JC Motif of Blood Notes with Quote Assignment

Motif of Blood in Act II
 A motif is a reoccurring image
throughout a literary work
 The image and idea of blood is
prominent throughout all of Julius
Caesar, but it is particularly prominent
in Act II.
 However, blood does not always have the
same meaning, figuratively or literally
throughout the play.
 Brutus says:
“Do not stain the even virtue of our
enterprise . . . To think that our cause . . .
Did need an oath when every drop of blood
that every Roman bears cements the
promises he makes.”
What does blood refer to here?
 In this context, blood means:
 Roman heritage
 Loyalty
 National Identity
 A biological identity that joins all
 Why does Brutus mention blood here?
What is the significance?
 Brutus is expressing how the conspirators do
not need to swear an oath to be joined
together. They are joined by Roman blood
 This context also serves to foreshadow
Caesar’s upcoming bloody death.
 Brutus says:
 “Our course will seem too bloody”
when Cassius asks if they should
kill Marc Antony too.
 What does blood mean here?
 Here, “bloody” is an adjective,
meaning senselessly brutal.
 What theme does this quote
 Brutus is very concerned about the way the public
will interpret the killing of Caesar.
 This is the same speech in which Brutus worries
about whether the conspirators will be seen as
“butchers” or “purgers”, or “sacrificers.”
 While the two are very different professions, both
types of men would be involved in bloody acts.
 Brutus says,
 “We all stand up against the spirit of Caesar,
and in the spirit of men there is no blood.”
 What is Brutus saying here?
 He wishes he could kill Caesar’s ambition
and spirit, the flaws in his personality,
without literally killing his body and spilling
his blood.
 Brutus says:
 “Caesar must bleed for it!”
 What does the word ‘bleed’ mean here?
 Here, bleed is a verb meaning ‘to die’
 In Act III, we find out that the murder is indeed a very
bloody act. It is not as neat and tidy as Brutus had
hoped it would be.
 Speaking to his wife Portia, Brutus says:
 “You are . . . As dear to me as are the ruddy drops that
visit my sad heart”
 Here, ruddy drops are literally the fluid, blood.
However, they also represent the bond of love.
 The phrase also creates imagery, but the image of
blood is interpreted in different ways by different
 One character may interpret blood as a life giving
force, a source of spirit and strength.
 Another may interpret blood as a symbol of death,
violence and betrayal.
 Even when blood is not explicitly mentioned, it lingers
within the images and metaphors that Shakespeare
uses within the text.
 Working with a partner or solo, fully
complete the Themes and Motifs in Act
II Assignment Sheet on a lined piece of
 This assignment will be collected at the
end of class.

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