Julius Caesar Act 1 Literary Notes Act One, Scene One • Scene One contains the antecedent action (events that happen before the beginning of the play that will effect its outcome). The antecedent action of Julius Caesar is Caesar’s defeat of Pompey and his sons. • Although the commoners in a Shakespearean play speak in prose (normal language), the noblemen and noblewomen speak in blank verse (unrhymed lines in iambic pentameter—more simply stated, ten syllable lines that don’t rhyme). • The cobbler uses a pun to create humor in the confusion between “soles” and “souls.” • In line 35 there are metaphors comparing the commoners to “useless things.” • In line 39 of scene one, the reference to chimney tops is an anachronism (mistake in time or place whether intentional or unintentional) as ancient Romans did not have chimneys. • The “feathers” in lines 71-75 compare to Caesar’s ambition. Act One, Scene Two • In lines 3-10 of scene two, Caesar is indirectly characterized (through his own words) as authoritative in his manner toward Antony and Calphurnia. • In line 18 of scene two, the soothsayer tells Caesar to “Beware the Ides of March,” which is an example of foreshadowing (giving clues about what is to come). • The central conflict (main problem of the play) is that the Brutus does not want Caesar to become king, yet considers himself Caesar’s friend and supporter. • In lines 143-145 of scene two, Cassius creates a symbol (abstract representation for a concrete object) between the people Caesar and Brutus and the names Caesar and Brutus. • In lines 184-188 of scene two, foreshadowing is used to indicate that the problem that occurred while Caesar was in public may cause a problem with Caesar’s leadership. Act One, Scene Two • In lines 234-236 of scene two there is an example of verbal irony (saying one thing but meaning its opposite) when Casca says he did not take note of what happened but then describes the scene in vivid detail. • Scene two line 244 contains an anachronism as Romans did not wear nightcaps. • Scene two line 262 contains an anachronism as Romans did not wear doublet. • In scene two lines 295-297, Cassius uses a metaphor (comparison not using like or as) to compare Casca’s apparent stupidity to sauce for food. • Scene two ends with Cassius’ soliloquy (a speech given on stage by a character while he or she is alone that expresses his or her inner thoughts and feelings) in which Cassius indicates his knowledge of Caesar’s friendship with Brutus, and Cassius’ plan to forge letters in order to manipulate Brutus into joining the conspiracy. Act One, Scene Three • Scene three lines 5-8 contain examples of personification (giving human characteristics to non-human objects) by describing the wind as “scolding,” and the ocean as “ambitious.” • Scene three lines 104-108 contains several metaphors that compare Caesar to a wolf, lion, and fire and the Romans to sheep, deer, and straws.