
Brutus goes to the pulpit and addresses the public, He asks them to believe what he was about to gay, for he was an honourable man and to judge with their wisdom. He tells them how he loved Caesar, Who was his dearest friend. He had killed Caesar as be loved Rome more than his friend. He tells them that he had killed his dearest friend as Caesar had become very ambitious. He was sure none Of them would like to be slaves. Further, he tells them that the reason Of Caesar’s death had been in the capital and nor had his glories been reduced, nor his faults emphasised. He tells them, whenever needed, his countrymen could take his life. The citizens accept his reasons and wish to honour him.
They wish to carry him home in a victorious manner. But, Brutus insists that none should leave With him and if they honoured him they should stay and hear Antony Who was to speak in the funeral of Caesar, which he was doing with his permission. The citizens are convinced that Caesar was a tyrant and it is good that he had been killed and Rome has got rid of him.
Antony’s Speech With Use of Rhetorical Skills, Pathos and Satire
When Antony goes up to the pulpit, he ig fully aware that the public was in favour Of the conspirators and against Caesar, so he starts speaking in a very tactful manner, telling the people that he had come there to bury Caesar and not to praise him, for all the good that is done by a person in life is buried With his bones and only the evil deeds remembered.
Further, he says that Brutus had just said that Caesar was ambitious; if so, it was a great fault for Which Caesar has paid gravely. He tells them that Brutus is a very honourable man and he had just come to speak in Caesar’s funeral as expected from a friend. He repeats what Brutus had said that Caesar was ambitious and Brutus can never be wrong, as he is an honourable man. Then he reminds the people, how Caesar used to brink captives to Rome and the ransom money he got from them went into the state treasury. Then he questions the audience, would an ambitious man do such a thing? Whenever the poor wept, even Caesar wept with them and an ambitious person should be more tough, but Brutus said Caesar wag ambitious and as Brutus is an honourable man, he is to be believed.
He reminds the people how Caesar had refused the crown thrice when it was offered to him at the feast of Lupercal by Mark Antony. If he had been ambitious, he wouldn’t have refused it. Yet, Brutus said that he wag ambitious and he was not there to disprove what was said by him.
Mark Antony reminds them Of their love for Caesar which definitely could not have been without reason. He wonders what was the cause that was holding them back from mourning over Caesar’s death. Could it be that men had lost their reasoning power? Then, he pauses as he was unable to speak as his heart was in the with Caesar. During his silence, the citizens start contemplating On what Mark Antony has said. They feel Caesar has been wronged and worse may befall them. Antony, seeing that his words were having the right effect, continues with his speech that how till yesterday Caesar’s word was a law and now the same man was dead with no one to pay him any respect. Very tactfully, he tells them how he was not there to arouse them to mutiny, for if he did he would be wronging great like Brutus and Cassius. He would prefer to wrong the dead Caesar or the people of Rome than wrong such great and honourable men.
Then, he shows a paper to the people, which he says was Caesar’s will which had been found in his study and if they heard his will, which Antony had no intention of reading out, they would go and kiss the wounds of the dead Caesar and dip their handkerchiefs in his blood, beg for his hair etc, which when dying, they would leave behind as a rich legacy for their children. The public is aroused on hearing this and wishes to know What is written in the Will.
Antony, Who is a very good orator, plays upon words and says that he should not read the Will, for the were not stone-hearted and when they would come to know that they were Caesar’s heirs, God knows what would happen. Antony amuses the curiosity Of the public, who now insist on knowing the will and consider the conspirators as murderers. Antony pretends to give in to their request but first wishes to show them Caesar, who had made that will. He requests the people to make a ring around the body of Caesar. Antony artfully plays on the sentiments of the people, showing them the wounds of Caesar. He points to each wound telling which one was made by which conspirator and how. When he talks